The Centre is 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.
As he inaugurated the center yesterday on the first day of his visit to Rwanda, Macron said that it should be a place to promote French language, culture and and innovations.
“French language has become an international language through invention, innovation, conquest, colonization, ambitions of French people in the past centuries to make it a dominant language […] The good thing is that French language was reinvented and spoken in many countries,” he said.
“There are men and women writing in French, innovating in their language, reinventing it and the center of that language is based in Africa with presence of very young and dynamic French writers and speakers,” he added.
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 Institute in Nyarugenge District.
It has a section dedicated to learning French, culture-based training and providing official French language certification, boasts a large outdoor stage that can host shows and concerts.
The French Cultural Centre will also host cinema screenings for the general public, and workshops among others.
Macron said that Rwanda’s youth should tap into opportunities presented by the French Cultural Center noting that they also stand chance to get scholarships in coming years.
Macron arrived in Rwanda on 27th May for a two-day official visit.
Upon arrival, he visited Kigali Genocide Memorial and later participated in a joint press conference with his counterpart of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.
His coming to Rwanda is considered a major milestone to turning a new page for both countries relations blurred by France’s failure to admit its role during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
As he visited Kigali Genocide Memorial on Thursday, Macron admitted his country’s responsivity during the Genocide .
"Standing here today, with humility and respect, by your side, I have come to recognize our responsibilities," said Macron.
He said that France had a duty to admit the "suffering it inflicted on the Rwandan people by too long valuing silence over the examination of the truth."
Macron said that only those who had survived the horrors “can perhaps forgive; give us the gift of forgiveness”.