Istanbul, 21 March 2012
Good evening everyone.
First of all I would like to express how honored I am to be here with you and also thank you for the invitation extended to us through our representative here in Turkey. I was very happy that it was more to do with business than politics. I do a lot of politics but I am more interested in doing business, because good business serves good politics and good politics serves good business as well. I don’t know where any of the two exists alone without being served by the other.
I want to thank the business leaders here tonight who have taken their time and honored the invitation to be here with us, to have a conversation on how we can do the important and honorable job of bringing our two countries and our people together. These business interactions will definitely help cement meaningful and long lasting relations between our two countries.
It has been slightly over a year now, and we have seen the relationship between our two countries grow from strength to strength. The sign of that strength is the presence of the big delegation that is present here today; Rwandan businessmen and women who are with us and who have started looking towards Turkey for businesses they think will benefit them through the contacts that have been made with a number of Turkish business leaders who are already doing or exploring business in Rwanda.
So tonight, I want to thank friends of Rwanda, those business people from this great country who have not only led the way into our country, but they have also realized that good business can be done even in the wider region through Rwanda. I want to thank those who have been able to open this path from Turkey for this two-way business relationship.
We are also inviting those who haven’t yet visited Rwanda in this two-way meaningful relation, we welcome you to our country. I want to assure you that we appreciate those who have already started doing business in Rwanda as we will many others who wish to do business in the same way.
In Rwanda we consider a number of things for our social and economic development. Mainly, how do we organize ourselves? How do we organize our systems, our institutions to serve our people better in order to contribute to the development of our people? Ensuring that doing business in Rwanda is part of good governance is very central to the transformation of our country.
This is why we have among our top priorities, creating one of the best environments to make it easy for people to do business in Rwanda or through Rwanda to other parts of the East African community.
The East Africa community today is comprised of five countries, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. This is a region that has about 130 million people. We therefore not only think of easy and attractive ways to do business in Rwanda but also if people wish, they can conduct businesses through Rwanda. In the last three to five years we have made many changes and now Rwanda is one of the best places to do business as indicated by many reports and surveys that have been carried out. This is key in strengthening the relationship in business between Rwanda and Turkey.
I would like to invite you to do business in transformation or value addition in the area of agriculture. There is a huge potential in the areas of mining, construction, financial sector and development. Rwanda can definitely benefit from what Turkey offers in the area of tourism as well. Tourism is one of the many potential areas of investment that contributes immensely to the transformation of our country.
I am aware that this country has a lot we can learn and tap into. Both sides will then benefit from this kind of interaction in the area of business, and in other areas you thrive in and have been engaged in as pioneers.
I would like to express my gratitude to those who have been instrumental in making sure that the two ends are very well connected. I am happy to learn that there is good progress in transportation between Turkey and Rwanda – I am referring to having your great airline serve our countries and am glad to learn that this is going to happen soon, I met the leaders of your airline and we are definitely looking forward to this facilitation for our business people and others to be able to travel easily between the two countries.
I am very happy to report that this is my first time to visit Turkey and I have definitely fallen in love with it. I like what I have seen and appreciate the warm hospitality we have received. One would think Turkey and Rwanda are very far apart in terms of geographical distance but I was able to experience today during my flight here that after all, a six hour journey is not too long a distance. May I end by once again thanking you all very much, for taking your time to be with us this evening to welcome and make us feel at home. We are looking forward to the experiences in the next few days while we are here.
I really want to thank those great people who have pioneered this relationship, are already making an impact in our country through their investment, and for finding more ways to benefit the two countries, people and the business leaders who want to make the right investments. The assurance is that the good returns exist. These returns will be facilitated by the good relationship we look forward to having between Turkish and Rwandan leaders, be it at a political, business or at the international level.
Thank you very much, may God bless Turkey and Rwanda and the relationship between the two countries.