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By BY TIMES REPORTER, 17 April 2015, The New Times (Rwanda)
President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame, yesterday, arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for two-day state visit. President Kagame and his host, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, began with a tête–à–tête meeting during which they discussed regional cooperation, increasing trade and investment and learning from both nations’ experiences in peace and security.
On Rwanda and Ethiopia bilateral ties, President Kagame pointed to both countries’ common vision for development. “There are many striking similarities, most of which are centered around our common determination to focus on empowering and uplifting our people as the dignified and self reliant drivers of our socio-economic development,” he said. “Solidarity is particularly important in the face of growing opportunities, but also inevitable challenges as we continue to uphold our collective dignity, stability and prosperity.”
President Kagame also commended the Government of Ethiopia for the sustainable and inclusive development achieved and Ethiopia’s exemplary role in regional peace and security. Following the bilateral meeting, the President and premier Desalegn gave keynote addresses at a meeting of business leaders from Rwanda and Ethiopia. The Ethiopian premier commended citizens of Rwanda for the progress made to date.
“Rwanda is a country that has proven that determined people and dedicated leadership can surmount insurmountable odds,” he said. Desalegn added that Rwanda’s progress is largely due to the dedication of the people of Rwanda to become masters of their destiny and to the discipline and vision of President Kagame.
Support for bilateral trade
Pledging support for bilateral trade and investment, Hailemariam also encouraged business leaders to participate in advancing south-south cooperation.
“Rwanda and Ethiopia should cooperate more than ever with each other and with other African nations and provide evidence of the renaissance on our continent. More than ever before, the time has come that Ethiopia and Rwanda extend this heart to heart relations into dimension of investment and trade.”
Both leaders also held a joint media conference during which they announced a bilateral agreement to share electricity as well as best practices in agriculture.
As the top two contributors of peacekeepers in Africa, Ethiopia and Rwanda also agreed to strengthen cooperation in peace and security. President Kagame also invited Prime Minister Hailemariam to visit Rwanda.
The respective foreign ministers also signed a memorandum of understanding on urban development cooperation, while the head of the Private Sector Federation of Rwanda and the head of the Chamber of Commerce of Ethiopia signed an agreement to strengthen investment and cooperation between both nations.
On the first day of the visit, First Ladies Mrs Roman Tesfaye of Ethiopia and Mrs Kagame visited Alpha school for deaf children in Addis Ababa.
Supported by Mrs Tesfaye through her school feeding initiative, the 106 students also have access to ICT, technical and vocational training along with regular classes.
The First Ladies also visited the Ethiopian National Museum, which is home to Lucy, the world famous fossil, whose remains were discovered in Ethiopia in 1974.