Africa Day 2023 – Message from Rwanda Mission in India
Rwanda is a party to several regional economic blocks, which would benefit to Indian businesses - Ms. Jacqueline MUKANGIRA, High Commissioner of Rwanda to India
On this great occasion of Africa Day 2023, the High Commission of the Republic of Rwanda to India sends warm congratulations to the African Missions in New Delhi, to the African Union and to all the people of Africa.
The High Commission takes also the opportunity to thank the Government of India for its warm hospitality and good relations with the African Embassies/High Commissions and other diplomatic representations to India.
The Republic of Rwanda feels the privilege of being one of the African countries having excellent relations with the Republic of India.
Brief on Rwanda-India Relations
In 1999, Rwanda established its first diplomatic representation in New Delhi and posted a Charge d’Affaires, to be followed by a full Mission headed by an Ambassador, in 2001.
In 2018, India also appointed its first High Commissioner in Rwanda, hence opening a fully functioning diplomatic mission in Kigali. Rwanda was among the few countries in Africa where India had decided to expand its representation on the African continent.
Bilateral cooperation between the two countries have reached milestones. Indeed, high-level visits of high dignitaries on both sides, especially five visits to India by HE President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and the visit of Indian PM Narendra Modi to Rwanda in July 2018 have reenergized the relations between Rwanda and India. The relations have consequently been elevated to the strategic level.
Rwanda benefits from Indian lines of credit via Eximbank. These lines of credit have contributed tremendously to the development of Rwanda. Sectors of energy development and power line transmission, infrastructure, agriculture, education and capacity building have mostly seen the financial inflow from Indian funding.
In terms of bilateral trade, Rwanda is a party to several regional economic blocks, which would benefit to Indian businesses. The advent of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will increase the trade opportunities between India and Rwanda through the African trade framework.
In line with the target of connecting the people, India and Rwanda signed in February 2017 the Bilateral Air Service Agreement opening routes to Rwanda’s national career RwandAir to start in April 2017 direct flight operations between Kigali and Mumbai. The operation of the flight was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but later both countries signed an Air Bubble Agreement to address the critical restrictions brought up by health emergency. The launch of direct Rwandair flights between Kigali and Mumbai has gone a long way to boost connectivity between the two countries and the rest of Africa.
In July 2017, the Indian Authorities approved, under the existing BASA 5th Freedom Flights Rights for Rwandair to operate flight connections from Kigali – Mumbai- Guangzhou- Mumbai – Kigali. Rwandair is also allowed to operate under 5th Freedom from India to other major destinations in the World except Gulf Countries.
The connectivity between people was much facilitated by eased visa regimes between the two countries: Following the signing of the agreement for exemption of visa requirements for diplomatic and service/official passport holders, the Government of the Republic of India has implemented the agreement by issuing visa free stay for a period of 90 days for holders of Rwandan Diplomatic and Official passports, starting from 25th December 2017. Additionally, India has included Rwanda on the list of countries whose nationals are eligible for e-visas for travel to India. This has substantially eased travel for Rwandans travelling to India.
Equally, Rwanda has opened its borders to citizens of the world, and Indians being members of the Commonwealth organization, they are issued free entry Rwandan Visa valid for 30 days. The new Rwandan visa regime has benefitted the Indians travelling to Rwanda and beyond in many ways.
The socio-economic development of Rwanda has its support from India through the sectors of infrastructure, agriculture, defence, education through Indian scholarship programmes of ICCR and ITEC, health, tourism, science and technology, renewable energy and many more.
India and Rwanda relations are projected to grow higher. The economic and trade ties make one of the strongest pillars the diplomatic relations hinge on. It calls for the commitment of everyone that is involved in this noble cause of perpetuating the friendly relations between the two countries.