ZAMBIA is truly honoured to host a true son of Africa in the name of His Excellency Paul Kagame.
President Kagame arrived in the country yesterday for a two-day state visit during which bilateral agreements are expected to be consolidated.
Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba said President Lungu and his counterpart are expected to confer on various areas of co-operation.
The visit of Mr Kagame is yet another confirmation of President Lungu’s resoluteness to leave no knowledge base or experience untapped in his quest to develop this country.
This is why he has continued to interact with other exceptional leaders both at continental and global levels to not only widen his knowledge base on development strategies in other countries but to also harness trade and investment opportunities.
This is because the head of State understands that no single country can or has ever developed all by itself regardless of how vast its resource base is.
Collaborations are therefore key to any country’s development.
This is why we are elated at the visit of Mr Kagame, a distinguished leader who has under his reign transformed Rwanda from the ashes of the genocide to a beautiful and economically blossoming country.
As Mr Kalaba pointed out, it is indisputable that Zambia has so much to learn and gain from Mr Kagame’s visit.
It is a well-known fact that Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product growth rate from the time Mr Kagame took over power in 1994 has soared reaching consistent peaks of about 8 percent between 2001 and 2014.
The country has also reduced poverty levels significantly, giving its citizens a much wealthier and healthier status.
The fact that the Zambian Government has put the health of its citizens as a top priority, it can also draw lessons from Rwanda’s robust national health programme, which covers 90.6 percent of the population and has consequently led to a reduction in the disease burden and deaths.
Rwanda is one of the fastest growing African countries in ICT. In 2015, for instance, Rwanda was ranked first globally in Government success in ICT promotion to drive social and economic transformation. This is according to the Global Information Technology Report (GITR) compiled by World Economic Forum (WEF), which indicated that Rwanda scored 6.2 points out of 7.
The report was drawn from the iteration of the Networked Readiness Index which assesses the factors, policies and institutions that enable countries to leverage ICTs for increased competitiveness and well-being.
While Government has made tremendous strides in developing the ICT sector, there is definitely much more that can be learnt from Rwanda considering that the sector provides a wide range of growth opportunities such as e-commerce and e-services, mobile technologies, applications development and automation as well as establishing a regional centre for the training of top quality ICT professionals and research.
Tourism, infrastructure development and rural electrification programme are also other areas the two countries can share lessons and experiences on for mutual benefits.
While Zambia has struggled to keep the momentum of ‘the Make Zambia Clean and Health campaign’, Rwanda is a shining example in this area with Kigali at one time scooping the world and continent’s cleanest city awards. This is therefore an opportunity to get an insight into Rwanda’s strategy in keeping its cities clean.
Apart from the learning experiences, the visit will no doubt strengthen ties between the two countries.