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Rwanda’s Kagame in France to plead for cancellation of travel advisory

Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame has headed to France to plead the travel advisory to be recalled. (PHOTO/FILE)

KIGALI/ PARIS – President Paul Kagame, among other heads of state and officials, is in French capital to meet President Macron ahead of the Viva Technology Conference dubbed,“VivaTech”

VivaTech is the world’s rendezvous for top tech firms and startups from across the world.

The annual international technology conference is dedicated to innovation-driven enterprises and start-ups.

Mr. Kagame and President Macky Sall of Senegal will share Africa’s progress in digital economy in a fireside chat moderated by Chairman of Publicis Groupe, Maurice Lévy.

Mr. Kagame is expected to convince his counterpart Mr. Macron on the ‘calm’ situation in Rwanda, after the French embassy in Rwanda issued a travel advisory discouraging its citizens from visiting the area citing recent incidents in and around the Nyungwe Forest.”

“…it is not advisable to trek through the Nyungwe Forest and cross the forest through National Road 6 to or from Nyamagabe,” read the statement that has since cost Rwanda millions of dollar in tourism revenue.
Besides France, Canada also issued a travel advisory to Rwanda requesting her citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution in Rwanda due to the ongoing insecurity in some neighbouring countries.”

Rwandan media outlet, CommandPost, in March, 2019, reported that Rwandan opposition rebel fighters National Liberation Front (FLN) had dislodged government forces in the Northern district of Nyamasheke District.

“From Friday, the 15th of March 2019, our forces are in full control of the Northern regions of Nyungwe forest specifically around areas bordering Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru sectors,” read a statement sanctioned by Maj. Callixte N. Sankara the FLN Spokesperson.

RWANDA: Govt forces flee as FNL rebel fighters capture Nyamasheke

But, the Rwandan government maintains that the country is safe for tourists.

“Even with the current travel advisories, the country is still very safe as the risk level barely changed. It is at the same level as France and the UK,” said Foreign Minister Richard Sezibera, adding, “In fact, the numbers of tourists visiting Nyungwe Forest and Volcanoes National Park have kept increasing.”

Tourism is among Rwanda’s top foreign exchange earners, fetching $438 million in 2017 up from $404 million the previous year.

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