President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame Thursday arrived in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire for a two-day State Visit.
The visit aimed to further strengthen diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries.
Upon arrival at Félix Houphouët-Boigny International Airport, Kagame and First Lady Jeannette were welcomed by President Alassane Ouattara and First Lady Dominique Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
In the evening, the two leaders, together with their delegation, held bilateral talks followed by a tête-à-tête after which four bilateral agreements were signed.
These include an agreement on the exemption from visa requirements, a MoU on the organization of the Joint Commission for Cooperation, a MoU on political consultations between the ministries of foreign affairs of the two countries, and the protocol of Cooperation for the modernization of the public administration.
At a State Banquet hosted in their honour, President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame were awarded the « Grand-Croix de l’Ordre National de Côte d’Ivoire » and the «Grade de Commandeur de l’Ordre National de Côte d’Ivoire » respectively.
Speaking at the Banquet, President Kagame dedicated the distinction to the people of Rwanda and highlighted that, although Rwanda and Côte d’Ivoire are at opposite ends of the continent, they share more than their African heritage.
“Like Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire has lived through extremely difficult circumstances. But we also have in common the drive to break with the past and create a brighter future for our people. We want to build on the friendship and solidarity, between Rwanda and Côte d’Ivoire, for the benefit of our two peoples. The regular RwandAir flights from Kigali to Abidjan, are a good starting point. Rwandans and Ivorians should visit each other more, and do more business with each other. Rwanda and Côte d’Ivoire will continue to work together for a stronger and more united continent, particularly through the ongoing reform of the African Union,” President Kagame said.
On the second day of the Visit, the Head of State will interact with business leaders operating in Cote d’Ivoire on issues pertaining to free trade, industrialization, and share Rwanda’s experience in trade and industry.
One of the key areas of cooperation between Rwanda and Côte d’Ivoire has been the signing of a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) that resulted in RwandAir’s flights to Abidjan starting in October 2016.