Let me say, the partnership has been there for over 40 years and it is a pleasure for me to join you tonight to mark the 40th anniversary of the partnership between Rhineland-Palatinate and Rwanda.

I thank Minister-President Malu Dreyer for the kind invitation, and I wish I could have joined you personally.

Allow me to appreciate the warm welcome and gracious hospitality during my last visit to Mainz.

I thank the people of Rhineland-Palatinate for the contributions made to our country’s development, especially through productive twinning partnerships with several Rwandan districts.

This relationship is reinforced by the good development partnership that Rwanda enjoys with Germany as a whole.

Minister Schulze, I am happy to see you again, so soon after your visit to Rwanda.

Since 1982, a lot has changed in Rwanda, in Germany, and in the wider world.

As we look to the future of the partnership, we should look with fresh eyes at how we can best support each other.

In particular, we would like to see more private sector and business linkages from both Rhineland-Palatinate and Germany, with Rwanda.

The presence here of Dr Sierk from BioNTech is an indication.

The innovations of this company, based in Rhineland-Palatinate, have changed the world for the better, and saved countless lives and we thank you.

We are very pleased to have embarked on a partnership with BioNTech to build an mRNA vaccine production facility in Rwanda.

This will not only impact and improve Africa’s resilience in the face of pandemics, but also transfer skills and knowledge to young Rwandan engineers and scientists.

We welcome even more of this kind of productive people-to-people exchange in our partnership with Rhineland-Palatinate.

I can also mention the program to train Rwandan engineers at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern which has been very beneficial.

This is a model we can look to extend.

28 years after the Genocide, Rwandans are a people with a totally changed mindset.

Now, there will be many questions talked about but all we draw from that is that as we see today and saw yesterday, and it will be there in the future; I think for every country, developed or less developed, everything; politics, security, stability, governance, is work in progress. Every country without exception.

That is why the word partnership is always going to be important, and in partnership people have mutual respect; they disagree, they agree, above all they continue working together moving forward. But Rwandans have not wasted any time to learn lessons of our own situation or lessons we can draw from the strength of partnership we have with different people, especially with Rhineland-Palatinate and with the Federal Government of Germany. And we look forward to continuing in that way of mutual respect and working together, and that is what makes sense of any partnership.

Rather, we seek, therefore, to take charge of our destiny, by partnering with countries, friends like Germany, like Rhineland-Palatinate to build world-class institutions, and a healthy, highly-educated population.

Going forward, this is the spirit that should guide and anchor our partnership.

I thank you once again for your commitment and friendship, and I look forward to the discussion.

Thank you very much!