Rwanda, Chinese bank sign financing agreement
BEIJING – The final agreement to pave way for the disbursement of funds to start the construction of Rusizi-Rubavu highway, through Karongi District, was signed yesterday in Beijing, China.
The Minister of Finance, John Rwangombwa, signed the US$116 million loan deal, together with Sun Ping, the Vice President of Export Import Bank of China (Exim Bank).
The Exim Bank is set to finance the construction of the 66 kilometre road that connects to a transnational road to Burundi, Tanzania through Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
At the signing, Rwangombwa was flanked by Rwanda’s Ambassador to China, Francois Xavier Ngarambe, and Second Counsellor Virgile Rwanyagatare.
“We are pleased to finalise this agreement and we hope the project will kick off as soon as possible. We have many projects in the pipeline and this lays a foundation for the signing of more and more deals,” said Rwangombwa.
He said the scheme is very important since it connects Rwanda to regional countries which he said would streamline trade in the region.
Last week, the Chinese embassy in Kigali signed the framework agreement with the government of Rwanda to finance the Rusizi-Rubavu highway. The facility is a soft loan to be paid within 20 years, and carries an interest rate of 1.5 per cent per year with a grace period of seven years.
The Finance Minister said the country is still virgin for investments most especially in infrastructure in the areas of air transport, water and agriculture, among others.
He said the five priority areas that will be supported by the Chinese government in the next three years in Africa are in line with government’s goals.
On Thursday, 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.
The five areas to be supported by the Asian giant include peace and security, medical and health cooperation, agricultural technology, capacity building and African integration process.
According to the Vice President of Exim Bank, Rwanda is a good country to invest in due to its very fast growth on the continent.
“We want to expand our business to Rwanda and this agreement paves the way for us to come and invest in your beautiful country,” he said.
“We look forward to sign more and more projects with Rwanda but this will depend on the more cooperation we will be accorded by your country.”
Ping stated that they are committed to support the economic development of the country due to the fact that the China-Africa cooperation has laid a foundation for them.
The national budget of 2012/13 highlights Kivu-Belt road as among the priority projects.
Some of the national infrastructures that have previously been built with support of China, include, Amahoro National Stadium, several roads in Kigali, the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, schools, hospitals, among others.
Contact email: frank.kanyesigye[at]newtimes.co.rw