Rwanda, China Outline New Cooperation Areas.
On 17th March, President Kagame held a meeting with Jinping, where they discussed different avenues of cooperation between the two nations, on the first day of his two-day official visit.
President Kagame is accompanied by First Lady Jeannette Kagame and top government officials.
Among the areas the two countries agreed to work closely in include encouraging Chinese firms to partner with Rwandan companies in manufacturing and other areas.
This will be with an aim to boost Made-in-Rwanda products and help build capacity in production which could see the special economic zone optimized.
The partnership will also extend to modernization of agriculture by strengthening personal exchanges and technical training.
The technical training will see teams of experts work with local agriculture stakeholders on the exploitation on tropical crops, cash crops, aqua farming and value addition of farmers’ output.
The two countries also agreed to work closely in infrastructure development through training in hydro and rural electrification as well as financing to boost the development of the transport and energy sectors.
Other areas where Rwanda and China intend to partner in strengthening bilateral ties include tourism development, defense and peacekeeping activities and cultivating deeper political and mutual trust.
Kagame said Rwanda appreciates warm ties with China as well as its contribution to national development in aspects such as infrastructure development.
He complimented China’s efforts to build prosperity and uplift its citizens and at the same time maintain ideological grounding and respect for African partners.
The President invited China for continued collaboration, especially in industrial development, and encouraged Chinese firms to consider entering the local manufacturing sector.
“Rwanda is consistently improving ease of doing business, an important component of our economic growth strategy is manufacturing. We wish to collaborate further on industrial development and encourage Chinese companies to invest in Rwanda’s manufacturing sector,” Kagame said.
Welcoming China’s commitment to work with Africa, the President said Rwanda was keen on continuous engagement in the Forum for China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
Kagame extended an invitation to President Jinping to visit Rwanda.
President Jinping said the decades long cooperation between the two countries ought to continue for the benefit of citizens of both countries.
The two countries have enjoyed relations for about 45 years with formal cooperation initiated in 1971.
Jinping paid tribute to Rwanda’s socio-economic recovery over the years, adding that China would like to see the same replicated across the continent.
Going forward, he said, China will continue to uphold principles of sincerity, affinity, good faith and result orientation as the two countries continue to work together as well as with the rest of the African continent.
China is one of Rwanda’s biggest sources of foreign direct investments, mainly in the manufacturing and real estate sectors.
Between 2013 and 2016, the Rwanda Development Board registered investments valued at about $113.6 million from China, which are estimated to have created over 1400 jobs.
Among the major investments include C&H Garment Ltd, which began operations in 2014 producing garments mostly for exports.
In 2016 alone, the firm’s exports to the US and China were valued at about Rwf1.057 billion.
Another major investment by a Chinese firm is New Century Investment Ltd, a joint venture with a Rwandan investor.
The project, valued at over $90 million, includes the building hosting Marriott Hotel and luxury apartments.
The country’s greatest support to Rwanda’s development process are in the form of concessional loans, grant aid, technical support in major projects as well as students’ scholarships in critical sectors such as health, education and technology.
In July last year, the two countries signed an agreement for a $76 million concessional loan for the upgrade of 54.56 kilometers of Kigali urban roads and a grant of about $42 million for the extension of Masaka hospital, both under the Forum for China Africa Cooperation.
The two projects are currently in progress.
An estimated 1,381 Rwandans live in China, with a majority of them being students in higher learning institutions.