KIGALI - A new envoy from China Mr. Sun Shuzhong is due for posting to Rwanda to replace long-serving Mr. Qi Deen.
Sun Shuzhong has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotential of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Rwanda, in changes announced by office of Chinese President Hu Jintao, Xinhua.
The diplomat has been the Consul-General in Strasburg (France) with years working in the Chinese Foreign Services.
Rwanda and China have had a steady relationship since the 1970s. In May President Paul Kagame was in China to attend the China-Africa summit that saw about 40 Heads of Government descend on Beijing. Kagame addressed various fora including the Chinese business community and Parliament during his visit.
The two countries signed a series of agreements to strengthen ties, including one on part cancellation of Rwanda’s debt – but diplomats from both ends are adamant to say exactly how much it could be.
Last year, the two countries recorded a total trade turnover of more than 34 million U.S. dollars (about Frw18.5 billion).
Statistics from the Chinese General Administration of Customs show that imports from Rwanda increased by 89 % between 2005 and 2006 to $20million with exports for December 2006 alone totalling about $ 1.6 million.
Rwanda earned about $22million for the period January-December 2006 representing a percentage increase of 89.8 % of revenue in the same period of 2005.
However, China only managed to attract about $12.5million from exports into Rwanda showing a 3.3 percentage change from 2005. In other words, Rwanda exports more to China than what is brought in from China.
In this year alone, there have been significant private businesses ventures announced. Chinese firm, Star Communication Network Technologies is to put up a $20 million pay-tv station to cover the whole region - in addition to an internet provider company in Rwanda.
There is also a multi-million phone sets assembly plant due in the country.
Meanwhile, the Kigali Institute of Education is hosting a Chinese language program that should see Rwandans learn to speak the language. The Chinese Office of the Chinese Language Council International is funding the program.
Under the language plan China will provide language tutors, teaching material and other logistics, while KIE will avail structural facilities.
There are also 55 Rwandan students on Chinese scholarships up from 35 in the previous years.