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DPM Tharman concludes visit to Kenya, Rwanda to deepen engagements in Africa

DEPUTY Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam recently concluded meetings with government leaders in Kenya and Rwanda from June 12-15, as part of Singapore’s deepening engagements in the growing Sub-Saharan Africa region.

During the visit, Mr Tharman, who is also the Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, called on President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta at the State House in Mombasa on June 15. He and President Kenyatta discussed ways to deepen bilateral cooperation in port operations, aviation, fintech, 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 Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Dr 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.

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

Mr Tharman visited Rwanda from june 13 to 14, where he called on Prime Minister  Edouard Ngirente. He also met  key Rwandan leaders including Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Trade and Industry Vincent Munyeshyaka, and Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda 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.