By Dan Ngabonziza
Benin President Patrice Talon started a 3-day state visit to Rwanda this afternoon. It is expected that Benin President will visit Rwanda’s Special free trade zone and later visit Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
According to State House communique, President Kagame will later this evening host his counterpart at a state dinner.
The two countries enjoy bilateral ties, with a special focus on trade and investment between the two.
Early this year, Rwanda’s State Minister for Transport, Alexis Nzahabwanimana, signed an air transport deal with his Benin counterpart, which will see the two countries national carriers fly to each other’s destinations as a way of easing business and cooperation.
After signing the deal, Nzahabwanimana said that “We believe that the signing of the agreement on air transport is the major step in the cooperation between our two countries. Given the geographical situation of Rwanda and Benin, the only effective means of connectivity between the two countries is by air.”
The deal signed open space for Rwanda traders and investors to explore economic, social and cultural opportunities in Benin and vice versa.
Benin’s main imports food and fuel, and this could be an opportunity for Rwandan traders to enjoy the markets for food stuffs.
President Patrice Talon’s visit to Rwanda is a reciprocal of President Kagame’s visit to the West African nation, where he is recognized for the country’s rapid economic transformation.
In 2010, Kagame was appointed to the ‘Grand Croix’ of the National order of Benin by the President of Benin who is also the Grand Master of the Order.
Reading the citation, the Chancellor of the National Order of Benin said President Kagame’s visit to the country demonstrated his dedication and belief in the future of the African continent.
Before proceeding to decorate President Kagame with the medal, the Chancellor said: “it is my responsibility to tell you that the government of Benin appreciates your untiring efforts to pull Africa out of the long tunnel of darkness in which some would have the continent remain.”