Expectations are high for businesses in Rwanda following the very first state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping who arrived in Kigali on Sunday.
Xi was warmly welcomed by his host Paul Kagame and his wife, a gesture that analysts say speaks volume about the importance of this diplomatic meeting for both countries and the continent.
The Chinese president has said he hopes to have in-depth discussions with Kagame, who is also chairman of the African Union, on Sino-Rwandan relations, Sino-African cooperation, other regional and international issues of common interest.
We businessmen will consider this kind of signal as a very positive gesture for Rwandan companies to have a relationship with the Chinese government and Chinese businessmen.
“I think the focus should be on industries, the development of a special economic zone, but we also have a plan to develop what we call industrial parks, we want to build a strong partnership with China, use Chinese experience in terms of special economic zone development’‘, Rwandan Minister of Trade and Industry, Vincent Munyeshyaka said.
From Chinese diplomatic sources, Beijing has become Rwanda’s largest trading partner, with nearly 70% of the road network built by Chinese companies. Analyst say Xi’s arrival could boost the local economy.
“The Chinese president is much awaited here, and we businessmen will consider this kind of signal as a very positive gesture for Rwandan companies, to have a relationship with the Chinese government and Chinese businessmen. It gives a very good image of the Rwandan people and business in Rwanda”, said Robert Bafakulera, President, Private Sector Federation.
“People will be interested to see the president of this country come here, and see that we are moving to a higher level, where we have real cooperation between the two people”, Mubanda said.
From Rwanda, Xi Jinping will visit to South Africa where he’s expected to attend the 10th BRICS Summit.