On 12th November 1971, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Rwanda established diplomatic relations. In the past 4 decades, we have enhanced mutual trust, strengthened economic ties, and witnessed vigorous cooperation in the fields of culture, health, education and science.
There is a saying that “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. This is the principle of China’s cooperation with African countries, Rwanda included. Human resources are the dynamics of the country’s development, therefore, the Chinese government invites about one hundred Rwandans to China every year, and shares with them some experience in agricultural production, TVET, medical treatment and etc. This year, the Agriculture Technology Demonstration Center in HUYE has so far offered courses for 168 local peasants. The agricultural extensionists from China are here to share with the local people some technology and skills in growing rice and mushroom, as well as water and soil conservation. We hope that we can offer some practical skills and tangible benefits for the local people.
China also offers direct service to Rwandan people’s well-being. In last 30 years, China sent medical teams to Rwanda. Chinese doctors worked in KIBUMGO Hospital, which was also built by the Chinese government, and helped to cure more than 47 thousand patients. This year, a new hospital at MASAKA was handed over to Rwandan government. China also offered medical equipments worth 3 million USD to this hospital. I do hope that Chinese doctors could offer better service to Rwandan people in this new hospital.
When we talk about China-Rwanda cooperation, I have to thank some Chinese companies working in Rwanda for a long time, building roads and bridges. Especially during the reconstruction of this country after 1994, they have made some contribution to the infrastructure building of Rwanda. 11 Chinese lost their lives in mission accomplished.
We, the Chinese people always remember to do as the Africans do when we are in Africa, and we cherish the sincere friendship with the Rwandan people, and support the Rwandan people in their development efforts. In the past 40 years, China’s grants to Rwanda reached 170 million USD. Specifically, after the year 2004, the total grant is about 115 million USD, with 39 projects in Rwanda’s four provinces and Kigali city so far.
As the Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “At forty, I have no doubts”. He was saying that life has no secrets to a person at the age of 40
. China-Rwanda friendship is also 40 years now. Reviewing our efforts during the past 4 decades, we should know where and how to go further. I believe that in the next 40 years, we will take the new type of China-Rwanda strategic partnership to a new high, and make our cooperation even more fruitful.
To celebrate the event, the Chinese Embassy has organized a series of activities, beginning from the 12th of November and ending by the Spring Festival next January. During these three months, we will have Chinese film week, photo exhibitions, workshop, dance show, etc, I’m happy to invite Rwandans from all walks of life to join us at this special occasion.
The author is Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda.