In the “land of a thousand hills” – Foreign Minister Baerbock travels to Rwanda

Foreign Minister Baerbock and her Rwandan counterpart Vincent Biruta

Foreign Minister Baerbock and her Rwandan counterpart Vincent Biruta, © Florian Gaertner/AA/photothek.de

17.12.2023 - Article

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will be in Rwanda from 17 to 19 December for the opening of the first mRNA vaccine plant. Talks with her counterpart and representatives of civil society are also on the agenda.

Vaccines from Africa for Africa

At the opening of the mRNA vaccine plant near the capital Kigali
At the opening of the mRNA vaccine plant near the capital Kigali© Florian Gaertner/AA/photothek.de

The COVID‑19 pandemic brought home to us all how interconnected the world is. And it also made clear that we have a responsibility to support people on the African continent in developing their own vaccine production. The focus of Foreign Minister Baerbock’s visit will therefore be the opening of a BioNTech production plant near the capital Kigali. In future, up to 50 million doses of mRNA vaccine are to be manufactured there every year – in Africa, for Africa. The long-term goal is to also produce mRNA vaccines against tuberculosis, malaria or HIV one day. A robust international health architecture is a core priority of the EU Global Gateway initiative. This initiative forms the framework within which the EU and its member states are strengthening sustainable and reliable partnerships around the world through investment, for example in education, transport, infrastructure and energy security.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock:

The road to a fair international health architecture is not a short-distance race, but a team marathon. That is why Team Europe supports the goal of Africa’s own vaccine production – from conception to injection. Today, only one in 100 of the vaccine doses administered in Africa is actually produced there; by 2040, this figure is set to be 60 times higher.

For stability in the region

In Rwanda’s neighbouring country, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there have recently been repeated outbreaks of violence, which have had an impact on the entire region. The fighting has already driven many millions of people from their homes. It is an example of re‑ignited conflicts in the shadow of Russia’s war of aggression. The German Government is actively calling for de‑escalation and a path towards political processes. This, too, will be discussed during Foreign Minister Baerbock’s talks in Kigali.

Life after the genocide

Foreign Minister Baerbock at the Kigali Genocide Memorial 
Foreign Minister Baerbock at the Kigali Genocide Memorial© Florian Gaertner/AA/photothek.de

The watershed event in Rwanda’s recent history was the genocide against the Tutsi. From April to July 1994, it is estimated that almost a million people in Rwanda were murdered, mainly Tutsi but also Hutu and Twa who showed their opposition to the ethnically motivated violence.

Not even the UN peacekeeping troops stationed in the country at the time were able to stop the brutal killing. They reduced rather than increased their presence during the violence. While in Kigali, Foreign Minister Baerbock will commemorate the victims of the genocide:

In 1994, humanity stared into the abyss in the face of the genocide against the Tutsi. Today, the joint remembrance of the whole world is a never-ending mission to never allow this to happen again – each and every day anew.


Top of page