Kigali, 27 July 2011
President Kagame today received in his office the UK Secretary of State for International Development, Hon. Andrew Mitchell. The Secretary of State was accompanied to the meeting by H.E Ben Llewellyn-Jones, the UK High Commissioner to Rwanda, Ms. Elizabeth Carriere, head of DFID in Rwanda, Ms. Philipa Buckley, Political Advisor to Andrew Mitchell and Mr. Charlie Whetham, Deputy Head of DFID in Rwanda.
Speaking to the press after the meeting with President Kagame, Secretary Andrew Mitchell said that his visit to Rwanda was largely about Project Umubano which has been run in Rwanda by the British Conservative Party for five years. “The President has always followed this project closely and was interested to hear what the progress is. Yesterday we opened a health center in Nyakarambi and I had the pleasure to see children being vaccinated there, and this afternoon we are going to be welcoming the President to open a school which is another legacy of project Umubano. We also discussed today the very close cooperation between Rwanda and Britain which is growing from strength to strength. Rwanda is one of the poorest countries in the world but one where tremendous progress is being registered in terms of development and we are seeing tremendous results on the ground. Both the President and I expressed a deep sense of satisfaction about what is taking place.”
Hon. Mitchell also said that the discussions with the President focused on the importance of private sector development and the significance of attracting investors as a way of lifting the country out of poverty. He noted that it was clear that Rwanda was treating this factor seriously as evidenced by the World Bank Report on Doing Business and the establishment of Commercial Courts which will ensure that investors will be treated fairly in terms of their investments.
“We also discussed the new media regulations and laws that are currently in Parliament and we think that this is a big step forward in addressing the concerns expressed by some people. The efforts that have been put in by the government to ensure self regulation of media is evidence of commitment and the will. We also discussed other aspects of our close relationships and interests of our two countries and I would like to say that the relationship between Rwanda and the UK is a close and deep one. Above all, Rwanda and Britain are very strong partners in development and prosperity in Rwanda benefits both Britain as well. All of us in Britain are delighted to see the progress on the ground”.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr. John Rwangombwa said: “The President and the Secretary of State discussed issues to do with cooperation and partnership between Rwanda and the United Kingdom, and the various projects undertaken by the UK in Rwanda. Overall, the Secretary of State expressed the satisfaction of the United Kingdom on Rwanda’s progress. Our cooperation has been growing stronger with time and this is evidenced by the fact that the UK increased assistance to Rwanda by 69% in March this year”.