Rwanda-China relationships will enter a new era tomorrow with the first ever visit to Rwanda by a Chinese Head of State.
For the last couple of decades China has taken an ever visible presence on the continent in an arena that was either dominated by former colonial masters or protagonists in the Cold War.
As China’s economic fortunes turned for the better it started making inroads into Africa with generous no-strings-attached approach in helping with many infrastructure projects.
That is what has endeared China to many developing countries; it has no “big brother” attitude. It puts forth no demands as conditions for its aid and now its large footprint is starting to worry traditional donor countries because of China’s growing influence.
President Xi Jinping’s visit will focus on increasing mutual cooperation that is hinged on mutual respect and political trust.
This is definitely a busy week; Mozambican president Felipe Nyusi leaves today after a three-day state visit and President Xi will be followed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also a first by an Indian leader. While both the Indian and Chinese leaders will combine their visit with the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), the stopover in Kigali is significant.
China is Rwanda’s biggest trade partner and volumes are set to increase as both countries explore other areas of partnership. China’s presence on the continent – or in Rwanda in particular – is not about to go anywhere very soon.