Yohane Mbeeya Moono
Rwanda a country that was ravaged by a genocide in 1994 has risen from the ruins of the genocide to cede claim as one of Africa’s fastest growing economies. During and after the genocide, many Rwandese nationals sought refuge in Zambia. Since then the two countries have even enjoyed more and productive bilateral relations.
Rwanda is a country on the rise. The country is blessed with a population of 13 million people and the demographic pyramid indicates that the population is mainly Youthful. Rwanda has recently enjoyed some strong economic growth rates and is poised to continue on the same trajectory. Rwanda’s major foreign exchange earners include: Mining, Tourism, Agriculture (Coffee and Tea). Coffee is Rwanda’s main export, accounting for 60% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. Tea accounts for about 30%.
Rwanda has been ranked Fourth in Investment Attractiveness in Africa by the latest ranking by the Rand Merchant Bank. Zambia has similar aspirations as their Rwandese counterparts.
In April this year President Paul Kagame visited Livingstone Zambia and held a series of meetings with his Zambian counterpart President Hakainde Hichilema. The meetings between the two leaders culminated in the signing of a number of Memoranda of Understandings among them was
1. Trade and Investment meant to promote cross-border trade, investment, industry and private sector development through joint partnerships
2. Trade and Investment meant to promote cross-border trade, investment, industry and private sector development on equitable terms
3. On Agriculture meant to establish and strengthen bilateral relations in the domain of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Development, Extension and Technology Transfer
4. On Fisheries and Livestock meant to strengthen and consolidate bilateral relations in the fields of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Development and Manufacturing of animal feed
5. On Immigration meant for the facilitation of movement of persons between the two countries and establish mechanism of mutual interest to prevent and combat transnational crime, joint measures to combat illegal migration and deportation processes and procedures
6. Mutual Administrative assistance between the Rwandan Revenue Authority and the Zambia Revenue Authority meant to cooperate in joint effort to curb the contravention of tax laws, electronic data exchange system for purpose of trade facilitation
7. On Health meant to promote and establish mechanism to combat the outbreak new disease and improve surveillance on viral disease and the implementation of new technology in health care delivery to the citizens of the two countries.
The two countries have a long history of Mutual Friendship stem from from way back before the genocide. With Rwanda being the country on a path of unprecedented economic growth and Zambia declaring that it open for business to the rest of the world.
It is prudent that the Government of Zambia sets up a Diplomatic Mission station in Kigali Rwanda. For the Memoranda of Understandings signed between the two countries to be actualized, there is need for Zambia to escalate and expedite her Economic Diplomacy game by opening up a Diplomatic Mission Station in Kigali Rwanda. The two countries have a lot of areas of mutual interest to learn from each other and collaborate more. With both countries ratifying the Africans Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) protocols which are anchored on the promotion of intra-Africa Trade.
Zambia opening up a Diplomatic Mission Station in Kigali would help to expedite the actualization of the aforementioned AfCFTA agreement protocols and thereby contributing to economic growth of the two countries
Zambia needs to open a Diplomatic Mission Station in Kigali to ensure that the Memoranda of Understandings signed between the two countries are fully actualized