Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) Musanze could soon start enrolling up to 1,500 diploma and advanced diploma students, as well as 400 short-course trainees thanks to a grant of US$32 million (about Rwf27.3 billion) signed between Rwanda and China.
This was announced Wednesday by the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete, during the signing of a financing agreement of the RMB Yuan 200 million donated by the People’s Republic of China to support the expansion of IPRC-Musanze and establishment of 200 boreholes.
“With this support, we will almost triple the number of students, both those who are undertaking diploma and short courses. The grant will help to extend what already exists through adding the infrastructure, but also the necessary equipment required for practical training,” he said.
Currently, the campus has capacity to host 560 diploma students and 180 short-course trainees. With the Chinese government grant, the capacity is set to increase, officials said.
Part of the grant (equivalent to US$16 million) will go into the expansion of IPRC-Musanze. The minister said that the existing campus was also constructed with the funding of the Chinese government in 2014.
Olivier Rwamukwaya, the minister of state in Charge of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), expressed optimism, saying that this will help expand the campus’ capacity and benefit more Rwandan students.
“Nearly ten years ago, the government embarked on the journey of investing in technical and vocational training as part of preparing Rwandans for the job market, but also help contribute to creation of jobs. We have received support from different partners, and this particular support is a boost to what we are already doing,” he told journalists.
He added that it will support the country’s efforts to transform the education sector.
Supporting water shortage alleviation
Meanwhile, officials indicated that part of the grant will go into the financing of water access provision in the sixteen districts where water shortage has become rampant.
“To help us achieve 100 per cent access to water within the next seven years, they are also supporting us in construction of boreholes in rural areas where we have a big shortage of water like in the Eastern Province,” Gatete noted.
He added that government wants to move from the current 84 per cent water access to 100 per cent within the next seven years, and that such financing would help realise this goal.
The Chinese government is targeting to finance the drilling of 200 water boreholes in different areas, which are yet to be identified, but mostly in districts which regularly experience water shortages.
Rao Hongwei, the Chinese ambassador to Rwanda, said that the economic and technical cooperation agreement will also cover other projects that will be agreed upon.
“Many Rwandan people will benefit from all these projects and our countries’ bilateral cooperation,” he said.
The envoy noted that President Kagame and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping reached important consensus in deepening bilateral relations.
“China will continue to provide assistance in infrastructure construction, industrialisation and agricultural modernisation to improve the economic and social development of Rwanda,” Hongwei said.
Gatete highlighted that the grant is part of broader support that the Chinese government gives to Rwanda in different sectors, including education, agriculture, infrastructure and health, among other areas. He cited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building, Prime Holdings, and Masaka Hospital as some of the examples of the initiatives supported by the government of China.
“Their support has been almost in all the areas,” he noted.