On the evening of January 25, 2024, the Kigali International Airport was bustling with a significant diplomatic event. President Mamadi Doumbouya of Guinea, along with First Lady Lauriane Doumbouya, arrived for a three-day visit, warmly received by Rwandan President Paul Kagame. This meeting underscores a concerted effort to fortify the bonds of friendship and cooperation between Rwanda and Guinea.
President Doumbouya, officially invited by President Kagame, sees this visit as an opportunity to deepen diplomatic and economic relations between Kigali and Conakry. The visit, highlighted by the Guinean Presidency as fruitful, signifies a pivotal moment in the collaborative relationship between the two nations.
It’s important to recall that President Kagame had visited Guinea from April 17-18, 2023, a trip that culminated in the establishment of a joint cooperation committee. This committee focuses on diverse areas including agriculture, ICT, education, mining, and security.
“The visit of President Mamadi Doumbouya to Rwanda is particularly significant in continuing the cooperation between our two nations, presenting a unique opportunity to strengthen our economic and diplomatic ties,” read a section of the official statement.
This diplomatic rapprochement aims at bolstering bilateral cooperation, fostering investments, and promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in both countries.
President Doumbouya, who came to power through a military coup, represents a trend seen in several other former French colonies in West Africa. President Kagame, facing tensions with neighboring countries, is reportedly seeking to establish relations with other African nations, many of which are geographically distant and were under French influence, in an effort to diversify Rwanda’s regional alliances.
In West Africa, President Kagame is often revered by many leaders and a section of the population for his stance against France in the years following the genocide. Kagame’s governance, frequently praised by supporters through skillful use of propaganda, misinformation, and fake news, polarizes opinions but positively influences many in West Africa, who are weary of corruption and poverty.
In an unusual move, President Doumbouya exchanged his military uniform for a civilian suit during this visit, sparking speculation about his future political ambitions post-transition.