The changes were made early November 2019 pursuant to the provisions of Rwanda’s constitution of 2003 as amended in 2015 especially in article 116.
The new Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Vincent Biruta took on from Dr. Richard Sezibera who has headed the ministry since October 2018.
Dr. Biruta’s political journey dates back to 1997 when he joined Rwanda’s cabinet as the Minister of Health and later assumed different government functions. This means he has served for 22 years up to date and is the longest-serving cabinet member. The latest appointment makes him the 23rd Minister for Foreign Affairs since Rwanda obtained Independence.
He held various top government positions and assumed chairmanship of the Senate for 8 years.
Born on 19th July 1958, Biruta is a Rwandan trained physician and politician.
He also holds post-graduate qualifications in Planning and Management of Health Services in Developing Countries obtained from Université Libre de Bruxelles, in Belgium.
Dr. Biruta, the incumbent President of Social Democratic Party [PSD], has headed five different ministries.
From 1997 until 1999, he served as the Minister of Health; 1999 to 2000 Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications.
He was the President of the National Transition Assembly from January 2000 until 2003. From August 2003, until October 2011, he was the President of the Rwandan Senate, the upper chamber of the bicameral Parliament of Rwanda.
In December 2011, he was named the Minister of Education and served in that capacity until 24th July 2014, when he was named the Minister of Natural Resources.
He later served as the Minister for Environment from 31st August 2017 until his recent appointment on 4th November 2019 as the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
This made him the 23rd Foreign Affairs Minister since Rwanda’s Independence and the 10th after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
He is among 14 diplomats that headed the Foreign Affairs Ministry with no previous background of ambassadorial career. Having proficiency in at least two foreign languages like French and English are among the competencies the post requires.
Biruta speaks fluently both French and English, making him qualified for the post in addition to his vast experience in political leadership.
Dr. Biruta attended several international environment summits representing Rwanda where he shared impressive ideas, earning him and the country’s reputation in spheres of remarkable environment conservation.
He has, on behalf of Rwanda, appended signature on international environmental pacts and protocols and chaired different environment summits including the Kigali Amendment.
Foreign Affairs Ministers since Independence
1. Rusingizandekwe Otto: 1961–1962
2. Habamenshi Callixte: 1962 - 1963
3. Amb. Mpakaniye Lazare: 1963–1965
4. Bagaragaza Thaddée: 1965–1969
5. Dr. Nsanzimana Sylvestre: 1969–1971
6. Gashonga Deogratias: 1971–1972
7. Munyaneza Augustin: 1972–1973
8. Col. Nsekalije Aloys: 1973–1979
9. Amb. Ngarukiyintwali François: 1979–1989
10. Dr. Bizimungu Casimir: 1989–1992
11. Ngulinzira Boniface: 1992–1993
12. Amb. Dr. Gasana Anastase: 1993–1994
13. Bicamumpaka Jérôme: 1994 –
14. Amb. Dr. Jean Marie Ndagijimana: July 1994 – November 1994.
15. Amb. Dr. Gasana Anastase: 1994 – 1999
16. Amb. Amri Sued: 1999 (a few months)
17. Dr. Iyamuremye Augustin: 1999-2000
18. Al Hajj Andre Habib Bumaya: 2000-2002
19. Amb. Dr. Charles Muligande: 15 November 2002 – 08 March 2008
20. Amb. Rosemary Museminali: 08 March 2008 – 04 December 2009
21. Louise Mushikiwabo: 04 December 2009 – 18 October 2018
22. Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera: From 18 October 2018 – 03 November 2019
23. Dr. Vincent Biruta: 04 November 2019 -