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RWANDA: Kagame meets President Xi

Two leaders agree industrial cooperation

By Independent Team & Agencies

President Paul Kagame wants Chinese companies to collaborate with their Rwandan counterparts to build industries in Rwanda. The President expressed the wish at a recent meeting with the Chinese leader, President Xi Jiping, when he visited Beijing.

Kagame encouraged Chinese companies to invest in Rwanda’s manufacturing sector.

“China has a special place in our foreign relations. Building prosperity and uplifting your people, your solid ideological grounding and respect for African partners.”

President Kagame praised the existing good relations between Rwanda and China and the contribution of China to Rwanda; especially in the infrastructure development sector.

Kagame said: “Rwanda appreciates the good bilateral relations and cooperation we share, and China’s contribution in various sectors in Rwanda, especially in infrastructure and development projects has been useful. China’s commitment to Africa is welcome, and together with partner states on our continent, Rwanda looks forward to engaging fully in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation process.”

Kagame mentioned agriculture, minerals, tourism, and infrastructure as major areas for Chinese companies to target.

“I was unable to attend the Africa-China summit at Johannesburg, but the prime minister who participated was able to convey to us the good atmosphere and substantive exchanges that characterized the summit,” Kagame said.

In December 2015, at the Johannesburg Summit in South Africa, Xi announced 10 major China-Africa cooperation plans for the following three years, backed by $60 billion, including interest-free loans and lending with preferential terms.

The two heads of state agreed to take the implementation of outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) as opportunity to actively make innovation in cooperation models and comprehensively deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, so as to elevate the level of bilateral strategic cooperation.

In Mid-March, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during the top legislature’s annual session in Beijing that China wants to fast-track implementation of projects it funds, especially in industrialisation, trade, and culture. He said China has already implemented or arranged nearly half of the $60 billion package.

So far this year, a Chinese company; China Road and Bridge Corp was involved in building a 36-km road expansion project in Kigali.

China has pumped $60 million into Rwanda in the agriculture sector and rural development programs, with an additional $20 million channeled to solar projects to bring electricity to schools and health centers.

China is also involved in upgrading the hospital in Kibungo district to increase its capacity from 242 beds to more than 1,200. The ongoing rehabilitation and expansion of the Masaka district hospital, also funded by China, will raise the number of beds from 140 to 1,356.

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