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Expatriate Rwandans Discuss Future

December 27, 2001

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) _ Rwandans who live abroad gathered Thursday with leaders of their homeland to find a way to play a role in the economic rebirth of the small central African country devastated by genocide.

The expatriates said they hoped to further the country’s interests from their positions abroad, said Joseph Kalemera, Rwanda’s ambassador to South Africa and co-organizer of the five-day convention attended by about 300 people.

They are also anxious to know what the government is willing to do to help them invest at home, said Dennis Karangwa, chairman of the Rwanda Southern Africa Alliance, a non-governmental organization behind the convention.

``We want to create opportunities for ourselves within the Rwandan economy,″ Karangwa said. ``We want to be participants and do not want to be left out.″

There are investment opportunities in tourism, agriculture and transfer of technology, he said.

Rwanda is stepping up economic reforms following success in the sale of 40 percent of enterprises earmarked for privatization, a process seen as key to reviving the economy.

More than 100,000 Rwandan nationals live outside the country, Karangwa said. Most are minority Tutsis who have fled repeated attacks on their community by the Hutu majority since the Belgian territory gained independence in 1962.

More than 500,000 people, most of them Tutsis, were killed in the 100-day slaughter in 1994, a campaign orchestrated by the Hutu extremist government.

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