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Nearly 13,000 people have registered for the Rwanda Day event scheduled for February 2-3 in the United States capital, Washington D.C., according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Preparations are in advanced stages for the event in which thousands of members of the Rwandan community abroad and friends of the country can engage directly with President Paul Kagame.

Discussions centre on the Rwandan diaspora’s contribution to the country’s development, a celebration of its cultural values, and ways to foster relationships with people from all over the world.

The 11th edition of Rwanda Day will take place as the country prepares for the 30th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, presidential and parliamentary elections in July, 30th liberation anniversary among other key national events.

“We are well prepared for the event, the embassy and the senior leadership of our country are working together to ensure that it goes well,” said Arthur Asiimwe, Deputy Head of Mission in the Rwandan embassy in the US, during a live-streamed conversation with North Dakota-based media personality Ally Soudy.

The two-day event, which will take place at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, will be opened by a business forum attended by 400-500 people on Friday and the main part of it will be on Saturday.

Asiimwe said the forum will bring together Rwandan businesspeople from the country and in the diaspora as well as American investors for trade-centred engagements.

“We are prepared to host Rwandans and friends of Rwanda,” he said, adding that more people were still registering for places in the event.

On Saturday’s agenda are panel discussions about Rwanda’s security and its position in the global scene, and available opportunities for the youth.

Then there will be the President’s speech, followed by his interactions with the delegates.

The first Rwanda Day event since the Covid-19 pandemic will take place less than 10 days after the 19th National Umushyikirano Council, held in Kigali where Rwandans discussed the country’s development, national unity, and the role of the youth leadership in all sectors.

The last event was held in October 2019 in Bonn, Germany.

The event comes at a time when remittance from the Rwandan diaspora reached a record high of $470 million in 2023 – exceeding foreign direct investment inflows, according to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. The remittances rose from $65 million in 2010.

On the sidelines of the Rwanda Day event, more activities are planned, including entertainment and exhibitions by government institutions as well as private sector actors.

There is also the Rwanda Day Career Corner, which will support recent graduates and seasoned professionals looking for job opportunities. - Moise M. Bahati, The New Times

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