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Rwandan President Kagame Monday travelled to Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, for a three-day state visit to strengthen bilateral relations with the oil-rich nation.

Presidents Kagame and Denis Sassou N’Guesso of Congo Brazzaville are expected to hold a tête-à-tête meeting followed by a bilateral meeting alongside their delegations.

On Monday evening, President Kagame addressed a joint session of both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies that make up the Congolese Congress, and later attended a presidential banquet with his counterpart.

In his address, President Kagame address reflected on both countries’ cooperation and aspirations in trade, security, partnership, and Covid-19 vaccination goals.

Kagame said that the youth should be considered at the forefront.

“Our joint efforts should continue to provide opportunities for young Africans, who are Africa’s biggest and most valuable resource, to enable our youth to utilize and benefit from their energies and talents,” he said.

“We cannot take pride in saying the right things, for decades, and then find ourselves many years from now, having said the right things but not actually achieved much,” he said.

President Kagame also touched on Rwanda’s efforts to promote and keep peace on the African continent and commended President Denis Sassou N’Guesso’s role as the Chairperson of the African Union high level Committee on Libya.

“Rwanda continues to be active in United Nation’s peacekeeping missions with over 5000 troops currently serving in the Central African Republic and South Sudan…In our Great Lakes Region, persistent fight against armed groups particularly in eastern DRC requires close and persistent regional collaboration,” Kagame added.

After visiting Brazzaville, both Presidents will head to Oyo, in the Cuvette region.

The representatives from both delegations will sign agreements in areas of cooperation on areas such as political and economic cooperation as well as trade, according to a communique by President Kagame’s office.

“This visit denotes, once again, the deep friendship between the two Heads of State and mainly the commendable quality of cooperation between Congo and Rwanda,” read the statement by President Kagame’s office.

The last time Rwanda and Congo-Brazzaville held discussions was 12 years ago when President Sassou N’Guesso invited President Kagame to talks about Rwandan refugees who had been living in the country for 16 years at the time.

The Congolese government had requested that Rwandan refugees return home because there was peace in Rwanda.

This was before Rwanda scrapped the refugee status for citizens living abroad in 2018.

Weeks after President Kagame’s visit, the national carrier, RwandAir, began flights to Brazzaville.

According to UN data, by the 2000s, Congo-Brazzaville hosted 5,000 Rwandan refugees who fled after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

During the visit, both presidents also signed agreements on bolstering economic ties through increasing trade and commerce and increasing political cooperation.

At the time, President Kagame also addressed a joint session of both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Kagame had visited Congo-Brazzaville before in 2004 during the country’s independence ceremony.

Throughout the years, Rwanda and Congo-Brazzaville have enjoyed bilateral cooperation in trade.

In 2016, Rwanda’s private sector held a seven-day trade exhibition in Pointe-Noire, the second largest and commercial capital of the Republic of Congo, in an effort to promote locally made products in other African countries.

The government gave $150,000 as support for 30 traders who were exhibiting goods in a bid to access the 5.5 million population market.

In 2011, President Sassou N’Guesso paid a three-day visit to Kigali at the invitation of President Kagame.

Last year in November, delegations from both countries convened in Kigali and signed agreements that would remove double taxation and visa requirements to ease trade between both countries. They also signed agreements around military, education, and land management. - Ange Iliza, The EastAfrican


Further strengthening and expanding dialogue and cooperation with our African partners remains an important goal for this Federal Government – not despite, but precisely because of, the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Because it has repercussions far beyond Europe. Germany is broadly engaged in both Tanzania and South Sudan as a partner for security, democracy-building and development.

We want to continue to support South Sudan in implementing the 2018 peace agreement. During my talks, I will be voicing our expectation that the process of transition be completed rapidly. German engagement remains necessary particularly in view of the difficult humanitarian conditions and the human rights situation in the country.

We have maintained close cooperation with Tanzania for sixty years already. We want to build on this foundation and together tackle major issues defining the future. However, a true partnership also includes an acknowledgement of our historical responsibility and a reckoning with the crimes committed by Germans during the colonial era. To this end, we will take further concrete steps with the National Museum of Tanzania as part of our museum cooperation.

Background information:

The Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, Katja Keul, is visiting Tanzania and South Sudan from 9 to 14 April. Political talks with high-level government members as well as opposition and civil-society representatives are planned in both countries. In Dar es Salaam, the focus will be on strengthening bilateral relations, as well as on democracy and human rights and regional security issues. Another priority will be to tackle the German colonial history. In Juba, talks will concentrate on the implementation of the peace process and the human rights situation, particularly the protection of women and girls against conflict-related sexual violence. In this context, the Minister of State will be meeting the Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), members of the German contingent, and others. - Federal Foreign Office, Germany


KAMPALA, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Having taught at Uganda's prestigious Makerere University for decades, retired Andrew Tumusiime made a bold decision to enter forestry business in his hometown in the southwestern part of the country.

Returning to Kabale, Tumusiime planted a bamboo nursery bed, hoping that people would buy the seedlings from him. However, finding clients was challenging, so he decided to plant the seedlings himself.

"At first, I took it as a joke, but then I realized it was good business. I turned my energy to researching until I landed on websites which explained the impact of bamboo growing in China," Tumusiime told Xinhua in a recent interview.

To obtain further information about bamboo planting, Tumusiime joined the Uganda Bamboo Association, some of whose members had acquired knowledge about bamboo farming from China.

The association, according to one of its leaders Flavia Munaba, brings related organizations and community members together to share information, resources and technology in growing and adding value to bamboo.

Munaba, who joined the bamboo industry after a trip to China in 2011, said the association has more than 300 members.

The association organizes demonstrations for members on how to plant bamboo and also sensitizes them about the economic benefits of the plant.

"This association of bamboo growers has great people. They are not selfish when it comes to sharing the great knowledge they learnt from China," Tumusiime said.

After a decade-long endeavor, Tumusiime's bamboo business has thrived. He was one of the exhibitors at the Harvest Money Expo 2022 in Kampala, one of Uganda's largest agricultural exhibitions.

During the expo, Tumusiime's booth showed various bamboo products such as toothpicks, chairs, tables, mortars and pestles.

He said many customers who came to his exhibition stand were awed by the products made out of bamboo.

"This is amazing. The toothpicks I have known all my life are made in China. I like innovation and maybe in the future I will consider planting bamboo," Ritah Nanyonjo, one of the customers told Xinhua after visiting Tumusiime's stall at the expo.

"I have also seen some liquid soap and other herbs made out of bamboo. This is great news for our country," Nanyonjo said.

James Kariuki, a Kenyan national who attended the exhibition, said he was inspired by Tumusiime's work.

"He has told us that once you plant bamboo, you can start harvesting after three to four years. This harvesting goes on for the next 50 years and even more," Kariuki said.

"I will definitely use part of my land to grow bamboo. Tumusiime has also referred me to some websites which talk about the importance of bamboo and how the Chinese have done wonderful things out of this plant," Kariuki added. - Xinhua

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