Dates for Macron’s maiden visit to Rwanda confirmed

On 19 May 2021 at 09:54

French President Emmanuel Macron is awaited in Kigali for two-day working visit towards the end of May 2021.

IGIHE has learnt from credible sources that Macron will hold the maiden visit Rwanda on 27th and 28th May 2021.

Upon arrival in Rwanda, Macron is expected to visit Kigali Genocide Memorial and officiate the launch of French Cultural Center.

Macron’s visit will be the first in East Africa.

The Centre will be located near Kigali Convention Center, Kimihurura Sector, Gasabo District. The center was initially expected to be inaugurated in 2020 but construction activities delayed and were completed in April 2021 due to COVID-19.

The former French Cultural Center building used to be called ‘Centre D’Echanges Culturels Franco-Rwandais’ and was located in Kiyovu, nearby the city center’s main roundabout.

It was closed in 2014 by Kigali City Officials because the structure was not in line with the new City Master Plan.

The centre had a library and other activities including French language teaching; Culture-based training and concerts among others.

Since 2014, the cultural center office was in France’s Embassy in Rwanda, where its activities like entertainment and book reading were held in Kigali Public Library and the Goethe Institut in Nyarugenge District.

Macron comes to Rwanda at a time when both countries have embarked on a new chapter to revitalize wavered relations over the role France is accused to have played during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

Rwanda, France relations have been on good progress since Macron took office in 2017.

The latter has demonstrated willingness to change France, Africa foreign policy and building strong relations with partners unlike his predecessor, François Hollande.

Recently on 26th March 2021, the expert commission comprised of French historians commissioned by Macron released ‘Duclert’ report which revealed that France bears "heavy and overwhelming responsibilities" over tragic history that led to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which took lives of over 1 million victims.

The report was presented two years, after the delegation of 13 historians started reviewing archives on France, Rwanda relations between 1990 and 1994.

The report blames the then French President, François Mitterrand, for a "failure" of policy towards Rwanda in 1994. The findings were made public after years of French official secrecy over links to the Government led by Juvenal Habyarimana.

President Macron appointed the 15-member commission two years ago, giving them access to presidential, diplomatic, military and intelligence archives.

Among the archives are those of Mitterrand, who had close ties to former Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana.

Rwanda, France diplomatic relations date back in 1962 after obtaining Independence.

If he comes to Rwanda, Macron will be the second French President landing in the country of thousand hills after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

Nicolas Sarkozy is the only France President who visited Rwanda on 25th February 2010 following the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

Rwanda, France relations have been on good progress since Macron took office in 2017.
French Cultural Center was completed in April 2021.