Chinese firms have been encouraged to take advantage of the security and immense opportunities in Rwanda to expand their businesses in the region and on the continent.
Rwanda’s ambassador to China Lt.Gen. Charles Kayonga said the country offers investors opportunities across sectors, including ICT, manufacturing, hospitality, logistics, health, education, transport, finance, and telecom sectors.
Kayonga noted that Rwanda’s strategic position at the convergence of the eastern and central African regions gives it a geographic advantage as an inland hub on the continent.
He added that the country has a huge market as it is part of the Tripartite Free Trade Area that make up three regional blocs - the East African Community, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC). Rwanda is well positioned to serve as a hub for meetings and conferences, he added.
General Kayonga was speaking during Rwanda-Shanghai Investment Forum that brought together Rwandan business community in China and Chinese investors from the city of Shanghai over the weekend. The event was organised by the Rwanda embassy in China and was facilitated by Touchroad Media Holdings and the Shanghai Science and Technology Development and Exchange Centre.
The ambassador was optimistic that trade between Rwanda and China could be further boosted in the next three years, thanks to the Forum for China Africa Co-operation programme announced in South Africa. RwandAir, the national carrier, is set to start flights to Guangzhou later this year and would definitely give Rwanda a lion’s share of the 100 million Chinese tourists going abroad annually.
Speaking at the event, Liu Beimin, the deputy director for foreign economic co-operation at Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, lauded efforts by Rwanda to further improve the business environment, as well as support international investors.
He said the bilateral relations between China and Rwanda will deepen trade among the two parties.
Yin Bangqi, the director of Shanghai Science and Technology Development and Exchange Centre, said technology is essential in all sectors of the economy, adding that both countries are working together to spur the capacity of Rwanda’s ICT infrastructure. Bangqi said Rwanda’s nationwide broadband coverage and growing Internet penetration will be instrumental in the country development.
The chairman of Touchroad Media Holdings, He Liehui, lauded the good relationship between Rwanda and China that created opportunities to Chinese companies that are investing in Rwanda and encouraged others to go global and invest in Rwanda in particular. Liehui praised Rwanda business environment which has been rated the second best on the continent of Africa and which is improving at a faster pace globally.
Representatives of Rwandan and Chinese business operators from Rwanda also attended the two-day forum. Representatives of the Chinese business community in Rwanda called for closer trade relations, saying Rwanda remains the first priority in East Africa because of the facilitation given to investors in the country.
Meanwhile, the Rwandan community at the forum also celebrated the National Harvest Day by discussing ideas that could support the development of the country. Gen Kayonga challenged the youth to emulate the patriotism demonstrated by those who sacrificed their lives to liberate Rwanda and to stop the Genocide against the Tutsi.
He urged Rwandan students studying in China to live a disciplined lifestyle, saying education is an investment, which will also shape their character and values. The Ambassador said the current good leadership has contributed significantly to Rwanda’s transformation.