Rwandan President Paul Kagame has called for solidarity between African and Caribbean countries saying they must work together to advance their common positions and interests globally.
Addressing a joint sitting of the Jamaican Houses of Parliament on Thursday, the Rwandan president, who is wrapping up a three-day state visit on Friday, said Africa and the Caribbean must open direct lines of communication.
Kagame takes over the chairmanship of the 54-member Commonwealth grouping when it meets in the African country in June, and his comments come amid a split within the regional integration movement over the appointment of a secretary general of the Commonwealth.
The incumbent, Dominica-born Dame Patricia Scotland, faces a challenge from Jamaica, which announced last week that its Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, would seek the post, a position that has forced regional leaders to meet urgently. session without fully resolving the issue.
“In our diversity, we share common traits. Our people are resilient, creative and, as our shared history shows, also indestructible. This mutual recognition should have concrete and tangible effects. We belong to a number of important multilateral bodies, including the Commonwealth and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States,” Kagame told lawmakers.
“Africa and the Caribbean should work together to advance common positions in those bodies where our interests align, as they often do. Climate change and global health are two urgent examples,” he said, adding that the two regions are beyond the relationship between them through intermediaries.
“Our diplomats tend to meet in London, New York or Geneva. I have no problem with that, but we could do it another way – straight.
Paul Kagame said it was “high time” for Africa and the Caribbean to work together in a “direct and sustained” manner both through representative regional organizations – CARICOM and the African Union – and bilaterally .
He also wants direct exchanges between peoples, especially for young people and entrepreneurs.
Before his departure on Friday, President Kagame met Prime Minister Andrew Holness for bilateral talks.
Holness said Kagame’s visit provided an opportunity to deepen the collaboration between the two countries.
“We think we have a lot to share and learn from each other. Through our exchanges, we would have had the opportunity to advance technical cooperation in several areas.
“We look forward to advancing our economic relationship through increased trade and investment prospects, particularly in logistics, special economic zone agriculture and manufacturing,” he told parliament. .