China and Rwanda are set to experience even deeper bilateral relations this year, the Chinese envoy to Rwanda has said.
Amb. Henry Hongwei Rao made the remarks while speaking with The New Times at the Chinese embassy in Kigali yesterday.
He also handed over an assortment of equipment donated to The New Times Publications. While handing over the equipment, which included professional cameras and IT equipment, the envoy thanked the newspaper for helping to enhance Rwanda-China cooperation through its reporting.
Amb. Rao said the two countries cooperate in various areas, including mining, industrialisation, infrastructure and people-to-people exchanges.
He said the bilateral ties will grow even stronger this year, including potentially through high-level visits by top Rwandan leaders to China and more visits by Chinese officials to Rwanda following last week’s visit by China’s Foreign Affairs minister Wang Yi.
He said that, during his visit, the foreign minister extended an invitation to top Rwandan leaders to attend the next Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit due in September in China.
A high-level delegation of the RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front) is also scheduled to visit China this year, he added.
“This year will mark a big year for our bilateral relations,” the Chinese envoy said.
Last year, a delegation from the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) paid a three-day visit to Rwanda and exchanged ideas with their RPF-Inkotanyi counterparts aiming at building capacities for members of both parties as well as deepen relations.
Upcoming projects, official visits
Amb. Rao said his government will be involved with the expansion of Masaka Hospital in Kicukiro District, which has long enjoyed support from the Chinese.
He added that they will also support the setting up of wells to ease the access to clean water for more Rwandans.
The envoy also pointed out that China was looking forward to start works on a new road linking the City of Kigali to the proposed Bugesera airport, which is currently under construction with the first phase of works set for completion mid next year.
RwandAir flights to China
The Chinese ambassador also said that, with the national carrier, RwandAir, scheduled to launch flights to Guangzhou, China around June this year, the people of both countries will benefit from the bilateral ties even more.
He said the Chinese government sees more of people-to-people exchange as a way of further enhancing the relationship between the two countries.
An estimated 1,100 Rwandan students currently study in China, mainly in science and technology-related disciplines, the envoy said.
Cooperation between China and Africa has grown significantly in recent years and it was further boosted by President Xi Jinping’s pledge of $60 billion to Africa under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in December 2015.