Fifteen pacts to be signed

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/23 23:43:39

Rwanda’s progress makes for promising partner: analyst

Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Rwanda, the first by a Chinese head of state to the African country, will further boost regional cooperation and set an example of China-Africa relations amid the global challenge of protectionism, Chinese analysts said on Monday.

Upon arrival at the airport in Rwanda's capital city Kigali on Sunday, Xi was warmly received by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who is also the rotating chairman of the African Union.

Xi said that China and Rwanda have treated each other as equals with sincerity and friendship, and he believes his visit will deliver fruitful results so as to benefit the two peoples, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.

Xi is the first Chinese head of state to pay a visit to Rwanda since the establishment of diplomatic relations 47 years ago. The visit, which is expected to last for two days, comes after Kagame's visit to China last year.

During the "long-awaited historical visit," 15 bilateral pacts between the two nations that cover trade, investment, infrastructure, culture and scientific operations, as well as Silk Road Economic Belt cooperation, are expected to be signed, local media reported.

Rwanda, sitting at the "heart" of Africa, has the ambition to promote regional integration in Africa, which is in accordance with the mission of the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative, Li Zhibiao, a research fellow at the Institute of West Asian and African Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday.

Other agreements expected to be signed during Xi's Rwanda trip include those involving investment in e-commerce, law enforcement cooperation, and human resource development, The New Times, a daily English newspaper in Rwanda, reported Sunday.

Rwanda's economic development is remarkable among African countries, and it also made impressive progress in national governance, enjoying a stable and safe situation in urban areas, making it a promising partner for cooperation, said Li.

Wider picture

"Consensus or deals reached by the two countries this time will go beyond the scope of bilateral cooperation. They could set an example of cooperation in various sectors and at different levels between China and African countries," said Li.

More importantly, the trip could set an example of how China could cooperate with small and medium-sized African countries that are short of resources, said Xu Weizhong, deputy director of the Institute of West Asian and African Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

"An increasing number of African countries are including long-term stability on their agenda. China and those countries could enhance the exchange of social governance, such as how to mobilize the public to supervise the government," said Xu.

China is one of Rwanda's biggest sources of foreign direct investment, mostly in the manufacturing and real estate sectors. China is also home to some 1,300 Rwandans, including students in the country's higher learning institutions, according to The New Times. Over the last 12 years, 61 investment projects and joint ventures in Rwanda, worth $420 million, have been registered from China. The actual investments are estimated at $353 million in the tourism, mining and construction sectors, the Rwanda-based KT Press reported.

For African countries that are undergoing transformation toward modern agricultural industrialization, China could help facilitate the process, said Xu. As for Chinese companies, African countries could be included in their production chain for labor-intensive industries, he said.

Most of the infrastructure in Africa, such as roads, ports and airports, is contracted to or financed by Chinese, which makes China an ideal partner the landlocked countries to build new connections with other countries, said Li, who worked at the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda from 2007 to 2008.

Such cooperation is sustainable and beneficial to both China and African countries, especially under the threat of trade protectionism from the US, Li stressed.



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