After seven years of waiting, thousands of Rwandans and friends in Belgium will on Saturday interact with President Paul Kagame during a special Rwanda Day event.
The President is scheduled to attend the European Development Days – Europe’s leading forum on international cooperation and development.
He has been invited by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission to participate at the opening of a 2-day European Development Day forum (June 7-8).
Initially, the Rwandan Embassy in Belgium had organized a ‘Meet and Greet’ session where the President would make a stopover and greet Rwandans in the Diaspora after attending European Development Day tomorrow.
“After endless petitions by many Rwandans that wanted to meet their President, we decided to organize a Rwanda Day event,” said Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s Ambassador to Belgium.
He said that President Kagame last met Rwandans in Belgium at a big gathering seven years ago.
“We expect this event to be attended by so many Rwandans within Belgium and those from its neighboring countries,” Ambassador Nduhungirehe told KT Radio – a broadcasting arm of Kigali Today.
According to Amb. Nduhungirehe, Rwandans expected from other diaspora communities will come from Germany, France, Netherlands and United Kingdom.
Rwandan community in the Diaspora has in recent years been flocking cities in Europe, Canada and US to meet President Kagame.
“The only president in the world who takes his time to visit his citizens who live in Diaspora,” Twitted one Bertrand Kayumba ahead of Brussels gathering.
Part of the sessions with President Kagame, Amb. Nduhungirehe said, will be discussing how Rwandan community in Belgium can invest back home.
Rwanda Day is an annual event and was first held in Brussels in December 2010 where 2000 Rwandans met President Kagame.
Rwanda Day event brings together Rwandans and friends across the globe to reaffirm their core national values while celebrating the country’s achievements.
In October 2015, during Rwanda Day in Amsterdam, Netherlands, more than hundred Dutch companies vowed to tap into opportunities in the green and attractive Rwandan market – following their meeting with a strong delegation of 300 Rwandan business representatives who shared with them possible ways of partnering and investing in Rwanda.
As of 2015, according to Office of the government spokesperson (OGS), since Rwanda Day began, more than 33,000 Rwandans in Diaspora have been mobilized to take part in nation building.
The recent Rwanda Day event was held in September last year in San Francisco Marriott Marquis hotel in California, United States.
Amb. Nduhungirehe said that besides the European Development Days and Rwanda Day event, President Kagame will hold talks with Prime Minister of Belgium, Charles Yves Jean Ghislaine Michel and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission as well as vice President of Ivory Coast, Daniel Kablan Duncan.
“Discussions between these officials and President Kagame will be centered on bilateral relations between Rwanda, Belgium, European Commission and Ivory Coast,” Ambassador Nduhungirehe said.
Relations between Rwanda and Belgium remain cordial – following visits to Rwanda by Belgian’s Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders and Cooperation Minister, Alexander De Croo in January 2015.
The two Belgian officials agreed with Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo on establishment of permanent dialogues to discuss issues concerning the two countries, the region as well as global issues.