In a speech delivered at the Rwanda Day event in the United States on February 3rd, 2024, Dr. Vincent Biruta, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, emphasized the country’s focus on business, peace, and security.
He highlighted Rwanda’s contributions to regional stability, its commitment to peacekeeping missions, and its efforts to promote economic growth and attract foreign investments.
Dr. Biruta began by discussing Rwanda’s involvement in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which was signed in Kigali in 2018.
He emphasized that this agreement, the largest continental free trade area in the world, has the potential to create wealth for all Africans.
However, he noted that prosperity cannot exist without peace, which is why Rwanda remains engaged in military peacekeeping missions throughout Africa as the fourth largest contributor of peacekeepers worldwide.
The minister also highlighted Rwanda’s bilateral support to countries such as the Central African Republic and Mozambique in their fight against terrorism. He emphasized that since Rwanda’s deployments in these countries, the situation has significantly improved, contributing to the overall stability of the continent.
Dr. Biruta further mentioned Rwanda’s active membership in regional organizations such as the East African Community and the Economic Community of Central African States. He noted that these communities play a crucial role in fostering regional cooperation and economic integration among member states.
Shifting focus to the security situation in the Great Lakes region, Dr. Biruta acknowledged its volatility in recent years. He specifically mentioned the resurgence of armed groups, including the genocidal FDLR, and increasing hate speech and targeted killings against Rwandan-speaking Congolese, mainly Tutsis. These challenges have resulted in Rwanda hosting over 100,000 Congolese refugees.
While acknowledging regional mechanisms established to address the conflict, Dr. Biruta expressed frustration over the lack of political will and implementation of previously signed agreements.
He highlighted the involvement of international partners, including the United States, in efforts to find solutions to the conflict and ease tensions between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Dr. Biruta concluded by emphasizing the positive relationship between Rwanda and the United States.
He highlighted the U.S.’s active involvement in various sectors, including health, space, trade, and investment. He expressed hope for increased economic ties between the two countries, emphasizing that Rwanda is open for business and ready for American investments.