Rwanda seeks India's support for UN seat
New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) Projecting its democratic and economic transformation on the 50th anniversary of its independence, Rwanda, a rising economy in east Africa, Friday sought India's backing for its bid for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
"We count on India's support in Rwanda's quest for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council," Rwanda's High Commissioner Williams Nkurunziza said here. He was speaking at an event organised by the Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA) at Sapru House to celebrate the golden jubilee of Rwanda's independence.
Pitching for a rotating seat in the UNSC next year, the Rwandan envoy highlighted Rwanda's democratic credentials, the country's economic transformation, its contribution to global peacekeeping operations and positive contribution to the Security Council debates.
"Rwanda is one of the six largest contributors to peacekeeping forces," said the envoy while mapping the turnaround of the country from the dark days of genocide in the 1990s - in which nearly a million people were killed in inter-community violence - to its emergence as one of the most vibrant economies growing at the rate of eight per cent for over a decade.
He attributed the success story of Rwanda to strong leadership by President Paul Kagame and the replacement of the politics of hatred and exclusion to the politics of reconciliation and inclusion.
Taking note of the resurgence of Rwanda, Ravi Bangar, joint secretary (in charge of east and south Africa) in the external affairs ministry, spoke about India's growing relations with the land-locked African country and assured that India will stand shoulder-to-shoulder in its journey of national renewal.
He pointed out that how Rwanda has left its history of discord behind to forge a dynamic country which now boasts the highest percentage of female parliamentarians in the world. India is setting up a pan-African Entrepreneurship Development Centre in Rwanda.
Rajiv Bhatia, the director-general of ICWA, also underlined India's burgeoning relations with Rwanda and said the golden jubilee celebrations provide an opportunity for celebrating achievements and assessing challenges in a realistic manner.
The Rwandan envoy said his country is looking to India's skills, expertise and investments in virtually every sector, including agriculture, IT, infrastructure, ICT, education to transform an agrarian economy into an industrial economy. We will continue to encourage the private sector to invest in Rwanda, he said.
Rwanda, which was ravaged by a bloody civil war nearly two decades ago, has transformed into one of top investor-friendly countries in Africa. The World Bank's Doing Business Report (2010) ranks Rwanda as the top pro-business reformer in the world. It also ranks Rwanda top in East Africa in terms of ease of doing business.
Rwanda has projected itself as a the strategic launching pad into the East and Central African market of nearly 200 million people with a combined GDP of over $100 billion.
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