Xi arrives as Rwanda, China seek stronger ties
President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan of China arrived in Rwanda yesterday evening at 8:30 p.m to begin a two-day state visit.
The visiting president was received by his Rwandan counterpart, President Paul Kagame, and First Lady Jeannette Kagame accompanied by top government officials.
The visit aims to further strengthen diplomatic ties and cooperation between Rwanda and China. It follows President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame’s visit to China in March 2017.
“I wish to take this opportunity to convey the sincere greetings and best wishes of the Chinese people to the people of Rwanda,” the Chinese President said in a statement.
Under the leadership of President Kagame, he said, Rwanda has embarked on a path of development suited to its realities, achieved long-term social stability and fast economic growth, and is enjoying increasing influence in the region and beyond.
While in the country, President Xi is expected to witness the signing of 15 bilateral pacts between the two nations, among them, visa exemption for diplomatic and service passport holders, culture and scientific operations as well as Silk Road Economic Belt cooperation.
Other agreements to be signed today include strengthening cooperation in investment in e-commerce, cooperation in civil air transport, law enforcement cooperation and human resource development cooperation.
Going forward, the two countries will also cooperate in exchange of geology surveys, expansion of Masaka hospital, sign a concessional loan to construct Huye-Kibeho road as well as a loan agreement to construct Bugesera International Airport access road project.
China is one of Rwanda’s biggest sources of foreign direct investments with most of them in the manufacturing and real estate sectors.
Latest statistics from the Ministry of Trade and Industry show that Rwanda shipped in Rwf205 billion of imports from China compared to Rwf4.3 billion it exported in 2017.
On the basis of investment, over the last 12 years, Rwanda attracted 61 investment projects and joint ventures worth US$419.6 million from China. Actual investments are estimated at US$352. 6 million spanning tourism, mining and construction sectors
One of the major investments include C&H Garment Ltd, which began operations in 2014 producing garments mostly for exports. In 2016, the company exported goods Rwf1.057 billion to a combined market of China and United.
Another major investment by a Chinese firm is New Century Investment Ltd, which is a joint venture with a Rwandan investor. The project, valued at over $90 million, includes the building hosting Marriot Hotel.
Other Chinese investments in Rwanda include enterprises in retail, manufacturing and the hospitality sector.
China is also home to some 1,300 Rwandans, including students in the country’s higher learning institutions.
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.
The two countries have enjoyed diplomatic relations for 47 years. Both countries maintain close collaboration in infrastructure, culture, capacity building, health and agriculture sectors as well as people to people exchanges.
The two Heads of State will hold bilateral talks and address a joint press conference. President Xi will also pay his respect to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, and meet the Chinese community in Rwanda.
President Xi Jinping’s statement
July 22, 2018 – I am very pleased to pay a state visit to the beautiful Republic of Rwanda at the invitation of President Paul Kagame. I wish to take this opportunity to convey the sincere greetings and best wishes of the Chinese people to the people of Rwanda.
Under the leadership of President Kagame, Rwanda has embarked on a path of development suited to its own realities, achieved long-term social stability and fast economic growth, and is enjoying increasing influence in the region and beyond. As the rotating chairman of the African Union who also leads its institutional reform, President Kagame plays an important role in promoting African cooperation, supporting Africa’s effort to seek strength through unity, advancing peace and development in Africa, and strengthening AU institutions. We extend our congratulations on these achievements.
Despite the distance between China and Rwanda, our two countries and peoples have enjoyed a long tradition of deep friendship. Through 47 years of our diplomatic ties, our relationship has stood the test of time an international vicissitudes, and has enjoyed sound and steady growth. Treating each other with sincerity and as equals, our two sides have made significant progress in the political, economic and people-to-people fields, and enjoyed close communication and coordination in regional and international affairs.
During his visit to China in March 2017, President Kagame and I had friendly and in-depth discussions on China-Rwanda relations and mutually beneficial cooperation. I am pleased to see that, thanks to our joint efforts since then, the shared understandings reached between us are seeing full and effective implementation and delivering tangible benefits to our peoples.
This is my first visit to Rwanda as Chinese President. The fact that President Kagame and I have exchanged visits in a little over a year speaks volumes for the great importance we both attach to our relations.
During my visit, I look forward to further discussions with President Kagame on the development of our relationship in the new era and on regional and international issues of mutual interest. I believe that with the good cooperation of the two sides, my visit will be a full success and bring enormous benefits to our peoples
May the Republic of Rwanda enjoy prosperity and its people happiness and health!
May the friendship between China and Rwanda be passed on from generation to generation!