January 15, 2015
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, right, shakes hands with JICA President Akihiko Tanaka.
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka offers flowers at a mass grave on the site of the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
Visiting Rwanda from Jan. 8 to 10, JICA President Akihiko Tanaka held talks with President Paul Kagame and attended a completion ceremony for the Project for Construction of Rusumo International Bridge and One Stop Border Post Facilities.
He also visited the genocide museum, met with other dignitaries and visited the sites of other JICA projects in Rwanda.
In what was his second discussion with Kagame since the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) in June 2013, Tanaka began by saying it was an honor to visit the country of striking economic growth and natural beauty. What's more, pointing out that Rwanda lies at the junction of the Northern Corridor of East Africa starting at the port of Mombasa, Kenya, and the Central Corridor starting at the port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, he said JICA would continue cooperation to strengthen socio-economic infrastructure and improve human capacity with a vision of the East African regional integration.
On this point Kagame thanked Tanaka and JICA, and mentioned his great hopes for strengthened regional connectivity and regional integration through infrastructure improvement. He also said he would like Japan and Rwanda to continue developing their favorable and synergistic bilateral relationship while promoting private investment.
On Jan. 10, Tanaka participated in the completion ceremony for the Project for Construction of Rusumo International Bridge and One Stop Border Post Facilities, a grant aid project. This project was designed to replace the deteriorated Rusumo International Bridge located on the border with Tanzania, construct facilities to smooth border crossing procedures, reduce transportation costs in the Central Corridor, which is an important transportation route in the East African region that includes Rwanda, and enlarge trade and investment for the region as a whole. The completion ceremony was attended by 400 people including James Musoni, Rwandan minister of Infrastructure; John Mongella, regional commissioner of Kagera Region of Tanzania; Kazuya Ogawa, ambassador of Japan to Rwanda and other dignitaries from three countries. Tanaka gave a speech in which he said the project completion was important from the perspective of regional integration and expressed his expectations for the investment environment of the region as a whole to improve through strengthened connectivity of the Central and Northern corridors.
On Jan. 9, Tanaka visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial in the capital of Kigali. In the Rwandan genocide in 1994, approximately 1 million people lost their lives over the course of about 100 days.
JICA, which re-started assistance to Rwanda shortly after the genocide, re-established its Rwanda office in 2005 and has since expanded assistance to support the reconstruction and economic development of the country. This year the office will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its reopening.
Through local media, Tanaka told the people of Rwanda that he is deeply impressed by their efforts and the fact that the country continues to accomplish rapid recovery, reconciliation and economic growth despite the tragedy of the genocide. He also said JICA will continue to extend support to Rwanda centered on economic infrastructure and human resource development, thereby enhancing the peace and stability of the surrounding region.
Tanaka also met and exchanged views with Rwandan dignitaries including Claver Gatete, minister of Finance and Economic Planning; Louise Mushikiwabo, minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; and Albert Nsengiyumva, minister of State in the Ministry of Education in charge of Technical and Vocational Education and Training.