Rwanda and CAR sign defense, economic deals

On 16 October 2019 at 12:10

The President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and his Central African Republic (CAR) counterpart of, Faustin-Archange Touadera on Tuesday witnessed the signing of several bilateral agreements in Bangui, CAR capital.

The signing took place during Kagame’s one-day official visit to Bangui and was reached following bilateral talks.

The agreements focus on defense, oil, investment promotion, mining and oil, investment promotion and a Bilateral Investment Treaty.

While in Bangui, Kagame attended a State Luncheon hosted in his honor by President Touadéra, where he was awarded the highest decoration "Grand Croix de la Reconnaissance" and a symbolic key to the City of Bangui as the city’s honorary resident.

Kagame welcomed the award and commended the signing of bilateral agreements noting that it was an indication of a new chapter in bilateral ties between the two countries.

"This occasion marks a new chapter in the bilateral relationship, between Rwanda and the Central African Republic," he said.

“Today, we signed a number of important agreements which put our joint endeavors on solid footing. And this is just the beginning. These agreements should be diligently implemented, so we can build on them to achieve even more together, in the years ahead,” highlighted Kagame.

President reminisced on both countries’ shared history and observed that nothing should hold back their progress because there are possibilities to shape a dignified future.

"Both our countries have endured difficult histories. There is no doubt about it. However, no nation is forever hostage to its past. There is always a choice that can be made, collectively, to build a future, in which every citizen has a sense of dignity and belonging," he noted.

“We also seek to learn from the efforts of others, including the Central African Republic. In a small but significant way, this kind of practical cooperation gives meaning to the tragedy we went through. Rwanda stands ready to continue accompanying the people of the Central African Republic, as you move forward,” added the President.

The central African Republic has been in turmoil since a violent takeover of power in 2013. The aftermath saw widespread violence as armed militia fought each other and took revenge on the population.

The March 2016 election of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra brought an initial lull but was followed by more fighting in late 2016 and early 2017 between armed groups including ex-Seleka factions and anti-balaka militias – both controlling vast areas of the country.

Rwanda experienced a tragic past during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which took the lives of over 1 million victims. Following the mayhem, Rwanda introduced unity and reconciliation programs that all Rwandans were brought together under one common identity and worked hard for the country’s resilience.

For Rwanda, Kagame said, the key factor in the country’s peacebuilding process was a firm commitment to national unity whereby Rwandans endeavor to find solutions to their problems through dialogue and consensus.

He highlighted that Politics should bring people together to promote the well-being of everyone, not create divisions and commended the President and the people of the Central African Republic for the steps taken towards peace and reconciliation.
Kagame’s visit was the first of its kind since Touadera assumed office in 2016.

Rwanda is the top contributor of peacekeeping forces in the CAR with a mission of 1,370 army troops as well as 430 police personnel.

The President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and his counterpart Faustin-Archange Touadera witnessed the signing of several bilateral agreements in Bangui, CAR capital.