Rwanda and the Central African Republic on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to reform CAR’s security and defence sectors.
The signing took place in Kigali during a state visit by CAR’s President Faustin-Archange Touadéra and his delegation. Touadéra arrived in Rwanda Thursday for a four-day State visit.
The parties also signed agreements on cooperation in economic planning and mining.
Rwanda's investment promotion agency—Rwanda Development Board—also hosted a session with members of the private sector from CAR.
In his remarks to the press, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame said that the signing of the agreements will strengthen bilateral ties.
“The signing of these agreements will serve to further cement our bilateral ties and deliver on the immense potential for the social economic transformation of our nations,” he said, after holding a closed-door meeting with the visiting president.
The agreements to cooperate on security and defense reform comes after Rwanda earlier this week deployed 700 troops to CAR at the request of the United Nations.
Rwanda is the third largest peacekeeping contributor in CAR. More than 3,000 Rwandan troops are deployed in CAR serving under Minusca. Another 1,000 more Rwandan troops are deployed in Bangui under bilateral agreements between both countries and are not under the UN mandate.
President Touadéra said that his country has been rebuilding its defence since 2013 and thanked Rwanda for its contribution to bringing back stability in the country both under Minusca and bilateral relations.
“During the events of 2013 our army was practically ruined. We have been committed since 2016 to the reconstruction of a professional and national army,” President Touadéra said.
CAR has been experiencing unrest since 2013 with 14 armed groups claiming to seek change. The situation worsened in 2020.
CAR’s security status continues to be fragile as armed groups ravage some parts of the country.
Last week, rebels killed six civilians and wounded several others in an attack on a village in the northeast.
Last November, the Security Council extended the mandate of Minusca until November 15, 2021, outlining its priorities as protection of civilians, supporting the peace process and preparing for elections.
President Kagame has emphasised Rwanda’s willingness to contribute to stability in CAR and Africa.
“Rwanda is committed to expanding strategic partnership with tangible results in the years ahead,” he said.
President Touadéra will visit various establishments in Rwanda, including the Campaign Against Genocide Museum, and the recently inaugurated million-dollar model village in Musanze district built for 144 families, with a school and a health centre.
He will also tour several conservation and ecotourism destinations before his departure on August 8.