PM Modi in Rwanda
- 24 Jul 2018
- 4 min read
The Indian Prime Minister is on a 5-day visit to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa. The visit to the three-nations is meant to further strengthen India’s relations with the African continent.
Key Highlights of PM’s Visit to Rwanda
- The visit to Rwanda will mark the first-ever visit to the African nation by an Indian Prime Minister.
- India is set to establish an Indian high commision in Rwanda to enhance better communication between the respective governments and to enable facilities for consular, passport, visa and others.
- India will gift 200 cows as a part of Rwandan President Kagame's flagship Girinka program, in which the poorest get cows from the government and gift the first female calf to a neighbour to promote brotherhood.
- She has also extended $100 million for development of industrial parks and Kigali special economic zone (SEZ) in Rwanda and another $100 million for agriculture.
Why is Rwanda Important?
- The Prime Minister's visit to Rwanda is historic as Rwanda is an important gateway to Eastern Africa. India had elevated its bilateral relations with Rwanda to the level of a strategic partnership.
- Rwanda has left behind memories of a horrific genocide in 1994 which saw majority ethnic group of Hutus target the minority Tutsis, leaving hundreds of thousands dead. However, since 2000, Rwanda has attained a growth rate of 8% a year, making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world (though still one of the poorest).
- Rwanda is also increasingly playing an important role in African affairs. The Rwandan President is the current Chair of the African Union. In March, Kigali (Capital of Rwanda) hosted the Assembly of the African Union where the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (
AfCTA) establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area was signed.
- Rwanda is the third largest troop contributor for peacekeeping in Africa and plays an important role in the UN Mission in the Central African Republic.
- Despite the ramping up of high-level visits, various studies and statistics show that Indian interest in the Africa growth story has not kept pace, and even declined through most of the period.
- According to the “World Investment Report for 2018”, issued by UNCTAD, Indian FDI in Africa in 2016-17 was at $14 billion while China has increased its investment levels to a massive $40 billion in 2016-17. Hence, India has to encounter increasing challenges of Chinese competition as well as declining Indian trade and investment figures.
- In 1999, Rwanda officially opened its Mission in New Delhi. There are approximately 3000 Indian nationals and PIOs in Rwanda.
- India’s engagement with Rwanda is at three levels viz. at the African Union (AU) level, at the level of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and at the bilateral level.
- India has consistently been one of the top import sources for Rwanda.