Singapore deepens ties with Kenya, Rwanda

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The Straits Times | 18 June 2018

Singapore deepens ties with Kenya, Rwanda

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam concluded meetings with government leaders in Kenya and Rwanda from last Tuesday to Friday, as part of Singapore’s deepening engagements in the growing Sub-Saharan Africa region.

During the visit, Mr Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, called on Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta at the State House in Mombasa last Friday.

He and President Kenyatta discussed ways to deepen bilateral cooperation in port operations, aviation, financial technology and skills development, and Kenya’s ambitious plans for housing development. They also discussed issues in public-sector reform.

Mr Tharman also met several other Kenyan government officials during his visit, including Deputy President William Ruto, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Monica Juma, Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning Henry K. Rotich, Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Adan Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure Development James Macharia, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala and Central Bank of Kenya governor Patrick Njoroge.

To help strengthen bilateral economic links and support the growing number of Singapore companies interested in Kenya, the Enterprise Singapore Nairobi Overseas Centre was launched during Mr Tharman’s visit.

Both countries also signed a bilateral investment treaty and an avoidance of double taxation agreement.

Mr Tharman visited Rwanda from last Wednesday to Thursday, where he called on Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente. He also met key Rwandan leaders, including Infrastructure Minister Claver Gatete, Finance and Economic Planning Minister Uzziel Ndagijimana, Trade and Industry Minister Vincent Munyeshyaka and National Bank of Rwanda governor John Rwangombwa.

They explored how Singapore and Rwanda could deepen cooperation and technical assistance in a range of areas, including public-sector management, aviation safety, land use planning, water management, skills development and domestic financial market development.

Mr Ngirente also conveyed the interest of President Paul Kagame, who was in Russia at the time of Mr Tharman’s visit, in extending Rwanda’s close partnership with Singapore.

Both Mr Tharman and Mr Ngirente witnessed the signing of the bilateral investment treaty and the bilateral air services agreement.

Mr Tharman and Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon also laid a wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in commemoration of the more than one million Rwandans killed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.