You would change your mind about Rwanda if you visited – UK Prime Minister

On 2 July 2022 at 10:14

Boris Johnson has invited critics of his migrant policy to visit Rwanda and see the country is "really going places".

Boris Johnson was in Rwanda last week for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2022.

Following the visit, UK Prime Minister said Rwandan government is "shocked" to see the coverage about it in the British media.

Johnson who was speaking to LBC’s Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, said Rwanda needs to be seen and believed.

"You didn’t come on the Rwanda trip. You should’ve done, because lots of people did, the scales fell from their eyes," he said.

"They saw a country that is really going places, they had a totally different view of what it could mean. And if you talk to Paul Kagame [the president] and the government, they are rather shocked by some of the coverage in the UK. They see this as an opportunity for us to make progress together on a very difficult issue,” Johnson added.

He expressed frustration that while his policy was torn into by some of the press, his counterparts in other countries were putting in place similar policies.

"Funnily enough, not something that is much commented on by some parts of the media, but Joe Biden is doing something very similar with Mexico, to try and send people from Mexico, ping them straight to Spain.

"The Danes are doing something very similar. I think it’s entirely sensible to develop a partnership like that with Rwanda."

Rwanda entered Migration and Economic Development Partnership on 14th April 2022.

The development came at a time when deep global inequalities are driving millions of people from their homes in search of opportunity, at the same time as millions are forcibly displaced by conflict, persecution, and other threats to safety.

Under this program, the UK will provide an upfront investment of £120 million to fund invaluable opportunities for Rwandans and migrants including secondary qualifications, vocational and skills training, language lessons, and higher education.

Following the agreement, some people, the majority of whom being from the western part of the world, expressed concerns over the partnership.

The plane carrying the first batch of migrants deported from UK to Rwanda under the recently signed Migration and Economic Development Partnership was expected to land in Kigali on Wednesday 15th June 2022.

Few hours before scheduled time for the plane to take off, the flight was stopped after a late intervention from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) led to fresh challenges in the UK courts.

The human rights court said that it had suspended the deportation of one migrant from Iraq who was onboard the plane.

Following the last minute cancellation; the Spokesperson of the Government of Rwanda, Yolande Makolo said that Rwanda remains committed to welcome the migrants when they arrive.

“We are not deterred by these developments. Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work. The current situation of people making dangerous journeys cannot continue as it is causing untold suffering to so many,” she said.

"Rwanda stands ready to receive the migrants when they do arrive and offer them safety and opportunity in our country,” added Makolo.

Boris Johnson was in Rwanda last week for CHOGM 2022.