Kigali – ESI visits Rwanda, meeting with president and senior officials to discuss resettlement

12 May 2024
Gerald with the Rwandan ministers of justice and foreign affairs. Photo: ESI
Gerald meets with the Rwandan ministers of justice and foreign affairs. Photo: ESI

Gerald Knaus travelled to Rwanda at the invitation of a delegation of senior politicians from Germany’s largest opposition party, the CDU. The delegation dealt intensively with the possibility of Rwanda serving as a future host for refugees arriving in Europe through a so-called Third Country Agreement.

During his visit, Gerald saw Rwanda’s immense diversity and great potential. He met with Rwandans from all strata of society, including political leaders, civil servants, tech entrepreneurs, farmers and refugees. Political meetings took place at the highest level, including with the ministers of justice and foreign affairs as well as with Rwandan president Paul Kagame and his team. Gerald noted in his meetings with Rwanda’s leaders that migration agreements with Europe could help Rwanda gain public and political support in Europe. This in turn could lead to increased European financial support, which would greatly help Rwanda accelerate its social and economic development.

Gerald travelled widely around the small country, roughly the same size as Northern Macedonia. Among other destinations, Gerald visited a refugee camp, where he met refugees from Libya and Congo who have already received asylum in Rwanda. In these discussions, Gerald heard how Rwanda is already very capable of humanely hosting refugees in accordance with international legal standards. Further visits during Gerald’s trip included trips around the Rwandan countryside and to the Rwandan Genocide memorial. Gerald noted the immense progress Rwanda has made since the 1994 genocide and the effort the country is making to progress even further. He saw how Rwanda has already put in place numerous successful social welfare programmes and has a very capable, tech-savvy youth; additional direct financial support for Rwanda would therefore have an immediate, broad impact on development in Rwanda.

A refugee deal with Rwanda thus presents an opportunity for a ‘win-win-win.’ Refugees will receive the dignified protection they deserve. Europe will be able to effectively control migration and reduce deaths in the Mediterranean. Rwanda has the potential to gain substantial development assistance and public support in its efforts to become one of Africa’s great success stories. Gerald left Rwanda convinced that there is a solution to the current migration question in Europe – solving it merely requires solutions based on facts, not prejudices.

Gerald meets with a local farmer

Gerald meets with a local farmer. Photo: ESI