The current official visit of President of Rwanda and Chairman of the current session of the African Union, Paul Kagame, to Doha reflects the Qatari diplomatic activity and its constant interaction with various regional and international parties.
The visit also reflects the great importance that Qatar attaches to its relations with the various countries of the African continent and its keenness to support and develop them in all sectors.
The visit comes in the context of a wide and distinguished Qatari activity at various levels on the African continent in order to serve the common interests of both sides.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani met President Paul Kagame at the Amiri Diwan to discuss bilateral relations, means of boosting them and a number of issues of mutual interest, in addition to reviewing the areas of co-operation between Qatar and the African Union and their development aspects.
The visit and the talks reflect the desire of the two sides to develop bilateral relations and push them forward to a broader perspective, especially in the economic, trade and investment fields.
Qatar pursues an approach of openness, co-operation and partnership with various friendly and brotherly countries and people, foremost among them are the African countries, to serve national interests and ambitions, diversify income sources and open new horizons for Qatari capital and investments to launch promising investment projects across the world.
This policy has increased Qatar’s economic activity and its political influence.
Qatar played a remarkable and influential role for decades in Africa, as it was able, through its political role, investment authority and relief and media entities, to tour the continent with its economic, investment, commercial, humanitarian, relief, medical, educational and other projects.
The Qatari activity in the continent was culminated by His Highness the Amir’s two tours to a number of African countries during the past two years.
Despite the newness of the relations between Qatar and Rwanda, they are ambitious and promising and show the determination of the two sides to strengthen and develop them to serve the two countries and the two friendly peoples.
The diplomatic relations between the two countries date back to May last year, when the signing ceremony for the establishment of these relations took place in New York.
The two sides stressed the desire to strengthen and develop friendly relations and co-operation in the political, economic, trade, scientific, technological and cultural fields.
They also expressed their confidence that the establishment of diplomatic relations will contribute to the development of bilateral co-operation and the consolidation of world peace.
In September, the Amir met the president of Rwanda and his accompanying delegation in his residence in New York City on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.
During the meeting, they reviewed ways of boosting bilateral relations in various fields, especially economy, investment and tourism.
The Amir and President Kagame also reviewed the most important international and regional issues of mutual interest, as well as the efforts of Qatar in supporting security and stability in the African Union countries.
In February, the president of Rwanda met with HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani on the sidelines of Munich Security Conference held in the German city, where they reviewed bilateral relations, means of boosting and developing them and a number of issues of mutual interest.
In May 2015, Qatar and Rwanda signed a letter of intent on co-operation in combating illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances on the sidelines of the Qatar International Drug Control Forum in Doha.
In March 2012, Qatar Airways launched its flights to the Rwandan capital of Kigali, with a daily flight.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar al-Baker said that the daily flights between Doha and Kigali are a proof of Qatar Airways’ commitment to strengthening its presence in Africa in general and East Africa in particular.
This new air link connects this mineral-rich country with Qatar and other neighbouring Gulf states and other cities around the world.
With funding from some of Qatari benefactors last year, the Islamic Dawah Organisation has carried out 445 income-generating projects in Rwanda and Burundi, covering agriculture, trade, small-scale industries, livestock breeding, vocational projects and economic rehabilitation and empowerment projects for women.
More than 40,000 people benefited from these projects.
In April 2013, a group of students from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar visited Rwanda as part of the University’s Zones of Conflict, Zones of Peace (ZCZP) programme to understand the deep social complexity of the country in the post-conflict phase and the depth of reconciliation required there.
Rwanda witnessed one of the most bloody ethnic clashes in history, but it was able to rise and stand again to build a prosperous, hopeful, successful and competitive country at the regional and global levels.
It lies in the middle of the African continent to the south of the tropical circle, within the plateau of lakes.
Rwanda is an inland state with no coast.
It is connected to outside world through its neighbours, especially through the ports of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Mombasa in Kenya.
It is estimated to have a population of 12mn, 83% of whom live in rural areas and is expected to drop to 35% by 2020.
It has succeeded in fighting corruption and has managed to reduce extreme poverty.
Its healthcare covers 90% of people.
Rwanda’s economy is one of the fastest growing economies throughout Africa.
The main sectors of economic activity include textiles, clothing, leather, agricultural crops, livestock, wood and metal industry, tourism, ICT, trade facilitation and investment.
Rwanda attracts tourists from around the world for its natural and wild life.
For example, it is home to rare mountain gorillas.
It has Akagera National Park, one of the three nature reserves that attracts tourists and wildlife lovers from around the world.
The government is moving Rwanda from an economy based on low-income agriculture to a knowledge-based economy, encouraging foreign investment, easing restrictions on foreign investment, allocating incentives to foreign investors and opening up to all sectors.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Rwandan President Paul Kagame during the official reception ceremony at the Amiri Diwan yesterday.