On 2nd December 1971, the UAE was declared an independent, sovereign and federal state. It comprises seven emirates namely: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah.
In Rwanda, the celebration of the annual event took place at the UAE Ambassador’s Residence in Nyarutarama in the evening of Friday 2nd December 2022 with a dinner that brought together diplomats accredited to Rwanda and government officials among other guests.
Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta also graced the event as the guest of honor.
Speaking at the event, the UAE Ambassador to Rwanda, Hazza AlQahtani reminisced on the federation’s journey rich in monumental events and achievements, building on the foundation that was first laid down by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his brothers, the fellow founding fathers.
As he said, the UAE has followed the principle of promoting security, peace and sustainable development in various parts of the region and the world since its foundation on December 2nd 1971.
Through his vision, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, guided the UAE towards the adoption of a successful and active foreign policy based on balance, moderation, and non-interference in internal affairs of other countries, in acknowledgement of the role and responsibility the UAE holds at regional and international levels.
AlQahtani further stated that the current President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan ‘follows in his footsteps, leading our nation in its journey towards the future’.
Principles of the 50
In 2021, the UAE announced the “Principles of the 50". These are ten principles that act as guidelines for all institutions in the UAE since the country began a new phase of growth and development over the next 50 years.
The "Principles of the 50" document sets the strategic roadmap for the UAE’s new era of economic, political, developmental, and social growth to strengthen the union, build a sustainable economy, and harness all possible resources to create a more prosperous society.
Among others, the UAE adopted economic strategies that stimulate economic diversification away from oil, and the country is working to build an economy based on knowledge and diversity, reinforced by scientific and technological progress.
The UAE has launched a package of strategic projects and initiatives within the “Projects of the 50”, which aim to establish an advanced stage of internal and external growth. The projects provide impetus for investment in digital and circular economies, as well as sectors based on artificial intelligence and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Besides, the UAE has begun to conclude comprehensive economic partnership agreements with strategic partners, as part of a long-term strategy in its path of economic diversification and the development of strong international partnerships through trade, industry and investment. Three agreements have been concluded with India, Indonesia and Israel, and expected to be signed with a number of other countries.
The federation believes that the future of regional security depends on strong multilateral partnerships and a common commitment to achieving stability and prosperity through peaceful political and economic means.
“The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements will continue to pave the way for more opportunities for the people of the region and open the way for the vital economic development of the Middle East, accelerating and enhancing trade across nations and increasing the ease of doing business throughout the region, and in other markets such as Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America,” said AlQahtani.
He affirmed that the UAE will continue to pursue a foreign policy aimed at building on the common interests among the countries of the region in promoting peace, stability, prosperity and the well-being of peoples.
As AlQahtani stated, the UAE’s relations with all countries are characterized by continuity, moderation, diplomacy and wisdom, despite the changes on the global political, security, economic and health scene, and ‘this is harnessed to find common ground to find solutions to regional and international challenges and conflicts’.
“As home to more than 200 nationalities from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, the UAE is deeply committed to safeguarding human rights and building upon its steady progress in this field. Over the years, the UAE has enacted a series of laws and regulations that enshrine certain fundamental rights, providing for the fair treatment of all its citizens and residents, especially women, children, workers, and persons of determination, as stipulated in the UAE Constitution,” he said.
AlQahtani highlighted that there has been an increasing appreciation worldwide of his nation’s future agenda and fundamental values, thanks to initiatives such as EXPO 2020 Dubai, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Abraham Accords, and the UAE Papal visit, amongst many others.
“Our foreign humanitarian aid is not tied to religion, race, color, or culture. Political disagreement with any country should not justify failing to provide relief to that country in cases of disasters, emergencies, and crises,” he said.
Vibrant Relations with Rwanda
The United Arab Emirates and Rwanda enjoy excellent bilateral relations.
Both countries have cooperation in various sectors, such as Education, Hospitality, Trade and Investment and aviation.
Generally, trade and investment remain as key pillars for Rwanda and the UAE cooperation.
The UAE is currently Rwanda’s leading trade partner with close to 900 million US$ in total trade as of 2020. In 2020, trade with UAE accounted for almost 20% of Rwanda’s trade globally.
Trade has grown ten-fold between 2010 and 2020 and almost three-fold from 2018 to 2020. Out of Rwanda’s total exports worth US$1.2 billion in 2020, the UAE accounted for 61%.
AlQahtani underscored that this trade partnership is expected to further be boosted by the recently signed MoU between the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Rwanda Private Sector Federation on Enhancing Investment and Business Opportunity between the UAE and Rwanda.
As far as investment is concerned, AlQahtani disclosed, several UAE companies which have registered their businesses with RDB with investment commitments valued at 185.4 million US$.
Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Dr. Vincent Biruta congratulated the UAE on the 51st celebration of Union Day and encouraged investors to continue tapping into available business opportunities.
He also commended UAE for walking with Rwanda along its economic journey.
“In relation to trade between both countries, UAE has significantly contributed to Rwanda’s economy journey, being the number one trading partner with close to 750 million in total trade as of 2021. This cooperation was further enhanced with the signing in 2020 of the supply of goods partnership agreement between NAEB [the National Agricultural Export Development Board] and Carrefour Supermarket, which has led to exports to the United Arab Emirates of fresh avocadoes and passion fruits among other horticultural products,” noted Minister Biruta.
“In line with this, I wish to encourage that more opportunities in this area be explored, especially that RwandAir recently acquired the first dedicated cargo aircraft which will serve as an import-export link to the UAE and other destinations,” he added.
Dr. Biruta also reaffirmed Rwanda’s commitment to strategically work with UAE to realize common aspirations for the interest of both countries’ people.