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'200 cows, $200M lines of credit': Modi ends 2-day Rwanda visit

July 24, 2018 17:02 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi began the first leg of his three-nation Africa tour from Rwanda on Monday.

During his stay, Modi held wide-ranging talks with Rwanda's President Paul Kagame.


He also signed a defence cooperation agreement and India extended a USD 200 million lines of credit to the East African country for its economic development.

Here are some of the glimpses of his visit.

Photographs: Press Information Bureau

In an unusual gift, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented 200 cows to poor villagers in Rwanda to support President Paul Kagame's ambitious initiative for poverty reduction and tackling childhood malnutrition. The Girinka programme was initiated by President Kagame in 2006 to provide one cow per poor family for their nutritional and financial security. The word Girinka can be translated as 'may you have a cow' and describes a centuries-old cultural practice in Rwanda whereby a cow was given by one person to another, as a sign of respect and gratitude, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

The Girinka Programme was initiated by Kagame in response to the alarmingly high rate of childhood malnutrition and as a way to accelerate poverty reduction and integrate livestock and crop farming, the statement said. Speaking on the occasion, Modi said people in India too would be pleasantly surprised to see the cow being given such importance as a means of economic empowerment in villages, in faraway Rwanda.

The prime minister also visited the Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali which honours over 250,000 victims of Rwanda's mass killings in 1994. The memorial is the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the genocide against the Tutsi -- the principal ethnic community in Rwanda. It includes three permanent exhibitions, the largest of which documents the 1994 genocide.

There is also a children's memorial and an exhibition on the history of genocidal violence around the world. The education centre, gardens, and Genocide Archive of Rwanda contribute to a meaningful tribute to those who perished, and provide a powerful educational experience for visitors, according to the memorial's website.

The PM also addressed a gathering of the Indian community in Kigali. He said that in every part of the world, the Indian diaspora is distinguishing itself and making the countrymen proud of its accomplishments. "All over the world, the Indian diaspora is making a mark. They are our 'Rashtradoots'," the prime minister said.

Modi inspects the guard of honour on his arrival at Kigali International Airport. President of Rwanda Paul Kagame received him at the airport.

"I thank the wonderful people of Rwanda for their warmth and affection. This visit adds tremendous strength to closer economic and cultural relations between India and Rwanda," Modi tweeted just before his departure.