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Rwanda Chinese Community Mark An Auspicious Year of The Dragon 

by Vincent Gasana
4:45 pm

The customer is always right, so, when the Rwanda Chinese community celebrated the New Year, in February, the Bank of Kigali sponsored the event, and joined them in starting the year of the dragon in festive mood. 

Each year, in the Chinese lunisolar calendar, is represented by an animal spirit, 2024, is the year of the wood dragon. Of all the creatures on the lunisolar calendar, few capture the imagination more than the dragon, perhaps because it is born of imagination. The only mythical creature in the calendar, the dragon is believed to be an auspicious creature, that symbolises power, nobility, luck, honour and success. 

Guest of honour at the celebration, was China’s Ambassador to Rwanda, Wang Xuekun. The ambassador gave a nod to the meaning of the year of the dragon, while looking more to the concrete achievements to be celebrated, both by China and Rwanda.

“This is an important year of the dragon” he said, “it is the 70th anniversary, since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and the 30th anniversary of Rwanda’s liberation by the RPF [Rwanda Patriotic Front], both countries have made great achievements, in improving the lives of our peoples.”

China is now back to work, and for the relevant government institutions and agencies, part of that work, will no doubt be to evaluate how well the country managed the enormous logistical challenges, that come with the Spring Festival. 

The festival is China’s most important cultural event, and for the authorities, there could be no more robust test of the transport infrastructure. The numbers are staggering, unmatched anywhere else in the world. 

According to China’s ministry of transport, over the holiday period, there were upwards of nine billion journeys, just over seven billion, 80% of them, were by road, and nearly two billion by rail. Until recently, many of these journeys were by motorcycle. 

Imagine millions of people on motocycles, travelling to all parts of the country. As people’s incomes have risen, motocycles are giving way to cars, and rail. Civil aviation is now an affordable option that it never was. Chinese car manufacturing is also a relatively recent achievement, with the country now leading the world in electric vehicles. 

Rwanda has a growing small Chinese community, of around 1,500 people, including some with young families. Many are involved in businesses, mostly visibly construction, and retail, and others in development projects.

Many of them are served by the Bank of Kigali. An application, Alipay, enables businesses and individuals to affordably transfer money to China. The bank is now in negotiation on how to make the service two way.

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