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U.S., Rwanda sign investment agreement

Feb. 19, 2008 at 3:23 PM   |   Comments

KIGALI, Rwanda, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- The presidents of the United States and Rwanda signed a trade agreement Tuesday, saying the pact urges U.S. companies to consider Rwanda a good investment.

The bilateral treaty "sends a signal to U.S. companies that they ought to consider investing in Rwanda," said U.S. President George Bush, in Rwanda as part of his African visit.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame understands capital investment "is much more effective in the long term than just grant money," Bush said, because attracting capital leads to job creation.

"The bilateral investment treaty that we have just signed is further testimony to your commitment and the good will of the American people," Kagame said, noting similarities between the two countries. "We believe in investing in our people. We share a commitment to expanding our people's economic and democratic aspirations."

Among other things, the treaty provides legal protection for investors from both countries, including non-discriminatory treatment, transparency and governance, and arbitration mechanisms, Bush said. While not guaranteeing a profit, he said, the treaty provides "a guarantee you'll be treated fairly."

In 2007, U.S. imports from Rwanda were valued at $13 million and U.S. exports to Rwanda totaled $60 million, White House figures indicated.

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