We are delighted to share with you the interview conducted with the outgoing Dutch Ambassador to Rwanda, Mrs. Frédérique De Man, after paying a courtesy call to the Rt. Hon Prime Minister of Rwanda Dr. Edourd Ngirente, to bid farewell as she concludes her mission to Rwanda.
Excellency Ambassador, you have been to Rwanda for four years. Please tell us how you found the relationship between the two countries and how you are leaving it now.
Ambassador De Man:
………So, I found it to be very good and I leave also the relationship in a good shape. I think we have achieved a lot of the over the past few four years. So we are in particular active in the water sector but also in agriculture and in the Justice sector, so I think we have made progress but there is always things can always be better. So my successor will also can take the relationship one step further.
You’ve been in many countries, in Africa, Europe and Arabic countries, what can you say you will never forget about Rwanda?
Ambassador De Man:
I think that I have seen a vision for the future of where Rwanda wants to go and I think that is really exceptional. Yes. I think if you ask me what’s so special about Rwanda that is real clear-cut vision on where it wants to go.
If it’s not secret, where are you heading to now?
Ambassador De Man:
I’m going back to The Hague but I will have a job, I will be traveling a lot and I don’t exclude that one of these days I will be in Rwanda again as well.
Would you tell us what is your main purpose for the visit here in Prime Minister’s Office, but also tell us what are the main interventions or support that you provide maybe in terms of monetary and the impact this has brought about to improve Rwandans’ livelihoods and the country’s economy?
The reason I wanted to say goodbye to the Prime Minister is of course diplomatic, you should not leave the country just like that without greeting the Prime Minister and also to discuss with him a report that was launched last year, that’s Future Drivers of Growth and it is a very important report which says where Rwanda wants to be and how to get there. So we talked about the importance of this report and what the Rwandan Government is doing in implementing the recommendations of that report, so that’s one thing and we the Netherlands we are also part of helping to implement. Like for example, we have a huge program which is called HortInvest and it is working to develop several value chains in the Horticultural sector. So I’m always I’m expecting a lot of that program not only for export to Europe but also export in the region.
Last week I was with Minister Biruta in Rubavu and we launched a huge land use planning, land use restoration program, which is a follow-up to earlier activities that we have done in integrated Water Resources management, and I think most Rwandans that we have been very active in the Justice sector. So we have been involved in infrastructural programs, building courthouses, building prisons we have done a lot in capacity building and we’re still doing a lot in capacity building and not only for example the prosecutor’s office and Judges, and the lawyers but also of Civil Society because we think that they can play a very important role in further improving the Justice sector when it comes to access to justice but also to voice and accountability.
Rwanda’s Economy is growing tremendously, what we will you tell the investors where you will be for them to come to invest in Rwanda?
Well, I will mainly talk to investors from the agricultural and horticultural sector and yes, there are enormous opportunities. But what I also said is that I think that we’re talking a lot about the export to Europe also Dutch import, but I think that the neighboring region is also extremely important and with the opening up of the DRC that’s offers enormous possibilities. So that is one of my messages and just to say we have huge big investments here, you know Bralirwa is here since 1959 and that is Heineken from the Netherlands. Then there is this huge investment also of Africa Improved Foods, which is led a Consortium led and partnership with the government of Rwanda which is led by DSM [Koninklijke DSM N.V.], which is a Dutch multinational and there is also Unilever which is half British half Dutch, but they are now investing in a first phase in the tea sector in South of the Country. They have plans for Phase 2 and phase 3, so there is a lot going on and KLM is flying every day to Kigali. So there is already a huge Dutch presence and I hope that we will continue to build further on it. I hope also that there will be more medium and small Enterprises Dutch and Rwandan working together.
Excellency Ambassador, thank you so much for your time.