It is obvious that the change of responsibility from the Ministry of the Interior to the State Chancellery emphasises the importance of the Rwanda Partnership, especially by putting it on an equal footing with European partnerships such as with Burgundy (France) and Opole (Poland). The variety of tasks and projects that the citizens have realised in the partnership over the past 40 years most closely reflects the diverse responsibilities of the ministries that this has brought about.
“Starting with the visit of the Federal President to Neuwied in 2009, on the occasion of Rwanda Day and with the adoption of the Neuwied Declaration (PDF in German) at that time, a dynamic development in the partnership can be seen to this day,” says the Chairperson of the Karaba Neuwied Partnership Association, Sybille Hass-Machill. This development can also be seen in the many positive developments for the people in the partner country Rwanda after the genocide in 1994, the “zero hour”.
The focal points of the partnership, which Minister President Malu Dreyer named during her visit on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the partnership, will determine the future of the partnership on an equal footing. These are scientific exchanges with universities, technology exchanges and student exchanges, joint projects on climate change with companies, institutions and with direct civic engagement, in the proven manner projects in education, training, gender equality, youth exchanges, and much more.
This is the clearest sign of a shift from development aid to partnership-based cooperation at eye level. It is noticeable that finally economic cooperation will take on a whole new significance. Biontech is just one example. But it is also about the logical development from the inter-company craft centres of the past years to business cooperation and exchange of skilled workers in various fields. Several business trips – organised and successfully supported by the Ministry of Economy – and the exchange with Rwandan small and medium-sized enterprises that started with them in the past eight years have laid the foundation for this new complementary development in the partnership.
“The partnership should remain the ‘umbrella brand’ for all associations, initiatives, institutions and companies. The state should provide a supportive and in every respect promotional framework for this on the ground in Rwanda, also in the future. Many German states envy us for this possibility of direct cooperation below the threshold of the German government’s foreign and development policy. This is a valuable achievement from the founding period of the partnership in 1982, and it must also determine the future,” says Dietmar Rieth, vice-chairman of the partnership association KARABA Neuwied.
This is all part of the implementation of Agenda 2030, which Rwanda and Germany have declared as a goal. “It corresponds to the joint responsibility of citizens and the state government for a sustainable shaping of our world,” said Sybille- Hass-Machill.
As an association in Neuwied, KARABA-Neuwied e.V. has pursued and promoted this approach since its foundation in 2004 and has also provided practical support in numerous projects. Those who want to support the association, its goals and activities, can find more information at www.karaba-neuwied.de.
Press release of KARABA-Neuwied e.V.