Rwanda leader seeks partnership with China

16 Sep
Updated: 2012-09-14 20:23

By Cheng Guangjin (

President Kagame meets with Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao in Tianjin

Rwanda President Paul Kagame has called for more Africa-China cooperation based on an equal partnership, saying such a relationship is mutually beneficial.

“China has the capital and technology. Africa has resources,” Kagame said in a recent interview. Bringing the resources, the capital and the know-how all together will “benefit China and Africa.”

Kagame made the remarks in a joint interview on the sidelines of the sixth World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2012, which took place Sept 11-13 in Tianjin. It was Kagame’s third official visit to China since assuming office in 2000.

China-African cooperation has generated fruitful results in recent years.

In July, President Hu Jintao announced in Beijing that China will provide $20 billion in loans to help African countries develop infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

In 2011, China’s nonfinancial direct investment in Africa increased 58.9 percent year-on-year to $1.7 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

By the end of 2011, Chinese investment in Africa reached $14.7 billion, up 60 percent compared with 2009.

As both China and Africa are experiencing important economic restructuring, Kagame said, the best way for Rwanda and Africa to work with China is “to see how both sides can benefit each other in this restructuring.”

Both China and African countries have to take into account two considerations – the specific situation in their countries, and what is happening globally, Kagame said. “We need to change ourselves in order to benefit more,” he added.

China and Rwanda established diplomatic relations on Nov 12, 1971, and since then the friendly and cooperative relationship has been favorable to both countries.

China-Rwanda trade in 2011 reached $145 million, up 63.3 percent from the previous year.

The Chinese government encourages its companies to go to Rwanda, work with local companies, transfer practical technologies, cultivate talent and explore new products and markets, Premier Wen Jiabao said in a meeting with Kagame on Sept. 11.

However, China’s role in Africa has been criticized by Western countries as neo-colonialism, but Kagame doesn’t see it that way.

“I think we need to put aside these kinds of attitudes and looks at what benefits all of us,” he said.

For a long time, African countries have not been able to trade fairly with Europe and the US as trade barriers and subsidies, particularly in agriculture, have protected external markets from African products.

In Africa’s relations with China and the West, the right way is to take each other as “equal partners”, Kagame said.

“Let’s talk about serious business,” he said.


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