SWITZERLAND: Trade volumes between Rwanda and Switzerland could increase thanks to a new set of agreements signed between the two countries on Monday in Bern, touching different areas of cooperation. Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo and Swiss Federal Councilor Didier Burkhalter of Switzerland signed the agreements on behalf of their respective countries.
One of the pacts signed was the aviation agreement, which according to experts is an important step towards enhancing connectivity, trade and tourism between the two states. Speaking to The New Times, aviation expert Alex Macheras said the agreement if implemented, could mean more business for the national carrier, RwandAir, among other benefits. “It could also mean that the two countries are able to start more negotiations with regards open sky policy which could give RwandAir the fifth freedom, he added. In aviation lingo, fifth freedom is referred to as the right for an airline to fly between two foreign countries. The agreement comes a few days when Rwanda is due to commence its commercial flights to London through Gatwick, the second busiest airport in the European country. Meanwhile the two countries agreed to expand their cooperation to promote vocational training to boost the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Programme (TVET).
The agreement means Switzerland will increase its support in this area as part of its new strategy for the Great Lakes region covering Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to a statement, five training centres will be established in close cooperation with the government of Rwanda to train masons, electricians, carpenters, welders, plumbers, mechanics, and professionals in the hospitality sector. The ministers also discussed developing closer political and economic relations. Specifically, the two ministers decided to expand relations in areas of shared interest, in particular at the multilateral level and in conflict prevention. “Today’s meeting is an opportunity to review the situation and open up a new phase in our countries’ relations,” said the Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter.