Celebrating the 45th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Rwanda, Pan Hejun, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, emphasizes the strong bilateral relations and the fruitful cooperation between the two countries. Promising to continue to strengthen the bilateral cooperation, he discusses current relations and Rwanda’s potential for investment.
European Times: How would you describe the bilateral relations between the two countries?
Pan Hejun: The excellent bilateral relations between China and Rwanda are marked with mutual trust on political, cultural and economic level. Formal diplomatic relations between Rwanda and China were established in 1971. The bilateral cooperation has been growing stronger over the past years, with both countries working together towards enabling growth and prosperity. The strong bilateral ties are visible through numerous high level official visits. In March, Zhang Dejiang, the Chairperson of the National People’s Congress of China, visited Rwanda and met with President Paul Kagame. The meeting was a great success and paved the way for an even closer and stronger future cooperation.
European Times: How is China assisting Rwanda’s development?
Pan Hejun: The development of the African countries requires infrastructure and human resources development. In Rwanda, China provides aid through funding and investment into infrastructural projects. Funding includes grants, loans without interest and concessional loans. China is a significant contributor to Rwanda’s infrastructure development.
During the past 45 years, China has completed around 50 bigger projects in Rwanda and many smaller ones. We have finished construction of vocational school in Northern Province and completed the office for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Now we are constructing the Office Complex, which will house the Prime Minister’s office and four other Ministries. We are starting the upgrading of 54 km of urban roads in Kigali, which is very important for the development of the capital. Also, we will help to expand Masaka hospital into a teaching hospital and plan to build another vocational school in the city of Kigali next year.
Besides capacity building, agriculture, industrialization, trade and energy are among the key priority areas for the development of the country.
This year, about 200 Rwandan students are going to China to pursue their bachelor, master or PHD degrees, out of which 60 students are awarded scholarships from the Chinese government. Many private Chinese companies also assist in providing scholarships.
European Times: Which are the major challenges in terms of foreign investments?
Pan Hejun: Day-to-day challenges are the shortage of electricity, water supply and high cost of transportation. However, significant efforts are being made to address all these problems and issues, and I am confident that they will be resolved in the near future.
European Times: What is your personal message?
Pan Hejun: The stability and development of the African continent is important for the stability and development of the world, especially in regards to the process of globalization. The sustainable development of Africa will ensure a better and more secure world on the long run.