Rwanda and Sierra Leone on Friday agreed to strengthen their bilateral cooperation and work close to increase the opportunities for the citizens of both nations.
The announcement was made by Rwandan President Paul Kagame as he welcomed Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio at the Office of the President (Urugwiro Village). President Bio is in Rwanda with a delegation for an official visit.
President Bio, alongside other African dignitaries, is attending the 25th Liberation Day celebrations at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali.
“Your visit here, Mr. President is important because it allows us to reinforce our already warm bilateral relations. We wish to build on the existing brotherly ties and our partnership in sharing experiences and best practices in key areas,” President Kagame said.
Both presidents are expected to sign a series of agreements to meet the objectives of strengthening cooperation and increasing opportunities.
Kagame said one of their main concerns will be ensuring that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is effectively implemented after the launch of its operational phase by the African Union.
An Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government will be held to that effect on July 7 in the Nigerien capital, Niamey.
“We look forward to enhancing our partnership in pursuit of our common goals. Looking forward to continued future interactions between the two of us, our government officials and the people of Sierra Leone and Rwanda, which we will continue strengthening,” Kagame added.
Others heads of state included President Faure Gnassingbé of Togo, President Hage Geingob and First Lady Monica Geingos of Namibia; President Faustin-Archange Touadéra of Central African Republic; President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of Somalia, President Mokgweetsi Masisi and First Lady Neo Masisi of Botswana; and President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe.
More than 25,000 people watched the 4 July twenty-fifth anniversary parade at the Amahoro National Stadium, in Kigali, featuring the defense forces and national police personnel, wearing colourful uniforms and marching to revolutionary songs played by the army band. Liberation day marks the day when the Rwanda Patriotic Front stopped the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and effectively liberated the country. Over a million people lost their lives in the genocide.
“For three long months in 1994, our country’s survival was in doubt. A segment of the population was being hunted. More than a million people were murdered,” President Kagame said at the event.
It could be recalled that Rwanda was one of three countries invited by the government of Sierra Leone to share experiences at a two-day national dialogue forum on democratic consolidation for peace and national cohesion in May this year. The conference in Freetown, which also discussed the creation of a National Peace Commission, heard experiences from the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission of Rwanda, the Peace Council of Ghana and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission of Kenya.
Also, in March this year a delegation of visiting members of the Sierra Leonean parliament, who were in Kigali on a working visit, said they were keen on critically looking at best practices in one of the fastest growing African nations with a view to adopting them back home. Such practices include empowering women in decision-making processes growing its economy.
The country is not just creating a business-friendly environment but also diversifying the economy from being almost entirely dependent on agriculture to now being developing services and a growing manufacturing sector.