Rwanda and China’s Zhejiang Province have signed four deals which will boost trade and education cooperation while also strengthening social cohesion between the citizen of Rwanda and China.
The deals were entered through Memoranda of understandings (MoUs) during the one-day China–Rwanda Business Forum in Kigali.
Chinese delegation included Governor Yuan Jiajun who was joined in Kigali by a 57-person delegation comprised of Chinese government officials and members of the Zhejiang private sector.
Rwanda’s delegation included Rwanda Development Board’s CEO Clare Akamanzi and Minister of Trade and Industry.
The four deals include; MoU with the Zhejiang Province Department of Commerce for cooperation on investment trade and industrial zones.
It also includes extension of the existing deals with Alibaba group including; extension of Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).
Alibaba’s eWTP is a deal the company inked with Rwanda since October 2018. It is meant to facilitate Rwanda’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) digital infrastructure for doing commerce with services encompassing Training, E-Payment and Tourism.
Also under Alibaba, a MoU will allow Alibaba Business School to embrace capacity building through the Rwanda Higher Education Council.
HEMA, a Chinese supermarket retail chain also inked a deal with Rwanda to facilitate Rwanda n companies to export chilli to China.
In addition, an MoU was signed between Alibaba and DP World on logistics and distribution of Chinese products across Africa, using Rwanda as an entry point.
In 2016, the Dubai port operator started establishing $80 million project subsidiary in Rwanda – meant to reduce on the cost and duration traders have been incurring to move their goods from the main ports in Mombasa (Kenya) and Dar-es-Salam in Tanzania.
The subsidiary is already working in Masaka sector, Kicukiro district-Kigali.
At the Forum, Clare Akamanzi, the RDB Chief Executive Officer commended the “welcome interest of Zhejiang to have a strong business presence in Rwanda, also proof that Rwanda and China are forging a mutually beneficial future for our people.”
Akamanzi explained that the Chinese are increasingly discovering the existing business opportunities available in Rwanda.
To explain this more, she said that, in the last five years, more than 50 Chinese enterprises registered in Rwanda with an investment value of US$250 million in light manufacturing, agro-processing, construction and mining.
“Like Zhejiang, in Rwanda we understand the need for a private-sector led economy, especially given Zhejiang’s success in Economic Development Zones, each with pillar industries around which clusters are built,” Akamanzi said.
“I am confident that in Rwanda you will find the opportunities attractive, and Rwanda to offer the right business climate including investment incentives that are difficult to find anywhere else.”
Also present was Minister of Trade and Industry, Soraya Hakuziyaremye.
She said; “China remains one of Rwanda’s development partners through a number of projects ranging from infrastructure, health, trade and also in Human resource development be it in Medicine, Aeronautical engineering, Clinical medicine, Petroleum, Agriculture, Electricity engineering and business development.”
Hakuziyaremye further said; “Our relationship with China is now one of Rwanda’s most important, and certainly one of the longest standing. China has continued to lead the way in showing the benefits of engaging and partnering with Rwanda. Your visit here today is likely to set important benchmarks to boost more bilateral and multilateral trade and investment ties between our two countries.”
Mr. Yuan Jiajun, said praised the cooperation between Zhejiang and Rwanda has achieved fruitful results. In 2018, he said, the trade volume between Zhejiang and Rwanda was worth US$ 34.47 million dollars, an increase of 27.3% compared to 2017.
He said that by the end of June this year, Rwanda will have invested in the establishment of seven enterprises in Zhejiang Province with investment of more than US$ 1 million; Zhejiang also invested in two enterprises in Rwanda.
“In particular, the first eWTP partnership was launched in Africa by Alibaba and Rwandan government in 2018, which will help small businesses, young people and entrepreneurs to realize “global buy, global sell, global pay, and global travel,” Jiajun said.