India, Rwanda sign 3 MoUs, direct flight to Mumbai on cards
Business Standard , Feb 22, 2017
India and Rwanda have signed three agreements to boost bilateral cooperation in areas like science and technology, that includes setting up of an entrepreneurship development centre here, and starting of direct flights to Mumbai.
The two sides signed three Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) late last evening in the presence of Vice President Hamid Ansari and Rwandan Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi at the India-Rwanda Business Forum here.
Ansari is visiting the East African country as part of his five-day visit to Rwanda and Uganda.
The first agreement envisages setting up of an entrepreneurship development centre in Rwanda to further cement ties between the two countries in the field of science and technology as well as sharing of India's expertise in the field.
"The centre would be funded by India and we will also guide them and do hand-holding to establish it for them. This will further boost our cooperation with this East African country," a senior MEA official said.
The other two MoUs entail starting of flight operations to India by state-run RwandAir and easing of visa regime from both sides for travellers holding diplomatic and official passports.
"The agreement seeks to facilitate mutual exemption of visa requirement for travelers holding diplomatic and official passports," the official said.
The direct flight from Kigali to Mumbai is expected to begin operations by early April. Ansari, during a function hosted here by the Indian High Commission of Uganda had said that a direct flight would soon become a reality. Though, officials have not given any date yet, the website of the Rwandan carrier says it will commence from April 3 and will make four flights in a week.
"With the signing of these MoUs our relationship from here forth is going to grow stronger," Murekezi said while addressing the business forum, attended by top industry leaders and innovators from both countries.
"We have 54 years of fruitful bilateral relationship. Rwanda and India share important ties and we are committed to make this relationship grow stronger. Rwanda is a safe country and a recent report has ranked the country as one of the best places to do business.
"We are also third least corrupt country in Sub-Saharan Africa region and we definitely are ready for business and greater cooperation," he said.
The Rwandan Prime Minister also pitched for Indian companies to "look beyond" the traditional sectors while engaging with Rwanda.
Incidentally, Ansari at the forum, hosted by FICCI and Rwanda Development Board, also launched India-Rwanda Innovation Growth Programme to boost ties in areas of science, technology and innovation, and said Rwanda offers a "wonderful platform" to Indian partners to enhance their presence and capacities in other parts of Africa.