Kigali, 29 August 2016
President Kagame today received the President of Benin, Patrice Talon, who is on a three-day State visit to Rwanda. On arrival, President Talon was received by President Kagame and senior Government leaders, before going to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center where he toured the memorial and also laid a wreath in honor of the genocide victims laid to rest at the memorial tombs.
President Talon was later in the evening hosted by President Kagame to a State Dinner at the Kigali Radison Blue Hotel and Convention Center.
In his speech, President Kagame welcomed the President of Benin and his delegation to Rwanda and wished them a pleasant stay:
“We are honoured to host you and your high-level delegation for these productive discussions.Rwanda and Benin are laying the foundation for much stronger ties between our two countries in the years ahead. Allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate the government and the people of Benin, and you personally, Mr President, for the successful election you had not so long ago. National unity and accountable public institutions are achievements that must never be taken for granted. Let’s keep supporting each other to do the right things for the benefit of our people and the world as a whole.”
President Patrice Talon said his visit was inspired by the urge to express in the name of his country and sub-Saharan Africa how proud he was of Rwanda’s leadership.
“This is a country that was known because of tragedy but is now known for its able leadership. I honor you for the pride you give to all Africans. This country has shown that when you have the will and commitment you can do as much if not more than others. Rwanda is evidence that we are not a cursed lot after all.”
President Talon pointed out that South-South Cooperation cooperation could have true meaning and hoped that the relationship between Rwanda and Benin would be an example for the rest of Africa.
“We can show that Africans can have meaningful exchanges and also learn from each other. Africans visit the rest of the world but they don’t visit each other. After learning from Rwanda, i have decided that Africans will no longer require visas to enter Benin. My dream is to create a relationship of exchanges and tourism.”
Rwanda and Benin enjoy excellent relationship and open collaboration on African and international issues. The two countries also signed a bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) in March 2016 and Rwanda Air is due to start flights to Cotonou on 2nd September 2016. The two countries also exchanged a draft general cooperation agreement which will be signed soon.
During his stay, President Talon is scheduled to hold discussions with President Kagame on bilateral cooperation between the two countries. The Benin President will also visit the Special Economic Zone in Masoro, tour the Rwanda Development Board and hold a joint press conference with President Kagame.