Chinese investments in Rwanda have reached $170 million in the last five years covering different sectors of the country including ICT, construction, manufacturing, hotels and restaurants, finance among others.

“The cooperation between the government of China and the government of Rwanda has been very strong for a long time and it is not surprising that it has translated into this kind of strong co-operation between our people particularly in business,” Francis Gatare, the Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said last week.

He was speaking during the East Africa- China Business Forum that brought in a number of Chinese investors in Rwanda. China is currently the second biggest economy in the world, but most economists say it is set to overtake the United States within the next five to 10 years.

“China and the people of China continue to provide inspiration to many developing countries, Rwanda inclusive. The kind of progress that China has registered over the past two decades has translated into remarkable savings that are having an impact to the rest of the world and this is also being felt here in Rwanda,” Gatare said.

“The aim of the China General Chamber of Commerce in East Africa is to create a platform for people to communicate and cooperate in business,” East Africa Chinese Chamber of Commerce President, Han Jun said.

Gatare said, “The movement of capital and goods between the two countries also comes with new and alternative ways of thinking particularly alternative ways of doing business. “This is welcome and so as we host this EA- Chinese Chamber of Commerce initiative here in Kigali, we ask ourselves as Rwandans, what else can we do together,” he said.

The two countries currently have Business-to-Business co-operation that is in terms of trade. However there is an opportunity to co-operate further beyond trade to cooperation in investment. “Sustainable business co-operation between China and East Africa and Africa in general can only be sustainable if and when we can transcend beyond trade relationships and build relationships that actually produce things here,” RDB CEO said.

The Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda, Shen Yongxiang said such a forum would help Chinese enterprises expand the EA market, providing point to point business connections for entrepreneurs between EA and China.

Benjamin Gasamagera, the Chairman, Private Sector Federation of Rwanda said,

“This meeting demonstrates how co-operation is evolving to encompass new areas of mutual concern. Rwanda sees China as a vehicle to achieve its economic agenda of growth and development.”

In line with the country’s ambition of becoming a middle-income country, the government has adopted the Economic development and poverty reduction strategy Two, the Vision 2020 which has been translated into a 7-year plan with the objective of dealing with the three main challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. Gasamagera invited the Chinese business community to invest in Rwanda, but most especially in the country’s special economic zone.

“Rwanda would like to partner with china to ensure that Chinese engagements are mutually beneficial, continues to link to infrastructure development, greater economic participation and the greater good of both countries,” Gasamagera said.