President Sarkozy today met M. Paul Kagame, the Rwandan President, for a working lunch during the latter’s current official visit to France.
This visit follows the one President Sarkozy paid to Kigali on 25 February 2010, following the restoration of diplomatic relations between France and Rwanda.
This is a new phase in the process of normalization between the two countries, based on dialogue and mutual respect.
The meeting was an opportunity to take stock of the resumption of bilateral cooperation since last year. The French Development Agency (AFD) is preparing to increase its commitments to Rwanda from the current €23.7 million to €42.2 million.
In the energy sector, France is already supporting Rwanda’s national programme for access to electricity. President Sarkozy expressed France’s readiness to contribute to the launch of Rwanda’s geothermal energy programme and to studies on the extraction of methane gas from Lake Kivu.
In the economic field, the AFD will increase its support for Rwandan SMEs via the local banking sector. France is also in favour of her businesses investing more in Rwanda, as is the Rwandan authorities’ wish.
Cultural activity is also an important aspect of the bilateral cooperation: through the hosting of Rwandan students in France, French support for multilingualism in Rwanda, and the launch in Kigali by the start of 2012 of construction work on a new, Franco-Rwandan cultural centre.
President Sarkozy reaffirmed his commitment to the rule of law and judicial cooperation between France and Rwanda.
Finally, the meeting focused on regional and international issues, particularly the consolidation of peace and security in the Great Lakes region, regional economic integration through the East African Community and the important role of the African Union in rebuilding the new Libya./.