Israel and Rwanda are coming closer in diverse ways, from the RwandAir maiden flights launch to opening of the first Jewish synagogue in Kigali but now it was the opening of the Visa Service and Tour center which was officially opened in Kigali.
The aim is to enhance the Christian community Rwanda and Africa who usually trips to Israel as tourists but also businessmen all over the continent who want to extend businesses to Israel. This has come after few months RwandAir launched its maiden flight to the Israeli city of Tel Aviv,
According to Betty Mahugu, Founder and President of the Rwanda Israel Experience Transforming Africa, said, the Visa Center was launched in Rwanda as a model to other African countries. We have started in Rwanda but very soon we will open the Visa Center to other African countries.
She said Israel is the best partner with Africa and that the country seeks to influence the livelihoods of the continent in various ways. “It is thus, through this relationship that will make Rwanda the Singapore of Africa,” she says.
Betty Mahugu also hinted on the possibility of other countries in the accessing visas from Kigali instead of going to Ethiopia.
“We are in talks with the Israeli embassy in Rwanda to see if countries such as Burundi and regions of Bukavu and Goma in Congo can be allowed to get visas from Kigali and if works out, it will greatly help on the linking of the Israeli community to the rest of East Africa through Rwanda”.
“Israel is a top tourist destination for tourism and agriculture and the fact that the visa acquisition has been made through opening up of this centre, I honestly think this is going to be a big step in strengthening the relationship between the two countries,’’ she said.
Previously, many Rwandans that wanted to travel to Israel had to go Ethiopia but that is all in the past as one can get a visa right here in Kigali.
She also noted that the service of acquiring a visa for Rwandans will be so efficient in a sense that it will take only 7 days before one gets a visa but if the process is really smooth, one can get a visa before 7 days.
Ron Adam, the Israeli Ambassador to Rwanda said during the event that the opening of an Israeli embassy in Rwanda and launch of flights directly from Kigali to Tel Aviv have strengthened the bilateral ties between the two countries.
“I want to note that there has been cooperation between the two countries of late in activities such as tourism, trade and technology and now with the availability of Israeli visas for Rwandans closer, it can only get better,” he said.
Amb. Adam noted that Israel opened its embassy in Kigali on April 1 and began issuing visas on June 26 and as of today, a total of 250 visas have been issued to Rwandans who intend to visit the country for different reasons.
He further promised to make Rwanda more appealing to the Israelis after being impressed by his 5-month experience in Rwanda.
Jackeline Abatoni, a Pastor at United Christian Church, who had travelled to Israel frequently as a tourist, said, they only accessed group Visa whenever tripped to Israel. However, that she will be getting a personal Visa.
The Express News