Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen says the Republic of Rwanda has emerged from the political challenges of the 1990s to become a model of economic growth for other developing countries.
“The level of progress and the very mature approach towards reconstruction… has made the country an excellent example of how to advance social transformation,” he said.
The Governor-General was speaking during a state dinner hosted at King’s House on Thursday for President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, who is on a three-day state visit to Jamaica.
The Governor-General said Jamaica and Rwanda have made many important strides towards deepening their partnership since establishing diplomatic relations in 1998, noting that the countries have both been in several fora.
President of the Republic of Rwanda Paul Kagame addressing guests attending a State Dinner hosted in his honour at King’s House on Thursday. (Photo: JIS)
These, he noted, include engagements at the United Nations (UN), the Group of 77, the Commonwealth, and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States which have “allowed us to appreciate the extent of Rwandan capability and leadership”.
Sir Patrick pointed out that the countries share a natural bond of kinship, forged by the strong affinity that Jamaica has with the African continent, and a commitment to “ensuring the sustained growth and development of our people”.
The Governor-General pointed out that President Kagame’s visit, initially slated to take place two years ago, had to be deferred due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“But we now have the opportunity to meet, expand, deepen, and develop our friendship. The discussions that will take place over the course of this visit will elaborate on frameworks for future cooperation in areas such as sports, climate change, culture, tourism, health, human resource development, trade and investment,” he added.
Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen (right) escorts President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, to the ballroom at King’s House for Thursday’s State Dinner, hosted for the visiting Head of State. (Photo: JIS)
The Governor-General expressed the hope that President Kagame’s first visit to Jamaica, “will be an enjoyable one.
“In addition to the varied experiences that you will have during this brief visit, we hope that you will also take back with you the warmth and best wishes of the government and people of Jamaica to our brothers and sisters in your country,” he further stated.
President Kagame, in his reply, expressed gratitude for the hospitality extended to him and his delegation.
“We feel truly embraced and welcomed here in Jamaica… [and are] happy to be opening a new chapter between our countries,” he added.
The president said that as Jamaica celebrates its 60th Independence Anniversary, “let’s commit to expanding the ties of friendship and brotherhood between the Caribbean and Africa, and Jamaica and Rwanda in particular.”
Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his wife Juliet Holness headed the list of dignitaries and other guests attending the event.
Included were former prime ministers PJ Patterson and Bruce Golding and Lorna Golding, ministers of government, Opposition Leader Mark Golding, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, and members of the Diplomatic Corps in Jamaica.