The year 2020 is extraordinary and significant for China, Rwanda and the whole world. As the Covid-19 is still raging around the world, China and Rwanda have been working hand in hand to face challenges, seize opportunities, tackle risks, enhance mutual trust, strengthen win-win cooperation, and promote common development for a community with shared future for our two peoples.
In the tenacious fight against Covid-19, China and Rwanda have extended helping hands to each other and engaged in extensive mutual support. China will never forget the sincere assistance from Rwanda during its most difficult period to defeat the virus. President Paul Kagame and Secretary General Francois Ngarambe of Rwanda Patriotic Front sent letters of solidarity and support to the Chinese government and the Communist Party of China respectively. Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued a statement to express trust and support for China. Rwanda-China Alumni made special video, sending Chinese people their sympathy and best wishes.
Since Rwanda initiated its all-out fight against Covid-19 from middle March, China has been repaying goodwill to Rwanda with greater kindness. Through different channels and at different levels, the Chinese government and people have continuously donated dozens of batches of medical supplies to the RBC, RPF, RDF, parliament, as well as the emergency food to low-income households. The Chinese medical experts also share the epidemic control practices, diagnostics and therapeutics with their Rwandan counterparts. All these fully demonstrate the precious friendship between our two countries in the times of adversity.
At the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against Covid-19, the meeting to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations and on other multi-lateral occasions, both President Xi Jinping and President Kagame insist solidarity and cooperation as the only way to defeat the virus, rejecting stigmatization or name-calling associated with the virus, supporting WHO’s lead role in global response efforts, and keeping global industrial and supply chains secure and stable for economic recovery.
On October 8, China officially joined COVAX and solemnly pledged to make vaccines developed and deployed by China a global public good and ensure early access for developing countries. It has been welcomed and supported by the international community, especially African countries, as we all believe only through global efforts and commitments can we win the fight against the pandemic.
Thanks to our effective leadership, strong action and unwavering commitments in responding to Covid-19, China and Rwanda are among the few countries to keep the pandemic under control.
As the country firstly hit by Covid-19, China knows the significance of trustful institutions, universal health coverage, well-supported health workers and transparent public health communications in this fight.
China highly commends Rwanda for the achievements in these aspects. Hand in hand, China and Rwanda have shown the world our determination to defeat Covid-19 with solidarity and cooperation, writing a new chapter in the bilateral relations.
Geographically far apart as China and Rwanda are, as developing countries, both countries pursue the goal of poverty eradication and boosting the economy.
We share the aspiration to achieve national prosperity and a better life for our peoples. At present, China and Rwanda are facing the daunting task to beat the virus while stabilizing the economy and protecting livelihoods.
Although the virus has brought about many restraints to the bilateral exchanges, the cooperation still keeps a strong momentum and shows huge resilience. Partners from both countries have kept in touch and coordination through various channels, thus ensured steady progress of major projects such as Nyabarongo II Hydro-power station, Masaka Hospital Renovation and Expansion, Smart Education, just to name a few. Also, to facilitate travel for reopening the economy, Rwanda Air has resumed the direct flight between Kigali and Guangzhou. E-WTP is another successful story during the pandemic. Last May in an online promotion event organized by Alibaba Group and Rwandan Embassy in China, 3000 bags of Rwandan coffee beans were sold out just in seconds. Under the e-WTP program, Rwandan farmers can now earn 4 more US dollars per kilo at T-mall because of the direct sales channel to Chinese consumers.
On September 28th, 2020, the 8th session of Rwanda-China Joint Committee on Economic, Technical and Trade was successfully held virtually. This session is the first meeting held under a trade and economic mechanism between China and an African country since the Covid-19 outbreak began. Thirteen Rwandan cabinet members attended the session, discussing with the Chinese counterparts on topics of bilateral cooperation in trade, infrastructure, investment and development assistance, especially in aligning Rwanda’s Vision 2050 and China’s Belt and Road initiative, accelerating the registration of Rwanda’s agriculture products exporters in China, and deepening cooperation in digital economy etc. All these will contribute to the enhancement of bilateral ties in the Post- Covid-19 era.
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Rwanda. Though a lot has been changed because of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, but not the friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and Rwanda. The two sides will not only celebrate the anniversary in flexible and diverse ways, but also take this chance to open up new chapters of common development and prosperity, so as to make further contributions to a community with shared future for mankind.
RAO Hongwei is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Rwanda.