Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rwanda President Kagame Visits Zambia
The New Times

President Paul Kagame arrived in Lusaka, Zambia Monday morning for a two-day visit on the invitation of his counterpart, President Edgar Lungu.

On the first day of his visit President Kagame's itinerary included laying a wreath at the Embassy Park Presidential Memorial site, holding talks with President Lungu as well as paying a courtesy call to former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda.

According to Rwanda's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, Kagame's visit is aimed at further boosting ties between the two countries.

"The President was invited by his counterpart so they can discuss how to further improve the already warm relations between the two countries," Mushikiwabo told reporters Monday.

Mushikwabo said that Rwanda and Zambia aim to work together on various issues including trade, sharing experiences in development issues and working together towards the development of Africa as a whole.

Rwanda's High Commissioner to Zambia, Monique Mukaruliza, presented her Letters of Credence to President Lungu last Wednesday.

"The Rwanda-Zambia cooperation already covers multiple areas, including aviation, with RwandAir flying to Lusaka. And there are many aspects where we would like to cooperate in and grow our partnership which will be discussed over the two days," Mushikiwabo said.

On Tuesday, Kagame is scheduled to travel to Kafue District to tour Kafue Steel Company run by Universal Mining and Chemicals Industries Limited, according to reports.

The two countries have been cooperating in such areas as defence and aviation.

Rwanda is also keen to learn from Zambia's industrialisation plan while Lusaka is looking to learn from Rwanda's progress in ICT, according to Zambian media.

The two sides are expected to sign a bilateral cooperation framework, which would include cooperation in the area of education.

Trade between the two countries has been on an upward trend in recent years, with imports from Zambia growing from $2.8 million in 2015 to $11.6 million last year.

Rwanda's national carrier, RwandAir, flies to Lusaka seven times a week.

Both countries are members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a trading bloc, as well as the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), a platform to advance peace and security in the region.

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