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Relations with Rwanda strengthened

13 May 2016

Jersey’s ongoing cooperation with Rwanda has taken a major step forward with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two governments today (12 May 2016) at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Assistant Chief Minister responsible for financial services, competition, digital and innovation, Senator Philip Ozouf, signed the MoU on behalf of the Island, with Claver Gatete, Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, signing for the Government of Rwanda.

The signing of the MoU is an important milestone in the deepening of relations with Rwanda and will build on links that have been developing over many years. The wide-ranging agreement focuses on areas where Jersey has significant expertise, which will act as a catalyst for knowledge transfer and information exchange in sectors including dairy, digital, education, environment, financial services and culture.

Promote economic growth

The MoU acknowledges Rwanda’s ‘Vision 2020’ strategy and the country’s focus on becoming a knowledge-based middle-income country. It will complement the country’s efforts to raise living standards, promote economic growth and stability, and create new employment opportunities, as well as seeking to improve general welfare by supporting the expansion of trade and investment.

Rwanda’s geographical position and progress towards becoming a service-based economy means it is well placed to become a regional hub for professional services for East, Central and Southern Africa. The MoU provides a platform from which Jersey can support Rwanda in achieving its objective in areas where the Island has expertise.

Links between the two countries stretch back to the early 2000s, when Rwanda and Jersey first began to work together on the highly successful Girinka (‘One cow per poor family’) project that has provided over 300,000 cows to poor families. More recently, the two governments signed a double taxation agreement, which is expected to help boost flows of foreign direct investment into Rwanda and the region, as highlighted in research produced by the Capital Economics report Jersey’s Value to Africa.

Beneficial cooperation

External Relations Minister, Senator Sir Philip Bailhache, said “The signing of this memorandum of understanding formalises the intention of our two governments to strengthen their existing warm relationship going back more than a decade, and to explore new possibilities for mutually beneficial cooperation across a wide range of industries and activities. The Ministry of External Relations looks forward to working with the Government of Rwanda in a number of different areas and to using the MoU as a focal point for deepening the friendship between our two countries.”

Senator Ozouf said “The MoU is the culmination of many months of hard work. Jersey’s Financial Framework, the Island’s strategy for jobs and growth, prioritised the goal of developing trade with the high-potential priority markets in Africa. Rwanda is increasingly regarded as a gateway to the region, and our special relationship with the country will deliver tangible benefits for the citizens of Jersey, Rwanda and the region.

“I have seen at first-hand Rwanda’s amazing transformation over the last decade. The Chief Minister has advocated the development of mutually beneficial partnerships to deliver our strategic aims. The MoU plays a key part in achieving this and I look forward to working with Jersey Ministers and our Rwandan colleagues to the benefit of both our communities.”

Share expertise

Chairman of the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, Deputy Carolyn Labey, said “The Commission is in full support of the Government of Jersey’s work in building on JOAC’s long-standing relationship with Rwanda, mainly with their agricultural community. There are, of course, economic advantages to this kind of engagement but the intrinsic value of establishing a formal agreement to work together and share expertise across many sectors cannot be underestimated. There is a great deal that both our governments and communities can learn from one another.”

Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete, added “The Government of Rwanda is delighted to have signed a MoU with Jersey. This underlines the longstanding links between our two governments and shared commitment to further develop our mutually beneficial relationship, and builds on the double taxation agreement signed between Rwanda and Jersey in 2015. The MoU makes reference to areas of expertise where our two governments can benefit from each other’s experience in fields as diverse as financial services, governance, conservation, digital technologies and agriculture. I look forward to working with colleagues in Jersey in the years ahead as Rwanda continues its transition to a knowledge-based middle-income economy.”

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