The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: China, Rwanda Sign U.S. $35 Million Loan Agreement

THE Chinese government has pledged Yuan 220 million (about $35m) in grants and concessional loans to Rwanda.

An agreement to pave way for the disbursement of the funds was signed in Kigali on Friday. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Louise Mushikiwabo signed on behalf of Rwanda while the Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda, Shu Zhan signed for China.

"The signing of these agreements is very significant for Rwanda. It is consistent with the government's effort to develop our country and substantially change the livelihood of our entire population," said Mushikiwabo at the signing ceremony.

An interest-free loan of Yuan 120 million worth US $19 million has been provided to Rwanda in addition to two grants worth US $16 million.

Mushikiwabo reiterated the commitment of maintaining and promoting relations and mutual cooperation between Rwanda and China. She noted that the agreement confirms Rwanda's determination to move forward on all aspects of serious economic development of the country.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Shu Zhan noted that China will continue to strengthen the relations between the two countries.

"These three agreements reflect China's continued strong relationship with Rwanda for technical cooperation," Shu Zhan noted.

Since 2000, China has been extending its assistance and conducting cooperation activities with African countries through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) framework.

During the 2012 FOCAC Beijing Summit, the Chinese government pledged US$20 billion in concessional loans to African countries within the next three years to assist in developing infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Last year, Rwanda and China signed six economic and technical cooperation agreements during a visit by Chinese International Trade Representative and Deputy Minister of Commerce, Gao Hucheng to Rwanda.

Under the FOCAC framework, China granted Rwanda a significant number of key projects especially in the areas of health, agriculture, education and infrastructure.

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