- A delegation of close to 100 business executives and senior government leaders from Zimbabwe are in the country for the inaugural conference.
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on Wednesday told a delegation from Zimbabwe led by their Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Frederick Shava, that his country urgently needs quality teachers from Zimbabwe.
The Rwandan leader was interacting with over 200 participants during the inaugural Rwanda-Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Conference that is ongoing in Kigali since Tuesday.
“I think Zimbabwe can offer us good teachers,” Kagame said.
His remarks followed a bilateral deal signed between W2 Industries, a Zimbabwean firm that is expanding its business in Rwanda in areas of development of school infrastructure and setting up school laboratories.
Although the development was a significant one, Kagame said that priority should be given to human resource.
“I want to emphasize one thing. I want people first before equipment. I think Zimbabwe can offer us good teachers.”
“Please work on that with the sense of urgency. Whatever number you find of quality teachers we can absorb. Because we need them urgently,” he reiterated.
Meanwhile Kagame commended organisers of the conference describing it as a ‘special’ gathering.
For a number of years now, he said, the two countries have been working to deepen the ties in different sectors.
“Your presence here is the latest step in that journey and significant one too. I take particular note of the ministers of Zimbabwe who have accompanied this delegation.”
President Kagame assured the visiting delegation that the Rwandan Private Sector is ready to reciprocate and work together to identify mutually beneficial business opportunities.
He also highlighted that the history of both countries has been marked by moments of adversity and tragedy but also success and resilience.
“In that we are part of a wider African experience. Progress doesn’t come easily or without sacrifice. It requires hard work, dedication and self-reliance.”
The latter doesn’t mean being alone, he explained.
“No country on our continent can prosper without cooperating within our region. We have to come together, pull our resources and knowledge and reinforce one another.”
President Kagame gave the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as an example that provides the continent with a clear framework to align shared interests and strength.
“But the best rationale for our collaboration as we have seen during this conference is that we have a great deal to offer each other. Let us make the most of it and act on the outcomes of this conference with a sense of urgency.”
Huge potential for both countries
Speaking during the summit, Sekai Nzenza, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Industry and Commerce said that the conference has magnified the potential that both countries can reap from each other.
She said that Zimbabwe has a huge potential to supply the Rwandan market with Agricultural and horticulture products, pharmaceutical products, leather, textile, construction material among other projects.
On the other hand, Nzenza told both delegations that Rwanda has potential to export ICT and other light manufacturing products, adding that Zimbabwe had a lot to learn on the ease of doing business.
“I am excited that our private sector business enterprises who are present here have continued to provide their unwavering support,” she added, “It is vital that the two countries participate at each other’s trade and investment shows going forward.”
Rwanda-Zimbabwe trade and investment conference kicked off on Tuesday, September 28 and it is expected to go through 30th.
The idea was mooted in 2019 and it was agreed that the conferences will be held annually in rotational manner.
The conference was co-organised by Rwanda Development Board and the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) among other partners.
On its first day, a total of five cooperation agreements were signed as the two countries seek to make the most of the conference.