African countries have always suffered from buying expensive finished products after exporting row material of everything.
Rwanda is not that much different, but some young Rwandans who were given an opportunity to learn from countries that made it have started to defy the odds.
Rwanda-China Alumni, an organisation of 600 former students of Chinese universities are set to establish a Rwf 700 million China-Rwanda Exchange Centre in the next four years.
The centre will train Rwandans in small scale manufacturing skills, encourage the exchange of technology, innovations, and culture exchange between Rwanda and China.
The Chairperson of Rwanda-China Alumni Organization, Theoneste Higaniro says that there are some commodities like toothpicks that should not be imported in future, because Rwandans have the capacity and raw materials to manufacture them locally.
“There are some commodities that shouldn’t be imported, toothpicks, and other many products. Rwandans just need skills. As an organization, we have different experts who studied in China, graduated with various skills. We are willing to share these skills by training Rwandans,” Higaniro said.
“We have finished a study for the first phase of construction of the center and we have secured land already. The construction will cost us Rwf 700 Million, but it will be expanded as we get money and partners. We hope to start the training by 2025.”
With over 600 members, Rwanda-China Alumni Organization hopes to help Rwandans to learn from China’s journey of transformation through manufacturing, business basic skills, and culture exchanges.
It will sit on the 2,800 Square metres, located in Kicukiro district, Kigali city.
According to Higaniro, they are looking for partners to fund the Techno-Cultural Exchange Centre, which will be constructed in two phases; one for technology exchange and the second for cultural exchange.
“The Chinese embassy in Rwanda has already committed support but we hope the government will also be among the partners. We have not yet contacted people over support due to the Covid-19. However, it is the next step,” Higaniro said.
Rwanda continues to be a favorable destination for Chinese businesses, including in manufacturing, agro-processing, construction and mining.
“We are the seeds of the good relations between Rwanda and China,” Higaniro said.
China has been supporting hundreds of Rwandans to study in China. Students pursue courses including Engineering, medicine, Journalism and communication, education, among others.
Upon graduating and coming back to Rwanda, the Chinese embassy in Kigali, Chinese companies and alumni organizations coordinate through the annual job fair program, to find jobs for the unemployed graduates.
The job fair fits in the Rwanda government’s intensified efforts to fight unemployment among graduates.
Speaking during the launch of the job fair program in 2019, Rao Hongwei, Chinese ambassador to Rwanda said that the “job fair program will benefit unemployed graduates who studied in China. Once you are employed, take your job serious, love it and work hard for your development and the company.”
“You will work with Chinese experts who are also experienced in various fields. Learn from them and work better,” he said.
Rwanda and China have been cooperating in several aspects targeting mutual benefit and development.
The figures released by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in 2019 indicated that more than 50 Chinese enterprises opened shop in Rwanda with an investment value of $250 million.
On November 8, 2021 Rwanda and China celebrated the 50th anniversary since establishment of diplomatic relations.
China has become Rwanda’s biggest trading partner and project contractor providing support for Rwanda in its process of reconstruction and industrialization and boosting its trade.