By Chanel Spence
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – President of the Republic of Rwanda, His Excellency Paul Kagame, is scheduled to arrive in Jamaica on Wednesday, April 13 for a three-day state visit.
While in Jamaica, president Kagame is expected to call on Governor-General, His Excellency Sir Patrick Allen, and will meet with prime minister, Andrew Holness, and other government officials.
The office of the prime minister in a statement said that president Kagame’s visit, which comes during the year of Jamaica’s 60th anniversary of Independence, represents an important opportunity for the deepening of bilateral relations between the countries.
The OPM noted that the visit will also help to reinforce “the steadily burgeoning relationship between the African continent and the CARICOM Region”.
President Kagame, who took office in 2000, is Rwanda’s sixth president. The 64-year-old, born October 23, 1957, was vice president and minister of defence under president Pasteur Bizimungu, who served from 1994 to 2000.
President Kagame was re-elected in 2010 and again in 2017, on a mandate to continue the stability and growth he brought to the country after the 1994 genocide where an estimated 800,000 people were killed.
Under his leadership, Rwanda has seen unprecedented socio-economic and political progress, peace, stability, as well as social cohesion.
The country of approximately 12.3 million people, 50 percent of which are under 20 years old, is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, at about eight percent per annum.
This is mainly due to the development of key sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, education, health, tourism and information and communications technology (ICT).
According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Rwanda’s major foreign exchange earners include mining, tourism, coffee, and tea.
Continued growth in these sectors is said to be critical for economic development and poverty reduction.
Rwanda is situated in Central Africa and bordered to the north by Uganda, east by Tanzania, south by Burundi and to the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its capital is called Kigali.
Rwanda’s main language is Kinyarwanda; however, English, French and Kiswahili are also declared official languages. The country’s culture includes music and dance, such as the Umushayayo and Intore.
The landlocked country, called the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’, has a total area spanning 26,338 kilometres square.
It has five volcanoes and six main water bodies, with vegetation that ranges from a dense equatorial forest in the northwest of the country to the tropical savannah in the east.