Chinese New Year: Rwanda, China look to better business ties

The Minister of Youth and Culture, Rosemary Mbabazi, on Thursday evening joined the Chinese community living in Rwanda to mark the Chinese New Year in an event hosted the Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda.

During the celebration, Mbabazi has said that the celebrations are not only limited to the spring festival but also reflecting on Rwanda and China’s relations that have been on an upward trend.

The Minister, who conveyed President Kagame’s wishes to the Chinese, said that Rwanda was looking to cement business partnership to enable both communities to benefit from the thriving ties.

The event was attended by the Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda, Rao Hongwei, and his wife along with other Chinese community mainly staff of Chinese companies operating in the country and specialists like engineers, medical doctors, and teachers among others.

The Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival, which marks the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar.

Since the Chinese calendar has a zodiac of twelve animals, this year is “the year of the rat”. 2019 was the year of the pig.

In Beijing, it is expected that the New Year celebrations will take place next week on January 25.

Meanwhile, the celebration in Kigali was the time to reflect on China's progress especially in relations with African countries.

Welcoming the guests, the Chinese envoy shared the meaning of “the year of the rat”, saying that traditionally, the rat symbolizes bright, sociable, ambitious and passionate.

Rao said that the Lunar New Year which is also known as the Spring Festival is the most important traditional festival for Chinese people.

“It bears our aspirations for a better life and pursuit of harmony, reunion, happiness, peace and prosperity.”

He also shared the progress that China has made so far in various sectors such as good governance, economy, improving people’s welfare and relations with other countries after 70 years of opening up and reforms.

The envoy added that 2020 marks 20th anniversary of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Sino-Rwanda relations

Rao said that there are several milestones worth celebrating as a part of both countries’ friendship between the peoples of both countries.

“Rwanda is a land of promise and has shown enormous growth potential. She has also been actively pursuing sustainable and homegrown development. Its cooperation with China has been at a high level,” he noted.

He mentioned some of the events including training, complexes completed across the country, visits of Chinese experts from various fields, direct flight of the national carrier RwandAir to Guangzhou, the publication of the first-ever book narrating the history of Rwanda and China, Made in Rwandan in the Chinese market through Alibaba platform among others.

“In the year of the rat, China will continue to work with Rwanda for higher quality and efficiency of our political cooperation so that together we could deliver greater benefits to the peoples,” he added.

According to the Minister of Youth and Culture, more has been achieved as a result of a good partnership between two countries over the years.

She also commented that the Chinese president’s visit to Rwanda in 2018 has symbolized the extent at which the countries’ relationship has grown.

“Bilateral agreements have been signed covering various areas of cooperation. As part of the friendship, Rwanda has been hosting some Chinese programmes.

Also, Chinese officials from various provinces have visited the country in line with exchanging the available business opportunities to strengthen and cement networks in business,” Mbabazi said.

She added that the wish by the Rwandan leadership is to see Rwandan business people taking advantage of the very good favorable investment opportunities created by the good political ties between Rwanda and China.

Currently, a number of Rwandan products are being sold on the Chinese market mainly through the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), an e-commerce platform by Alibaba.

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