Excellency, President Rajoelina, we are grateful for the warmth with which we were received, and also thank the First Lady, who received us, and the people of Madagascar for the very warm reception and hospitality.

It is a high honour to pay my first visit to this magnificent country on the 59th anniversary of the restoration of Independence.

Mr. President, the invitation to join you and the people of Madagascar on this historic occasion is greatly appreciated.

This visit is also an opportunity to deepen the bilateral relationship between our two nations. This was the substance of the very productive discussions which the President and I have just held.

Building on the memorandum of understanding signed by our respective development boards earlier this year, we intend to enhance the trade and investment ties between Rwanda and Madagascar, particularly in the context of COMESA and the African Continental Free Trade Area, but not limited to this.

Other priority areas for collaboration may include technology, agriculture, and security, to just mention a few.

In actual fact I have also expressed the wish to invite my brother, President Rajoelina, to pay a visit to us in Rwanda. We hope that we will continue to strengthen the ties between our two countries and our peoples and help prepare our people for greater development.

Mr President, we will do our best to share our own experiences that may resonate with Madagascar’s, but we are also very keen to learn and collaborate with you, President and the people of Madagascar. There is a lot we can learn and build on for our development.

Do, once again, allow me to give you my gratitude and also to congratulate you for your victory as the leader of your people. And thank you for the invitation to come and join you at your inauguration, which I was not able to make but I sent a senior representative. But all that together is for the continued strong ties we seek to have for our people and nations and the friendship which continues to grow stronger with time.

I get the feeling with what I saw and experienced since our arrival: the warmth of the people of Madagascar. And you can see hope in their faces because of your leadership and the anticipation that you can make a difference for their future.

Allow me to pass my condolences for the people you just mentioned who lost their lives on such a day that was supposed to be a very happy one. We pray for those people and stand with you and ask when you visit them to convey that we are with you in the pain of their families and the country as such.

Once again, we are very, very glad. The First Lady of Rwanda is also here, and we are very grateful for warm hospitality and friendship extended to us. Thank you very much.