China, Rwanda to further boost relations, says Chinese foreign minister


President Paul Kagame yesterday held talks with Hon. Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China at Village Urugwiro. The Chinese foreign affairs minister later told media that the two countries are ready to take their relationship to greater heights through enhanced political mutual trust by boosting interactions at all levels of government. / Village Urugwiro

President Paul Kagame, yesterday, met with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, who told the media shortly after the meeting that China and Rwanda are ready to further boost their relations to achieve their mutual development goals.

Kagame received the minister and his delegation at Village Urugwiro in Kigali on the latter’s first leg of an Africa trip that will also take him to Angola, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe.

The Chinese foreign affairs minister said the two countries are ready to take their relationship to greater heights through enhanced political mutual trust by boosting interactions at all levels, enhancing win-win cooperation in various fields, fostering people-to-people relationships, and closely communicating and coordinating to meet global and regional challenges.

“China stands ready to be a long term and trustworthy cooperation partner for Rwanda in its development process,” he told journalists shortly after meeting President Kagame.

His trip aims to strengthen relations between China and Africa as well as consult and exchange with leaders on the continent on regional and international issues of mutual interest, officials said.

Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, accompanied her Chinese counterpart at Village Urugwiro and reiterated that China remains an important partner of Africa and Rwanda, hence the need to keep going the exchange on how to increase benefits on both sides.

“The visit of the minister today signifies that our countries are moving even further forward and that China and Rwanda are going to increase political consultations both at bilateral level and on continental level,” she said.

China and Rwanda maintain warm bilateral ties, with the former continuing to cooperate with the latter in different sectors such as health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure.

In terms of education, an estimated 1,100 students currently study in China mainly in science and technology related subjects.

In March, President Kagame paid a two-day visit to his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, during which the two leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in areas of industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, infrastructure building, tourism, and security.

During the visit, Kagame acknowledged the role of China in supporting Rwanda’s development agenda, specifically praising China’s contribution in developing the country’s infrastructure projects.

China’s greatest support to Rwanda’s development process is in the form of concessional loans, grant aid, technical support in major infrastructure projects as well as students’ scholarships in critical sectors such as health, education and technology.

China is also one of Rwanda’s biggest sources of foreign direct investments, mainly in the manufacturing and real estate sectors.

The Chinese foreign minister’s trip to Rwanda has also come ahead of the African Union Summit at the month’s end where President Kagame will officially take over the chairmanship of the African Union on January 28.

On the African continent, cooperation between China and Africa has grown significantly in the last two decades and it was further boosted by President Xi’s pledge of $60 billion to Africa under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in December 2015.

At his meeting with President Kagame yesterday, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs invited him to the next FOCAC meeting which will be held in China in September.

Following a FOCAC technical meeting in November last year, it was decided that the next technical gathering of the forum would be elevated to a Heads of State summit to be held in Beijing in September 2018.