Rwanda and Benin have agreed to work together to deal with insecurity and terror threats the West African country through a defence and security cooperation agreement signed by the two countries.
President Paul Kagame, who is on a two-day state visit to the West African country, together with the First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, confirmed that Kigali and Cotonou are looking to cooperate in safeguarding the borders of Benin in the wake of instability and uncertainty especially in the northern part of the country bordering Burkina Faso and Niger.
The Head of State said that Rwanda and Benin working together will be in line with the desire for African countries to work together to deal with the challenges they face, citing examples of similar cooperation with other countries including Mozambique and Central African Republic (CAR).
“We are ready to work with Benin to prevent anything that may happen around its borders. There will be no limit in what will be accomplished together for security challenges,” President Kagame said at a joint press conference with his host President Patrice Talon, in the capital Cotonou.
President Kagame said that such partnerships can build on the competences each country has, pool the resources together to deal with the issues that hold back development and peace.
“What we need to do in Africa is to be together, to identify what we need in terms of partnerships and who offers what we need,” President Kagame said.
Among other things, military cooperation between Rwanda and Benin will focus on different areas including supervision, coaching, training and joint deployment, with President Talon confirming the ‘strategic partnership’.
“The two Heads of State welcomed the quality of military cooperation between the two countries and expressed their willingness to strengthen it,” the joint statement reads in part.
President Talon said the Rwandan has the capacity and experience to support Benin as it has done elsewhere and the two countries have already identified which areas they can work together.
Before addressing a joint press conference, President Kagame and President Talon witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements in the fields of defence and security, research, double taxation avoidance, digitization, agriculture, local governance, sustainable development, and renewed their agreements on trade and economic cooperation.
Benin and Rwanda already had existing cooperation in sectors of ICT, trade, urban planning and land management, and have signed a visa waiver agreement and a cooperation agreement in granite and marble exploitation.
President Kagame interacted with 100 young entrepreneurs at Sèmè City, a flagship project by Benin Government dedicated to meeting the skills needs of young Africans through training, research, and innovation.
The two countries agreed that a joint permanent commission meeting will be hosted in Cotonou before the end of 2023.
President Talon commended President Kagame for advancing African-led solutions to African problems as well as his efforts to re-align the continent through the African Union reforms and other continental initatives.
Later in the day, President Kagame interacted with 100 young entrepreneurs at Sèmè City, a flagship project by Benin Government dedicated to meeting the skills needs of young Africans through training, research, and innovation.
Mrs. Kagame, together with her host, Claudine Talon, the First Lady of Benin, visited the production unit of reusable organic cotton sanitary pads established by the Claudine Talon Foundation.