Rwanda-China Alumni to Set Up Rwf1.5 Billion Exchange Center

8 September 2019

Rwanda-China Alumni Organization, a platform founded by Rwandans who studied in China, is set to establish a Techno-Cultural Exchange Centre in Kigali to train Rwandans on small scale manufacturing.

The initiative is aimed to encourage the exchange of technology, innovations, and culture between Rwanda and China.

Theoneste Higaniro, the Chairman of the organisation, which has over 600 members, said the centre will also help Rwandans to learn from China's journey of transformation.

He was appearing on Rwanda Broadcasting Agency on Sunday where he said that since the reforms in 1978, China has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $13.28 trillion in 2018.

"Through the alumni platform, we share opportunities available both in Rwanda and China basing on what we studied there," Higaniro said, adding that China's transformation journey offers a lot of lessons to Rwanda.

This month the country will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of The People's Republic of China.

"As a long-term vision, we seek to establish Techno-Cultural Exchange Centre in Masaka, Kicukiro District where we have already secured 2,800 Square Kilometres. The centre, which will require at least Rwf1.5 billion, will be providing skills in manufacturing and ICT sectors," Higaniro said.

He added that they are currently mobilising funds for the centre, which will be constructed in two phases; one for technology exchange and the second for cultural exchange.

"We are currently working on the design of the centre. Besides providing skills in small scale industries, it will also have a conference hall. We will be using experts, scholars from China and those with set up industries such as garments factories, construction in Rwanda to provide the skills," he said.

Rwanda continues to be a favourable destination for Chinese businesses, especially in light manufacturing, agro-processing, construction and mining.

In the last five years, more than 50 Chinese enterprises opened shop in Rwanda with an investment value of $250 million.

"We will soon host a job fair, gathering graduates who studied in China and Chinese companies in Rwanda so that we link them for job opportunities in their companies," Higaniro disclosed.

The alumni also collect funds to support vulnerable people across the country.

"We urge students who go to study in China to first assess Rwanda's problems and learn from China how to seek solutions to such problems when back in their country," he noted.

Protais Musoni, the Chairman Pan Africanism Movement (PAM) Rwanda Chapter said Rwanda was keen on strengthening relations with China.

"We can learn from China's transformation journey and contextualize it to Rwanda," he said.

Benjamin Gasamagera, a businessman who lived in China said: "The culture of customer care, service delivery, hard-work, working on a deadline, leadership are better lessons to learn from China in order to boost business and national economic development in general."

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