Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and his Democratic Republic of Congo counterpart Felix Tshisekedi have committed to support a new era of regional and bilateral cooperation to create new business opportunities that will transform the lives of all Africans.
The Heads of State made the announcement as the seventh edition of the Africa CEO Forum came to a close in the Rwandan capital of Kigali this week.
Both Presidents were present at the opening of the two-day Africa CEO Forum that was officially flagged off on Tuesday March 25th, 2019 by the host leader Paul Kagame, with Togolese Faure Gnassingbé and Ethiopia’s Sahle-Work Zewde joining more than 1,800 business leaders from all over Africa.
In a historic 30-minute session, the two Presidents addressed issues that have shaped the largely frosty bilateral ties between the neighbouring countries often affecting integration initiatives such as cross-border trade due to conflict and resultant insecurity.
Issues discussed by the two leaders included the future of bilateral ties between their two countries and whether long-lasting reconciliation is possible; they also discussed opportunities to collaborate on transformative projects such as investment in energy, mining and environmental protection.
Kagame noted that regional instability will not be solved by playing blame games. He instead recommended that constant engagement with peers, is best, until mutually satisfying solutions are found. To the people of the DRC and the region, President Tshesekedi promised a new era of politics that seeks to burry historical hatchets and identifying with opportunities that benefit all.
“We have to believe in him. He has made a promise to his people and the region. We must support him,” said President Kagame noting that Rwandan problems often end up affecting the Democratic Republic of Congo just as DRC’s problems often affect Rwanda, because of their geographic proximity.
In the past, militia groups operating in DR Congo’s vast territory have been a source of security threats to Rwanda often resulting into bilateral confrontations with previous governments in Kinshasa. But in what he calls ‘a new era of leadership’ President Tshesekendi has pledged to deal with the issue to pave way for better ties with regional neigbours including Rwanda.
“Our countries have and will always be neighbors. We politicians are simply passing actors. We must therefore exercise our leadership responsibilities to stop the senseless conflicts that only distract us from investing our resources in important partnerships that would transform our people and countries,” Tshesekedi said.
Among those important partnerships, President Tshisekedi pointed out his country’s vast untapped energy resources which can benefit both DRC, Rwanda, allowing them to boost their energy generation capacities.
“We need leaders of good politics. We must also have leaders who are willing to cooperate with each other to solve problems,” said President Kagame.