By DUSABEMUNGU Ange de la Victoire
To commemorate the 247th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America, on 29th June, 2023, the American Embassy in Rwanda emphasized the positive outlook for the future of the relationship between the United States and Rwanda. Additionally, the Government of Rwanda affirmed the usefulness of the bilateral relationship, highlighting its continued emphasis in various sectors.
The celebration of July 4th, which took place in Kigali, was attended by numerous dignitaries and guests, including members of the diplomatic corps and government of Rwanda, officials, donors, friends, and many others.
Speaking at the reception of the invited guests, Ms. Deb MacLean, the Charge d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Kigali said that “Birthdays are not just a time to reflect,” adding that “They are also a time to look ahead.”
“I must say, I doubt our founding fathers, as farsighted as they were, would have imagined an American company would be partnering with Rwanda to deliver medicines by drone, or a group of young Rwandan girls would travel to the United States to participate in space camps – frankly, I’m envious of those girls – or U.S. and Rwandan service members would combat infectious diseases while also training for peace – or that there would be a state called Nebraska, and it would partner with Rwanda to expand women’s leadership roles within peace and security, or that the United States would work with the Rwandan National Council of Persons with Disabilities to develop a Rwandan sign language dictionary to help ensure no member of society is left behind.” She said,
“Thinking back over these accomplishments makes me appreciate how hard our entire team at the Embassy has worked this year, and continues to work to make this an enjoyable evening for all our guests and to further expand our collaboration.” Ms. Deb MacLean added.
With the current bilateral relations, she said that “We’ve seen some remarkable accomplishments in our bilateral relationships this year. An organization representing 2,500 alumni of various U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs, the Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Accountability for Development, or LEAD, was officially recognized by the government of Rwanda.”
She explained that “The alumni members represent the power of cooperation between our two countries.”
She also highlighted that “Rwanda continues to make amazing progress in epidemic control of HIV AIDS, and the United States, through PEPFAR, provided $1.6 billion to this end since 2005.”
“Just recently, on World Malaria Day, we recognized the continued success of the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, and the Rwandan doctors, nurses, researchers, epidemiologists, and caregivers who fight so hard to reduce the numbers of cases and severity of malaria in Rwanda.” She said,
“And speaking of Rwandans, Rwandans at all levels are involved in our development work from beginning to end. We take a localized approach in the health, economic growth, education, and democracy and governance sectors. I’m proud to share that one quarter of our USAID contracts are now in the hands of our local partners.” Ms. Deb MacLean revealed.
“Working in tandem on ideas and addressing the real needs in the most appropriate ways, we create activity together. By working hand in hand with our local partners, we are ensuring the sustainability of our work, and also working to put ourselves out of a job for local sustainability by Rwandans.” She added.
She also congratulated the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority saying that “this year also marks a very important bilateral achievement. I congratulate Rwanda, and specifically the Rwandan Civil Aviation Authority and other aviation-related entities for achieving the coveted Category 1 status from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.”
“This is a crucial step to enable a future direct flight between our two countries. We look forward to continuing our partnership in this effort, and with luck, next year we’ll be able to join the other missions that wrap a lot of tickets for nonstop flights back home.”
On behalf of the Government of Rwanda, the Minister of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Professor Nshuti Manasseh extended the warm congratulations and best wishes to the people and governments of the United States of America on their special occasion that commemorates July 4.
Professor Nshuti explained that “For the people of the United States of America, July 4 symbolizes freedom, right to America, and love for their country. It’s time to remember and honor those who fought for independence, giving birth to a new nation.”
He said that Rwanda and the U.S. share a long-standing alliance which has flourished over the last six decades.
“Rwanda commends the U.S. for standing alongside us during our most challenging times, particularly the difficult journey we’ve been on in our country and society after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.” Prof. Nshuti said.
He added that “The U.S. has been a crucial development partner in areas such as public health, defense, institutions, climate change, trade and investment, and many others.”
He highlighted a few that are important to Rwanda citing the health sector where the U.S. and Rwanda have been collaborating closely to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to deal with the economic challenges of the pandemic to Rwanda.
“On security and defense, Rwanda and the U.S. have stood together in advancing the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development and Promotion of International Peace and Security. The logistic support provided by the U.S. has been helpful in Rwanda’s peacekeeping mission abroad, enabling its deployment of peacekeepers, protecting and saving lives in the conflict areas.” He said.
“The status of our forces and the union between our two countries fosters closer defense and cooperation, yielding positive outcomes.” Prof. Nshuti added.
He also mentioned that on trade and investment, Rwandan leaders have been exchanging a number of possibilities of “how can we continue trading after AGOA expires in 2025.”
“In education, through the American Educational Program, thousands of Rwandans have benefited from acquisition of skills that contribute to our national development agenda, both within Rwanda and the U.S. Some of these students, former students, now hold senior positions in our government.” He said
Prof. Nshuti Manasseh emphasized that the relationship between Rwanda and USA is founded on maturity, pragmatic, openness, and truthful communication looking forward to continuing this agenda.
“In conclusion, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to the government and the people of the United States of America for enduring the friendship with Rwanda, and we congratulate you on your birthday and we are very sure that Rwanda will always stand with you.” He said before the two representatives toasted a glass of wine to celebrate this important day for Americans.