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Progress In Rwanda

Progress In Rwanda
Progress In Rwanda

This year marks the fourteenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide -- the systematic murder of members of Rwanda's Tutsi minority and the moderates of its Hutu majority. The United Nations estimates that eight-hundred thousand to one-million people were killed in the Rwandan genocide.

On a recent trip there, President George W. Bush visited the Kigali Memorial Center. "This is a moving place that can't help but shake your emotions to your very foundation," said Mr. Bush. "It reminds me that we must not let these kinds of actions take place."

In a meeting with President Bush, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, said, Rwanda is a very different country than it was fourteen years ago. "The Rwandan people," he said, "refused to give up hope, and we have instead embarked on the task of healing, reconstruction, and development." President Bush and President Kagame signed a bilateral investment treaty. The agreement will provide legal protections for investors in the U.S. and Rwanda.

On the health front, immunization coverage in Rwanda has risen to ninety-five percent. Thanks to American support, thousands of Rwandan children and mothers are alive because of the U.S. AIDS relief program. Malaria has almost been eliminated in Rwanda. As part of the United States' Malaria initiative, the U.S. has distributed four-hundred fifty-thousand bed nets in Rwanda. The U.S. has also set a goal to provide indoor spraying in more than three-hundred fifty-thousand homes.

The United States has made available one-hundred million dollars to assist African nations willing to send peacekeeping troops to Darfur in Sudan. Rwanda was one of the first countries to offer its assistance. The U.S. has helped train more than seven-thousand Rwandan peacekeepers. The U.S. has provided more than seventeen million dollars to equip and transport these forces into Darfur. Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, and Malawi have also offered their assistance.

Rwanda, said President Bush, has made a remarkable recovery after a devastating genocide. Rwandan President Kagame thanked the U.S. for supporting Rwanda's development through investments in health, conflict resolution, and promotion of economic investment. Ultimately, he said, it will be up to Africans to take ownership of their own development challenges.