Rwandan president says that the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit comes “at the right time.” FOCAC is a cooperation mechanism that has, since its establishment in 2000, achieved great results in health care, education, infrastructure and industrialization in Africa. Kagame described the summit as timely since there is need for cooperation as some countries make clear their intentions to serve themselves first over other countries. FOCAC emphasizes a form where countries come together for cooperation, carrying a positive message for the whole world. Kagame, whose country holds the rotating chair of the African Union (AU), elaborated on his goal for institutional reform of the continental bloc. The long-called-for reform aims to strengthen unity among member states, enhance capacity for self-driven development and improve efficiency within the bloc.
Rwanda hosted the 8th Africa Green Revolution Forum which among others, seeks to raise funds to invest in smallholder farmers. According to Dr. Agnes Kalibata – President of Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) which organizes the meeting, this year’s forum came to Rwanda to seek quality leadership in transforming agriculture on the continent. The 3-day forum, which was opened by Prime Minister Dr. Edouard Ngirente on September 5, is expected to raise $30 billion from investment pledges to propel the green revolution on the continent.
Rwanda is considering withdrawing from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), questioning the body’s role and impact in the prevention of insecurity in the region. Rwanda blames ICGLR for its failure to hold Burundi accountable in 2015, following allegations that Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels had crossed into Burundi from eastern DR Congo and joined ranks with the youth wing of Burundi’s ruling party CNDD-FDD. The ICGLR has its headquarters in Bujumbura, Burundi, a country that has had frosty relations with Rwanda since 2015 following President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial third term presidential election.
Head of communications at the Rwanda High Commission Kevin Beeza announced that between 7,000 and 10,000 Rwandese who live in Uganda, participated in parliamentary elections as from September 2 at the High Commission in Kampala. Relations between the two countries have been running hot and cold for the past two decades. Kigali complains that Kampala security agencies, particularly the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and the Internal Security Organization, are conducting a witch-hunt targeting Rwandans living in Uganda. The documents showed various lists of Rwandese, claiming authorities in Kampala have been detained without allowing them access to relatives or consular officers for help. Kigali also claims that a number of people have been deported to Rwanda without following proper channels. Uganda hosts a significant number of Rwandans, with embassy officials estimating that there could be more than 30,000 Rwandans living in Uganda.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on September 4, met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame who attended the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Calling the just concluded summit a meeting with historic significance, Xi expressed his appreciation and gratitude to Kagame for his attendance, also as the rotating chairperson of the African Union, and his contribution to the success of the summit. Noting the important consensus reached during his state visit to Rwanda in July and the outcomes of the Beijing summit, Xi said the two sides should strengthen strategic communication, solidarity, and coordination. They should also continue their mutual support, cooperate in Belt and Road construction, and enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges so as to enhance the friendly cooperation. Kagame said the success of the summit has strongly boosted Africa-China ties. He thanked Xi for the great importance he attached to Africa and his important leading role in promoting Africa-China relations.
Paul Kagame eyes election to cement grip on power. Voting began yesterday in Rwanda’s parliamentary elections, which are expected to cement the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front’s (RPF) absolute majority. The poll will be held over three days at 2,500 polling stations across the East African nation. More than 7million registered voters will elect parliamentarians to 80 seats, 24 of which are reserved for women, two for youth candidates and one for the disabled. More than 500 candidates from five political parties and four independent candidates are vying for the seats, but political analysts expect President Paul Kagame’s party to retain its large majority. The RPF currently holds 76% of seats in parliament. Results are expected to be announced on September 16.
Two opposition lawmakers elected in Rwanda for the first time. Opposition candidates have won seats in the Rwandan parliament for the first time, election results showed on September 5, although the two new lawmakers will be heavily outnumbered by members of President Paul Kagame’s ruling party. Officials of the electoral commission told a news conference on Wednesday September 5, that two candidates from the small opposition Democratic Green party had been elected. Rwanda’s parliament has 80 seats. Political parties compete for 53 seats and another 24 are reserved for women, two for youth and one for the disabled.
The gorilla naming ceremony, popularly known as Kwita Izina, organized by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) was held on Friday September 7 in Kinigi, at the foothills of the Volcanoes National Park. 23 high profile personalities including representatives from English football club Arsenal, were unveiled by RDB on Wednesday. They will be naming 23 gorillas born in 2017. Mountain gorillas are one of the world’s most endangered species, which survives on the forest-cloaked volcanoes of central Africa. In June, authorities announced that their numbers have increased by a quarter to over 1,000 individuals since 2010.
Kwita Izina was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness of conservation efforts for the endangered mountain gorilla. At last year’s event, which was graced by President Paul Kagame, the head of state said: “Mountain gorillas are a part of our natural resources and our heritage. It is everyone’s responsibility to conserve and protect biodiversity. In protecting gorillas, we have everything to gain.” This year’s names include conservationists, sports personalities, philanthropists and diplomats.