President Paul Kagame on Wednesday received his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda at Urugwiro Village where they held talks to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries and witnessed the signing of key cooperation agreements.
President Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda arrived in Rwanda on Tuesday evening for a three-day State Visit which is part of his East African tour covering Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. Upon arrival at Urugwiro Village, President Duda inspected a guard of honor before holding a closed-door meeting, which was followed by discussions with their respective delegations on deepening existing cooperation.
Following the bilateral talks, the Heads of State witnessed the signing of agreements on trade and economic cooperation, and in the fields of green technologies, environmental engineering, geology, and energy efficiency. President Kagame and his visiting counterpart delivered statements before taking questions from members of the press.
The agreements were signed between the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andrzej Szejna and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation, Dr. Vincent Biruta, before President Kagame reiterated that Rwanda and Poland share a strong bonds of friendship.
The Head of Statement commended the longstanding collaboration and support Rwanda has received from Poland, pointing out that the Government of Poland has contributed directly to the development of Rwanda.
“We are very grateful for this. A notable example is Poland’s longstanding support to the school and education centre for visually impaired children in Kibeho. The institute is bringing positive change in the lives of many and that is not something we take for granted,” President Kagame said, adding that the partnership in the field of education has delivered positive results.
He pointed out that there are many Rwandan students studying in the Polish universities today under this partnership. The Head of State pointed out that the Rwanda-Poland Business roundtable, which followed their discussions, is a chance for the private sectors of the two countries to explore trade and investment opportunities at a bilateral level.
President Kagame said the agreements signed by Rwanda and Poland in the field of green technology, environment energy and trade will stimulate the development of the said sectors and make the two countries resilient in adapting to the new reality of intercepting global shocks.
“All in all Mr. President, we have accomplished a lot. The diplomatic presence in respective countries will only serve to accelerate and solidify the good progress we are making,” President Kagame said, expressing confidence that the partnership between the two countries will deliver results.
On his part, President Duda said that the visit to Rwanda was “very moving” for him and his delegation and at the same time extremely important because it is the first official visit of the head of the Polish Republic to Rwanda in 60 years of relations between the two countries.
“I would like to strongly emphasize my enormous gratitude to Mr. President for intensifying these Polish-Rwanda relations over recent years. He opened his embassy in Warsaw, Rwanda welcomed the first Polish entrepreneurs,” he said, adding that over the past two years, foreign affairs Ministers from either side have visited, which shows the commitment.
He said that the visit is key in strengthening mutual relations and discussing the development of joint ventures, economic development through business and many other opportunities available for exploration.
“We are very happy we are creating reliable partners in Africa, especially those who share common values with us like Rwanda, who can also understand us, given our difficult history,” he said, reiterating that the two countries share a lot in common and can do more together.
“This visit is very important to me, we are a society of hard-working people but at the same time who understand the value of their work, a deep conviction that it is thanks to this hard work that they are able to achieve the most, that nothing will come by itself, that it must be earned with effort, we know that independence and sovereignty are not given to us,” President Duda said.
He said that while Poland had a troubled past many years ago and Rwanda not so long ago, the two countries are still connected by the fact that they suffered similar losses and devastation, with Poland losing over 6,000,000 people died in World War II, during the holocaust and occupation by German Nazis and Soviet Union, respectively.
Like Rwanda, which recovered from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, he said Poland experience tragedies which make the country value peace, development and prosperity for her people, far from war and conflicts, something he said he is sure they share with Rwanda.
He said that beyond the signed agreements, there is a lot more the two nations can do to deepen, adding that he would like to see more young Rwandans going to Poland to study and more Polish businesses, big and medium, investing in Rwanda, particularly in areas that align with the existing agreements.
Peace and Security
Referring to his previous comment on security in the respective regions of their countries, tied to the difficult past, President Duda said Poland’s peace and tranquility has for the past two years or so been threatened by what he called “Russian aggression against Ukraine”, which created a refugee problem for his country.
He said to date Poland is still receiving Ukrainians displaced from their homes and the country continues to support them selflessly, but until today they don’t understand why Russia continues to pursue its aggressive policy in Ukraine. He said as a country, Poland understands what occupation means and will continue to support Ukraine.
President Kagame equally pointed out that violence somewhere in the world affects elsewhere in the world, just the same way Rwandans have felt and still feel the impact of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict from afar. He s
In the afternoon, the President and First Lady of Poland visited Kigali Genocide Memorial – Gisozi , where they laid a wreath in honor of the over one million victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
President Kagame and President Andrzej Duda later in the afternoon joined a roundtable discussion with Polish and Rwandan business leaders aimed at streamlining the implementation of the signed agreements and other ongoing economic projects between the two nations.
President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame were set to host a State Banquet in honor of President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda.
During their stay, the President and First Lady of Poland will also tour the School and Education Centre for Visually Impaired Children in Kibeho, Southern Province, and the Polish Mining Company, LuNa Smelter in Kigali.
Rwanda and Poland enjoy commendable bilateral ties. Rwanda opened its Embassy in Warsaw in 2021, and Poland reciprocated by opening an Embassy in Rwanda, thereby bolstering diplomatic relations between the two countries.