Djibouti, 19 April 2017

Good morning.

It is a great pleasure and honour to address the National Assembly and the Cabinet of Djibouti and I thank you for the invitation to do so.

I would also like to thank my brother and friend, President Ismail Omar Guelleh, the Government, and of course the people of this beautiful country, for the warm welcome and generous hospitality.

Rwanda and Djibouti do not share a border but distance is no obstacle to friendship. We have common aspirations for a stable, prosperous, continent where all Africans live in dignity.

Djibouti’s rapid development is plain to see and it has a positive impact beyond your borders. In particular, we are proud of Djibouti’s able management of your geopolitical capital. We salute the progress you are making and want to join hands with you.

We seek the same things for our people: education, health, knowledge, and prosperity. This is why an essential element of Rwanda’s development strategy is integration, both economic and political, with partner states in across our region.

Rwanda and Djibouti also share a firm commitment to the unity of the continent and our peoples. African unity is not just a theory, but a practical way to reach our potential as Africans and to take full advantage of the benefits of globalisation.

After all, Africa has everything needed to create the opportunities for a hopeful present and bright future for all of us.

We are animated by universal values and principles but each country’s challenges are unique.

The most successful nations act based on a clear understanding of their own circumstances and history, responding to the needs of citizens, and with their full participation.

However, we benefit greatly from learning from each other’s experiences.

We must also cooperate and speak with one voice, as a continent. Whatever challenges we have, both collectively and in our respective countries, are easier to addresswhen we stay united.

I am happy to report to you that following the decision by Heads of State at the last Summit, the institutional reform of the African Union is already underway. These changes will make the African Union efficient, fit-for-purpose, and financially sustainable.

I have the honour of working on this process, together with President Alpha Conde, the current chair, and President Idriss  the former chair of the African Union.

As African legislators, we count on you to be strong advocates for the reform process, particularly in ensuring that citizens understand what the planned changes mean, and facilitating their full participation.

Honourable Members of this House, Leaders of Djibouti:

Our visit to Djibouti follows on last year’s visit by President Guelleh to Rwanda. We are making good progress in ensuring that our close bilateral cooperation results in tangible benefits for the people of our two countries.

We want more Rwandans and Djiboutians to visit each other, learn from each other, invest in each other’s countries, and do more business together, as well as with the rest of the world.

Indeed, the solidarity between Rwanda and Djibouti is a firm foundation for our joint pursuit of social and economic transformation.

We look forward to deepening our partnership in the years ahead.

I thank you fro your kind attention.