Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi paid a State Visit to Republic of Rwanda (23-24 July), Republic of Uganda (24-25 July) and Republic of South Africa (25-27 July). This was the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Rwanda and the first visit by the Indian Prime Minister to Uganda in over 20 years. The visit to South Africa was in the context of BRICS Summit.
Prime Minister’s official engagement in Rwanda and Uganda included bilateral meetings with the Presidents, delegation level talks and meetings with the business and the Indian communities. In Rwanda, Prime Minister also visited the Genocide Memorial and participated in an event on “Girinka” (one cow per family), a national social protection scheme of Rwanda personally initiated by President Paul Kagame. Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister appreciated the Girinka Programme, and President Paul Kagame’s initiative in this regard. He said people in India too would be pleasantly surprised to see the cow being given such importance as a means of economic empowerment in villages, in faraway Rwanda. He spoke of the similarity in rural life in the two countries. He said that the Girinka Programme will help transform villages in Rwanda.
In Uganda, Prime Minister delivered a Keynote address at the Parliament of Uganda – the first Indian Prime Minister to address the Ugandan Parliament. The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, also addressed the Indian Community in Uganda. The event in Kampala was also attended by President Museveni of Uganda. In his address, the Prime Minister said he felt a sense of belonging with the Indian Community in Uganda. He said the presence of President Museveni at the event shows his love for the people of India, and the Indian Community in Uganda. He also thanked President Museveni and the people of Uganda, for the honour to address the Parliament of Uganda. The Prime Minister said that the relationship between India and Uganda is centuries old. He recalled the historical links between the two countries, including the struggle against colonialism, and the railway construction work in Uganda. He said several Indians have played a key role in Uganda’s politics as well.
In South Africa, the Prime Minister held bilateral meeting with the South African President and attended the BRICS Summit and other BRICS related meetings. Bilateral meetings with participating countries on the sidelines of BRICS meetings were also organised. Three MoUs were signed in South Africa. These includes, Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, India and the Agricultural Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa on Cooperation in Agricultural Research and Education, Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Government of the Republic of India regarding the Setting up of the “Gandhi Mandela Centre of Specialisation for Artisan Skills” in South Africa. Memorandum of Understanding between Indian Space Research Organisation and the South African National Space Agency on Cooperation in the Exploration and uses of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes.
India shares close, warm and friendly relations with Africa which are cemented by robust development partnership and a large presence of the Indian Diaspora. A number of agreements and MoUs in the areas of Defence, trade, culture, Agriculture and Dairy cooperation were signed during the visit.
Over the last few years, there has been a significant intensification of our engagement in various fields with African countries and there have been as many as 23 outgoing visits to Africa at the level of President, Vice President and Prime Minister in the last four years. Africa has been the top priority of India’s Foreign Policy. The visit of Prime Minister to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa further strengthened India’s relations with the African continent.