Rwanda set to open consular office in Israel

Saturday June 14 2014

In the 2014/15 financial year, Kigali will open an embassy in Tel Aviv as part of its foreign policy priorities.

During an official visit last week, Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel and Rwanda share a lot in common, considering that both countries have suffered mass massacres in the Genocide against the Tutsi and the Holocaust.

Mr Lieberman, who is on a 10-day African tour covering Ivory Coast, Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya, said his country views Rwanda as a “strategic partner” given their shared history.

“We have a very similar destiny and we are natural allies. Rwanda suffered for many years through the civil war and genocide, and for the Jewish people it is much easier to understand your history than any other country,” Mr Lieberman said.

“Our political relations are stable and good. I came with a delegation of business people and government officials and we are looking to increasing our economic relations,” he added.

Key members of the delegation included ICT and defence experts, agricultural specialists and engineers.


After a business meeting, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding to affirm the commitments made to each other. These included defence, agriculture, ICT, education, energy and health partnerships, which will see the two countries share expertise.

The delegation also included Israeli security companies that met privately with Ministry of Defence officials and heads of the army and police.

According to sources, at the closed-door meeting, Israeli companies showcased sophisticated security technologies that they could supply to the Rwandan army and police.

In recent years, the Rwanda National Police has upgraded from the AK47 to modern Israeli-made assault rifles.

Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo said the ties between Kigali and Israel are getting stronger.

“Our bilateral ties will go beyond just talks. We have been working together, and we plan to take this relationship further by co-operating in different sectors of the economy. We had a delegation of businessmen and investors from Israel coming to Rwanda to explore opportunities.

“Soon we will open our embassy in Israel to further the implementation of these commitments,” Ms Mushikiwabo said.

During his visit, Mr Lieberman officiated at the opening of the Centre for Excellence in Agriculture in Kigali, which was funded by his government through the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture.

Several Israeli investors in the 80-person delegation explored opportunities in irrigation technology and agro-mechanisation, clean energy technology, mining, waste treatment and water infrastructure equipment.


But relations between Rwanda and Israel have not been without controversy. On April 4, 2014, the Jerusalem Post, one of Israel’s leading English dailies, reported that the Middle Eastern country would relocate illegal immigrants to Rwanda and Uganda.

Both Rwanda and Uganda denied the allegations that a multimillion-dollar deal was reached to host the illegal immigrants.

Ms Mushikiwabo denied knowledge of the deal.

“I am not familiar with that report as foreign minister, but whatever we do with Israel or any other country cannot be illegal. When countries agree to work together and take a decision, it’s a sovereign decision on either side,” she said.