President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeanette Kagame have concluded a two-day visit to Beijing, China, during which they were received by the Chinese President Xi Jiping and First Lady Peng Liyuan at the Great Hall of the People.
During a bilateral meeting between the two Heads of State, Kagame expressed appreciation of the good relations between Rwanda and China and the contribution of China especially in the areas of improving infrastructure in Rwanda.
“Rwanda appreciates the good bilateral relations and cooperation we share, and China’s contribution in various sectors in Rwanda, especially in infrastructure and development projects has been useful. China’s commitment to Africa is welcome, and together with partner states on our continent, Rwanda looks forward to engaging fully in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation process,” he remarked.
President Xi Jiping observed that Rwanda and China had shared 45 years of sincere cooperation, which he said had expanded considerably during Kagame’s time in office.
“Our two countries must continue to work side by side for the benefit of our people. You are a highly respected statesman in Africa, your country has made great strides in economic and social development and we would like to see greater strides in economic development throughout the continent. China will continue to uphold the principles of sincerity, affinity, good faith and real results as we chart the course of our two countries and the wider African continent, because the world belongs to us all,” he said.
Xi also promised to support Rwanda in developing the special economic zone, calling for stronger bilateral cooperation in the areas of industrialization, agricultural modernization, capacity, infrastructure building, tourism and security. He added that China will encourage more enterprises to invest in Rwanda’s major infrastructure projects.
Kagame said Rwanda too wishes to collaborate more with China on industrial development and encouraged Chinese companies to invest in Rwanda’s manufacturing sector.
“China has a special place in our foreign relations as it builds prosperity and lifts up its people, as well as your solid ideological grounding and respect for African partners,” he noted.
Africa should spearhead its own development
During the visit, the President also met African Ambassadors accredited to China, to whom he appealed for the pursuit of win-win partnerships as the envoys engage the rest of the world in order to facilitate the continent’s quest for development.
President Kagame observed that the African continent must keep strengthening and improving the quality of partnerships globally and ensure that they present win-win scenarios.
He asked the Ambassadors to always present Africa as a continent where all preconditions for development, including human capital and material wealth, are abundant, and capable of fitting in the global scene as equals as opposed to continued dependence on partners.
“It is my belief that we have everything that we need to succeed, with all the wealth that we possess in our countries, beginning with the most important which is human capital. Secondly, in terms of material wealth we have as much as the rest of the world has. How can we continue to accept that tax payers of other countries are the ones who toil to take care of our livelihood? We should manage ourselves and our resources. We should fit into the global scene as equals, because we lack nothing,” he pointed out.
Kagame said that among the ways that the continent can become independent and spearhead its own development was by engaging in investment opportunities beneficial to Africa, and emphasised the need for unity characterized by countries looking out for each other’s interest.
“As African ambassadors, you need to keep the message alive that we need to keep working together at all levels of leadership. We need to keep looking out for each other’s best interests. If we implement this belief, there is nothing stopping us from succeeding,” he said.
The President further remarked that the institutional reforms adopted by AU further emphasized the desire by Africans to implement the necessary changes that would improve the continent’s global standing.
Before concluding his two-day visit, Kagame also met leaders of Rwandan students in China whom he encouraged to study hard and bring the expertise and skills to Rwanda.