President Paul Kagame last week arrived in Ouagadougou where he was invited by his counterpart, President Roch-Marc Christian Kaboré of Burkina Faso, for the 26th edition of the FESPACO.

On Friday Kagame attended a dinner hosted in his honor by his counterpart, during which he was awarded, alongside President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of Mali, the ‘Grand Croix de l’Etalon’.

“I wish to dedicate this recognition to the people of Rwanda, as we commemorate together, twenty-five years of a challenging, yet satisfying journey of recovery and nation-building,” he said while receiving the award.

The President extended appreciation to Burkina Faso for selecting Rwanda as the FESPACO Guest Country of Honor during the festival’s 50th anniversary.

FESPACO is a French acronym for Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou which aims to offer African film professionals a platform to establish working relations, exchange ideas, and promote their work.

“We are here to share, learn, and collaborate with the best cinematic talents on our continent. Indeed, there can be no better place for pan-African cultural exchange than FESPACO,” he noted.

“Through cinema, Africa has the power to conquer the world’s imagination and capture the strength and vulnerability of our collective struggles, with the full dignity they deserve. We should not fail to seize this opportunity,” he added.

The head of state indicated that Africa has the power to conquer the world’s imagination and capture the strength and vulnerability of African collective struggles with the full dignity they deserve, through cinema.

“We should not fail to seize this opportunity,” Kagame said.

This will however be achieved through working together to continuously support the creative industry, produce timeless and inspiring works of art, but also good quality jobs and prosperity on the continent, he said.

“This important mission could not be in better hands,than that of the President of Mali, our African Union Champion of Culture Heritage. We look forward to working together, to take Africa’s unique cultural endowment to greater heights,’ Kagame added.

The festival includes three films by Rwandans film makers: Icyasha by Clémentine Dusabejambo (short film); Mercy of the Jungle by Joel Karekezi (feature film); and Inanga, Keepers of the Tradition by Jean-Claude Uwiringiyimana (short documentary).

Rwanda is also participating through the National Ballet ‘Urukerereza’, and has a stand at the Marché International du Cinéma Africain (MICA) where it showcased different products by the Rwandan film industry, tourism sector and investment.

Espérance Nyirasafari, the Minister of Sports and Culture, who is in the Burkinabe capital, also thanked the West African country for inviting Rwanda to the festival.

Nyirasafari added that Rwanda has a seven-year strategy for the development of the film industry which will initially focus on developing human capital in the industry and promoting Rwanda as a filming destination.

According to her, having this critical mass requires synergies and participation in such activities like the festival in Burkina Faso.


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