President Paul Kagame on Tuesday, May 23, said there has been progress on current construction works at the new international airport in Bugesera district, citing that with the current pace, there could be something up and running in 2024.
Kagame was speaking in Doha, Qatar, during a chat with Bloomberg TV's Jennifer Zabasajja, Chief Africa Correspondent, at the 3rd Qatar Economic Forum underway in the Gulf country.
At the forum, which brought together Heads of State and Government, CEO's of international institutions, leading global investors and other stakeholders, Kagame hailed Rwanda's strategic partnership with Qatar and other countries in the quest for development and cooperation.
On the aviation front, he said that Rwanda continues to cordially partner with a leading airline, Qatar Airways.
In particular, Kagame pointed to the new international airport that is under construction in Bugesera district, which he said that both countries are partnering to see tangible results by the end of the first or second quarter in 2024.
The airport is expected to be fully operational by 2026.
"We've done all that with negotiations, and we are actually implementing what we have agreed upon. We have been partnering in the airline, but also in the airport that we are jointly investing in. Work is in progress," he added, "We've gone a long way."
When Zebassaja pressed on the timelines, Kagame reiterated, "We're just trying to speed it up to make sure that we are ready, up and running in a short time, by the end of the year we should be around 70 percent", he said.
Kagame said that the national carrier RwandAir, which currently operates 24 routes, is already growing and strong.
President Kagame reiterated the importance of cooperation with countries that are already advanced and their role in investing in developing countries, pointing out that no country can manage to do it on its own, especially for small countries like Rwanda.
"You need to have a vision of what you want to do or be and then forge these partnerships," he said, adding that Qatar is one of strongest partners Rwanda and Africa have.
"For us, there are key areas we look at when we are trying to make these investments. We are looking at market leaders in different areas," President Kagame said, explaining what Rwanda looks at when building partnerships with different countries.
President Kagame also spoke about the UK-Rwanda Immigration Partnership and the reason behind it, which was to resolve a global migration crisis, with a safer alternative that would save lives but said people had the right to interpret it the way they did but pointed out that its success largely depends on how the UK handles it.
"We did not really beg anybody to work with us or to send migrants to Rwanda. It's an idea that was developed to solve a problem. And migrants issues are about human capital gaps that exist and have these movements but the origin can also be instability in different parts of the world,"
"The partnership, therefore, was forged around saying how do we address this problem? And there came a development partnership around that, which would mean resettling migrants who need to settle down and have the freedom to do what they want to do in places where they are stable," President Kagame said.
The Forum is being held under the patronage of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Through a series of keynote interviews, panel discussions, and interactive workshops, the 2023 Forum will explore the latest trends in finance, energy, healthcare, and technology, and examine their potential to drive future growth.