Home Diplomacy How I Use Digital Diplomacy To Strengthen Bilateral Relations- Rwandan Envoy, Stanislas Kamanzi
How I Use Digital Diplomacy To Strengthen Bilateral Relations- Rwandan Envoy, Stanislas Kamanzi

How I Use Digital Diplomacy To Strengthen Bilateral Relations- Rwandan Envoy, Stanislas Kamanzi

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By Victor Gotevbe & Fiona Freddy

Ambassador Stanislas Kamanzi

Ambassador Stanislas Kamanzi is Rwandan Ambassador to Nigeria. In this interview with DIPLOMATIC WATCH, Kamanzi talks on the Rwandan – Nigerian relations, even as he bares his mind on how he effectively uses Social Media to communicate about Rwanda to Nigeria and the rest of the world. Excerpt:

What is the state of relations between Rwanda and Nigeria?

I would say that the two countries enjoy very strong bilateral relations and this has been so from time immemorial, whereby our leaders at the highest level have been interacting and consulting on matters relevant to the two countries but also relevant to the upliftment of Africa.
Many programmes relevant to the transformation of the continent have been happening with concerted efforts between our leaders for quite some time now especially in the past years where our President, Paul Kagame and successive Nigerian Presidents have been in touch on a regular basis.

But apart from that we have specific sectors of cooperation. For instance in air transport. You may be aware that based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed between our Civil Aviation Authorities, our national carrier Rwanda Air operates flights 7 days a week between Kigali and Lagos, which is a channel that has contributed to opening up for those in Nigeria to reach Rwanda and Rwandans to come to Nigeria as well, and this goes with increase of trade and exploration of other opportunities.

Then we also have the voluntary corps of Nigeria (Technical Aid Corps) that has been active in Rwanda starting from the re-construction phase of Rwanda, following the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.Then our two Countries also cooperate in the sectors of Defence and Security, including student exchange programs. The same applies to education. We have a number of Rwandans who attend Nigerian higher learning institutions here. And all that is bound to grow, to expand to other sectors, as well including trade, sharing  experiences. Like in the oil sector for instance, Nigeria has made significant strides which Rwanda still at the exploration stage may significantly benefit from.

To sum up, I would say that bonds between our countries have strengthened in terms of cooperation. To seal this, starting from 2011, our countries decided to open resident diplomatic representations both on Abuja and Kigali.

As a serving ambassador in Nigeria, what are the areas you think should be improved upon in this relations that you are talking about?

One thing I want to comment on, beyond Nigeria and Rwanda from the perspective of economic integration of the continent of Africa. For instance, in the sector of trade, our countries don’t trade very much not necessarily due to distance or natural geographical barriers, but due to lack of effective connectivity.

African countries have self- imposed unnecessary barriers that kill business opportunities across the continent. Removal of those barriers would permit expansion of trade and emergence of related services such as banking, insurance, brokerage that certainly contribute to economic growth.

Ease of doing business reforms in Rwanda including facilitation of entry to African Countries passports holders is the development of a national carrier which has contributed to attracting foreign investment during the last decades more than ever before. You may be aware that a number of Nigerian companies currently operate in Rwanda and these include Bamks(Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Access Bank, Ecobank); Insurance (SONARWA/IGI), Telecoms{HIS Rwanda.

Rwanda Envoy to Nigeria and Publisher of Diplomatic Watch just after the interview at his office

Do we have any Rwanda company in Nigeria?

For the time being we don’t have a full-fledged Rwandan company that is based in the Nigeria apart from our national carrier that is present in Nigeria. But there may be Rwandans that have stakes in Nigerian companies.

What is the volume of trade between the two countries?

Something around $40million for the time being, but it has to be elevated to another level.

For the past 2 years, how many Nigerians have gone to Rwanda for some training courses?

Just a number of them who attended courses relevant to Peace and security, as we have had a number of them coming from Rwanda for the same here in Nigeria.

What are the areas where Nigerians can benefit in Rwanda?

It is not only Nigerians but to all foreign investors coming to Rwanda. Rwanda happens to be the second country in Africa after Mauritius in terms of ease of doing business. This goes definitely with numerous facilitations offered. It takes only 6hours to register a company in Rwanda.

There are also other incentives in terms of tax incentives depending on the strategic nature of the investment; facilitation in repatriation of your gains, issuance of work permits for specialised labour and manpower, and so on and so forth.

 

We have seen just few diplomats who tweet, So, it is quite unique to see a diplomat who is always communicating almost every other hour. We would like to know the motivation behind your use of social media channels?

You are right to say, it is quite personal. Some people’s propensity to using social media remains low. But at the same time it is part of the duties of a diplomat to be able to communicate anything relevant to his country. If you want your country to be known, if you want whatever is happening in your country to be communicated to the general public, social media permit you to not only reach out to majority of the public of your host country extension but even beyond. Doing so also  helps you to link up with others, When you communicate, others communicate to you. That way you get information, you get also their views regarding whatever you communicate which will help to fine tune a number of things.
So, it can only be useful to do that and in this era. I don’t find any other way one can do without resorting to the availability of these easy tools for communicating.

 

 

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Victor Gotevbe

Victor Gotevbe is Publisher and Editor in Chief of Diplomatic Watch powered by Conduit Communications Limited, where he serves as CEO.

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