Xi outlines priority areas in Rwanda-China ties

Workers at Chinese owned C&H garments factory at Kigali Special Economic Zone in Gasabo District on Thursday, July 19, 2018. Sam Ngendahimana.

President Xi Jinping of China has said his upcoming visit to Rwanda will serve to inject new impetus to the “traditional friendship and all-round cooperation” between the two countries.

In an OpEd piece sent to The New Times on the eve of the highly-awaited visit, President Xi, whose arrival Sunday will make him the first Chinese president to visit Rwanda, says the ties between the two countries will continue to “produce fruitful results to the benefit of our peoples”.

Underlining the need to promote mutual learning and further enhancing people-to-people exchanges, Xi said “deeper exchanges and cooperation in education, culture, health, tourism, aviation and human resources training will help cement the social foundation for bilateral relations and gain increasing public support for our friendship.” 

“We need to uphold mutual respect and deepen political mutual trust. We should view and grow our relations with a strategic and long-term perspective,” he said.

“By way of enhancing exchanges and cooperation at all levels and sharing development experience, we will be able to cement the political foundation for the sound, steady and sustained growth of our relations. China firmly supports Rwanda in following the development path it has independently chosen.”

The Chinese leader also said there’s need for the two countries to connect their development strategies and broaden their cooperation.

By leveraging our complementarities and broadening the scope and channels of cooperation, he said, “we will be able to advance practical cooperation in infrastructure, mining, trade and investment, translating our friendship into concrete outcomes and delivering more benefits to our peoples.”

Xi said China was also keen on strengthening collaboration with Rwanda in international affairs. “China commends and supports the efforts of Rwanda, the current chair of the African Union, to play a bigger role in preserving Africa’s unity and promoting its development.” 

“Our two countries will continue to firmly uphold the common interests of developing countries through close communication and coordination in regional and international affairs,” he said.

He noted that with Rwanda actively implementing its Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme and China working toward its centenary goals, historic opportunities beckon for the two countries’ cooperation.

He said that, during President Kagame’s visit to China in March 2017, the two leaders reached important consensus on “deepening cooperation in various fields”.

He also praised Rwanda’s progress, pointing out that “in recent years, under the leadership of President Kagame, the government and people of Rwanda have made pioneering efforts to blaze a development path that suits national conditions.”

“Enjoying good governance and social harmony, Rwanda is making progress on every front of development.”

He added: “With sustained stability and robust economic growth, Rwanda has seen a continued rise in its regional and global influence, and has set an example for countries who face the similar tasks of national development and rejuvenation in Africa and beyond. I am heartened to see these accomplishments and sincerely wish Rwanda still greater success on its way forward.”

“The friendship between our two countries is an epitome of the friendship between China and Africa,” he said.  “China will continue to deepen communication, mutual trust and cooperation with Rwanda and with other friendly African countries, based on the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and the approach of upholding justice and pursuing shared interests.”

He commended Rwanda’s decades-old tradition of Umuganda (community work), which he said encourages joint efforts and mutual help for common goals. 

President Xi, who’s expected to arrive in the country on Sunday for his two-day state visit, added that “it is important for China and Rwanda to join hands for mutual benefit and common development and for a community with a shared future between our two countries and between China and Africa as a whole.”

“I am convinced that with the joint efforts of our two governments and peoples, China-Rwanda relations will embrace an even brighter future.”

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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