Rwanda and China on Saturday celebrated 40 years of bilateral relations, with the Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Paul Kagame exchanging congratulatory messages to mark the anniversary.
In his message, the Chinese leader said that the diplomatic ties between the two countries for the last 40 years stood the test of time, adding that the two countries can only further the cordial relations.
“China and Rwanda forged diplomatic ties 40 years ago; the two nations have withstood the test of time and tremendous international changes. Bilateral ties have been developed in a sound and stable manner,” he said in his congratulatory message.
On his part, President Kagame attached great importance to the development of Sino-Rwanda relations, noting that the good relations create a good momentum for the rapid development of bilateral ties.
A reception to mark the anniversary was hosted by the Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda, Shu Zhan, on Saturday. It was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, the Chinese community and featured traditional and cultural exchanges between the two countries.
In her speech, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, said that Rwanda and China have reached a level of maturity noting that the two countries still have ‘energy’ to extend the relations.
“This relationship, now 40 years old, is a relationship that has been characterised by sincerity and true friendship. China has been there for Rwanda when Rwanda needed China, and Rwanda will always stand by China in its hour of need,” she said.
“China was there when Rwanda was recovering from the Genocide and Rwanda was there when China was struggling with natural catastrophes and when China needed support globally”.
The minister noted that the 40 years have been worthwhile with a lot happening between the two countries that is worth celebrating. She noted that Rwanda has many lessons to learn from China in its socio-economic development ambitions.
Among these, she said Rwanda would learn from China’s development oriented leadership which has ensured that half a billion Chinese moved from living below the poverty line to a highly productive middle income society, noting that it was an unprecedented feat worth commending.
The Chinese Ambassador pledged his country’s commitment to deepen and further strengthen the already cordial bilateral relations, observing that the Chinese government will continue supporting the development in Rwanda.
“China has offered direct service to the Rwandan people’s well-being and in the last 30 years. China sent medical teams to Rwanda who have worked in different parts of the country, like in Kibungo Hospital, which was also built by the Chinese government,” Shu Zhan pointed out.
“This year, a new hospital at Masaka was handed over to the Rwandan government with medical equipment worth US$3m to facilitate this hospital”.
The Chinese envoy commended Chinese companies working in Rwanda for a good job in building schools, hospitals, roads and bridges since 1994, playing a key role in the reconstruction process.
“We 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 Rwandan people in their development efforts”.
As part of the celebrations, Mushikiwabo exchanged congratulatory messages with her Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.