Modi’s visit kicked off in Rwanda on July 23 before heading to Uganda for a two-day visit which started today. The tour will end in South Africa on July 27, where he will be attending the BRICS summit in Johannesburg. BRICS is an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Modi last visited Uganda in 2007 when he was the chief minister of Gujarat. However, the trip marks the first bilateral visit by an Indian prime minister since 1997. Uganda has over 30,000 Ugandans of Indian origin, many of them from Gujarat.
His programme in Uganda includes a ceremonial reception at State House, Entebbe, a one-to-one meeting with President Yoweri Museveni, restricted and delegation level talks and participation at an India-Uganda joint business event.
Modi will also address the Ugandan Parliament, the first time an Indian prime minister will do so, and also announce lines of credit of USD 205 million (759 billion Shillings) for electricity transmission and agriculture projects, according to a statement released by TS Tirumurti, the Indian secretary for Economic Relations.
“We expect to extend two lines of credit for the first time to Uganda – USD 141 million (523 billion Shillings) for electricity lines and substations and USD 64 million (237 billion Shillings) for agriculture and dairy production,” the statement reads.
On the first leg of the visit, India extended USD 200 million (741 billion Shillings) to Rwanda for its economic development, signed a defence cooperation agreement and announced that it will soon open a High Commission in Kigali.
India also handed over 200 cows for Kagame’s pet social protection scheme, Girinka, through which poor families are given dairy cows, and the first female calf is gifted to the neighbour.
Modi is also the first ever Indian prime minister to visit Rwanda. According to T.S Tirumurti, India views Rwanda as an extremely important partner in Africa because apart from being the Chair of African Union right now but they have also been, in many ways, gateway to Eastern Africa”.
He says Rwanda, is now viewed on par with traditional ‘friends’ like Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya.
Modi’s arrival in the Rwandan capital took place a little more than 24 hours after Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit. Rwandan president Paul Kagame had met Xi Jinping at the airport to welcome him to the country – the first such visit by a Chinese head of state.
Modi’s visit on the continent will end in South Africa on July 25, where a special outreach session for BRICS leaders will be held with their counterparts from Togo, Zambia, Namibia, Senegal, Gabon, Ethiopia, Angola, Uganda and Rwanda.