EAST AFRICA: On Tuesday afternoon April 4th 2023 at Urugwiro Village, President Kagame of Rwanda received President William Ruto of the Republic of Kenya as he begins his two-day State Visit to Rwanda
President William Ruto began his two day State Visit at Urugwiro Village where he was received by President Kagame. The two Heads of State then held a tête-à-tête meeting before joining their delegations for a bilateral discussion on areas of mutual interest
President Kagame and President William Ruto will be witnessing the signing of cooperation agreements between Rwanda and Kenya before interacting with members of local, regional and international press.
According to a statement from State House in Nairobi, the agenda of the trip is to deliberate on areas of “mutual interest and cooperation” including the integration projects on the Northern Corridor, the main supply line for imports out of the region to Rwanda, through Kenya. Trade expansion within the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) education, food security, innovation and ICT and health are the other issues on the agenda.
The two countries, as well as Uganda, had once fronted the Coalition of the Willing, pushing ahead with projects such as a common visa for tourists visiting the three, one-stop-border posts and planned expansion of the Northern Corridor. Some of the projects, like the planned railway, were, however, paused or diverted as the relations between Uganda and Rwanda, in particular, soured at some point before recovering.
Beyond integration projects, however, Rwanda and Kenya are meeting to discuss regional peace and security, with the immediate, common problem being the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The ongoing violence has seen Kinshasa accuse Rwanda of fuelling the M23 rebellion, something Kigali rejects, but also accuses Kinshasa of fomenting the FDLR movement seen in Rwanda as an enemy to its stability.
Kenya, a troop contributor to the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF), has also hosted dialogue sessions for warring factions in the DRC. But it could ultimately depend on improved relations between Rwanda and DR Congo to pacify the region.
Ruto has so far visited, or met, with leaders from Uganda, DR Congo, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Burundi, in keeping with what he calls pursuit of good neighborliness.
By the East African