President Kagame was yesterday welcomed by 100 Rwandan students and young professionals in Beijing, China.
Currently there are more than 300 Rwandans in 19 cities in China. Victor Nshunguyimfura, the President of the Rwandan students association, gave an overview of the community’s accomplishments and future goals.
“Our community has committed $5000 dollars to Agaciro Fund, started an online sharing platform to transfer online courses and started Itorero. We want to thank you President for restoring our dignity. Today, we are proud to be called Rwandans.”
The President said that wherever Rwandans go, people recognize the country in them, which is defined by self-worth, unity and a common goal.”
The students in various fields including Architecture, ICT, Finance and Economy, President Kagame reminded them that their time in China should be driven by a purpose beyond their benefit and towards contributing to the development of Rwanda.
“What I ask of you is that you do not waste this opportunity because once it is lost, it is hard to get another one. It is your role to change Rwanda, to develop Rwanda with the knowledge you are gaining. No one else will do it for you. Only you can use what you learn elsewhere to advance your nation.”
Referring to the accomplishments mentioned by Victor Nshunguyimfura, President Kagame thanked the Rwandan community in China for their contribution to Agaciro Fund adding that the importance of contributing is not the amount.
“It is the decision to take an active role in one’s development and to stand together in dignity. When you see a beggar on the street, does he have dignity? It is the same for a country that lives off begging for money from elsewhere.”
President Kagame called on all those present to continue playing an active role in fast tracking the progress of Rwanda.
“When you go to school, you graduate. We should also come to a point where we graduate from aid. You are not only leaders of tomorrow but leaders of today. What you do with the opportunity you have been given defines Rwanda’s present, future and the dignity of our nation.”
Following his address, students and young professionals were given a chance to interact and ask the President questions.
One young professional and graduate of computer science, Norbert Haguma, shared his vision of constructive connection between China and Africa through an interactive platform matching needs in Africa with educational opportunities in China.
Francoise Mugwaneza stood up to tell the President about a song she wrote for him entitled ‘Shujaa’ -the hero. She thanked him for what he has done for Rwanda and personally handed him a CD with her song.
President Kagame speaks with Young Presidents Organisation (YPO) on leadership in Hong Kong (in Kinyarwanda)
President Paul Kagame with members of The Hong Kong business community. He invited them to invest in Rwanda.
President Kagame was hosted on monday to a luncheon by members of the business community in Hong Kong to discuss the multiple business opportunities Rwanda has to offer.
Introducing President Kagame, Marc Holtzman who also sits on the board of directors of the Bank of Kigali referred to Rwanda as a miracle story and described President Kagame as “a man with the vision that transformed Rwanda.”
Holtzman explained that he first learned of Rwanda’s progress when President Kagame addressed the University of Denver during his time as President of the University in 2004. It is then that his vision of Rwanda changed from a nation marked by genocide to one of admirable socio-economic transformation.
President Kagame began his address by inviting all present to be part of Rwanda’s journey. “I invite you to be part of the revival of not only Rwanda but Africa. We want to look at change in the general context of the East African Community to which we belong and of Africa,” President Kagame said.
Members of the business community who were from a variety of fields including the banking, energy and media sector were keen to learn more about Rwanda’s business environment, its educational system and the opportunities for investment in energy.
Viviane Kayitesi, Head of Investment at Rwanda Development Board explained to those present the progress that has led Rwanda to be ranked 3rd in Sub Saharan Africa at the recent World Economic Forum Competitiveness Report and the 8th easiest in doing business globally.
“The Rwanda Development Board is dedicated to fast tracking Rwanda’s economic development by facilitating private sector investment. One of our recent accomplishments includes; decreasing the time required to open a business from 24 hours to 6 hours and procedures to obtain a construction permit from 30 days to 20 days.”
Addressing the question of education, President Kagame explained that the vision responsible for shaping Rwanda’s future, Vision 2020, was largely based on investing in the education of the youth. With youth forming the majority of the Rwandan population, Rwanda has prioritized education and the creation of a capable workforce in the country.
President Kagame concluded by inviting the members of the business community to make the trip to Rwanda to witness the change that Rwandans have brought their nation.
“Seeing is believing,” he added
If we believe the news headlines, China is shoring up dictators, dispensing billions of dollars for shady deals, and destroying whole ecosystems in its quest to extract oil and minerals from Africa.
What’s to believe, what’s true?
Is China exploiting Africa for its own growth? While I was looking for something not to heavy but still adequate to post, which could light up my questions I came across a nice and short documentary. I think it gives a good insight “behind the scenes” of China’s growth.
It was produced by Al Jazeera Reporters for China’s 60th anniversary in October 2009.
I know this is not explaining the media hype on how China is preying Africa. But no matter what we read, we should keep in mind that even if Chinese aid for Africa might has grown, it is still considerably smaller than the financial flows from the West.
Clearly I do not believe in a “win-win solution” , but Chinese aid has supported industrial projects such as a textile mill, a fishnet factory, and a cocoa processing plant in the West African country. While U.S. legislation forbids aid for projects that may transfer U.S. jobs abroad, Chinese aid is actively encouraging Chinese companies in certain industries to move their factories to Africa. And while Western aid tends to fund shiny new projects, the Chinese have made consistent efforts to maintain and restore their old projects, even if this is much less glamorous.
A good Blog on the CHINA-AFRICA relationship gives Deborah Brautigams Blog . Based on her intimate relation to China and Africa, Brautigam is able to shatter many prejudice. (Check it out!!)
Also very interesting:
Read also: China the new colonialist
Watch the documentary!
this vid’ made me think it’s time I post something about China. I was looking for some sources when I found this article. I think this really gets it to the point!
(…) Twenty years ago, China’s main concern in Africa was upending the diplomatic relations enjoyed by Taiwan with numerous Sub Saharan nations. Now its unprecedented drive to take the preeminent role in continent is being fuelled by China’s vast energy, mineral and food stuff requirements.
One trend that is impossible to ignore in Sub Saharan Africa is the growing role China is taking in the continent’s affairs. Beijing is on the move in Africa — using aid, diplomacy, weapons sales and Chinese ex pats in a bid to become the preeminent power in the region.
The anecdotal evidence is everywhere. In Kigali, the big modern Chinese embassy bristles with communication antennas and dishes. Rwanda, with its paucity of natural resources, seems a surprising place for such an installation until you factor in the country’s role as the gateway to the Eastern Congo and its untold mineral wealth. It has been widely reported that China recently purchased half the farm land under cultivation in the Congo.
Roads in Nairobi, notorious for their clogged traffic circles, are being widened and repaved with large billboards telling Kenyans that the work is a gift from the people of China. The fact that the roads will ease congestion for Kenyan motorists is an afterthought to the benefactor which requires modern infrastructure to move African commodities to ports for shipment to China.
Rural South African towns that have been losing population for two decades are seeing an influx of Chinese restaurateurs and merchants. A parliamentary leader in one South African province told me that he believes that many of the small businessmen who have fanned out across his remote farming and mining constituency have ties to Chinese intelligence. In neighboring Namibia, China established its first overseas military base to track its satellite and manned space flights.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese companies are considering the purchase of interests in Nigerian oil companies, including the stakes currently held by major American companies.
China’s rapid inroads into Africa are made possible by a combination of Chinese money and a willingness by Beijing to deal with some of the world’s most unsavory leaders and human rights abusers like Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir in the Sudan. The inattention of the West to this important development has made China’s strategic initiative that much easier.
The prospect of an Africa dominated by China means that progress in human rights and democracy in the region will stall and could be reversed. While propping up dictators may make doing business there easier, it will certainly ensure that corruption will continue to flourish and Africans will continue to be oppressed. Chinese money and weapons in the hands of those who have no problem using them to steal, stifle dissent and subjugate minority tribes is a bad thing.
The United States and the West also require fair access to the vital energy supplies and strategic minerals in Africa. American policy makers have already identified West African oil reserves as a resource that can lesson our dependence on volatile Middle Eastern and Venezuelan markets. Undue Chinese political and economic influence on the continent could deny America access to these critical sources of supply in the future.
America is in a unique position to promote free men and free markets in Africa. The United States can compete with China diplomatically and commercially in the region. The United States does not carry baggage from a colonial past as do European countries. Sub Saharan Africa is a place where America remains truly popular. President Bush’s HIV/AIDS imitative was very well received. The Millennium Development Corporation is better known there than here. The United States is lead by a President of African descent, widely admired on the continent, and American pop culture rules in Africa.
To stem the Chinese tide and to give Africans the opportunity to have a better future, the United States must strongly advocate for human rights, democracy and freedom on the continent. We cannot be reticent to criticize African strongmen in forums such as the UN. The people of Africa are not looking for our apologies; they are looking for us to bolster them as they struggle against tyranny and corruption.
We should support those countries such as Botswana, Rwanda and South Africa that are committed democracies and nurture those such as Liberia that are making progress in the right direction with increased trade, investment and tourism. The budget of the Millennium Development Corporation can be increased and focused on Africa. America should remain at the forefront of funding HIV/AIDS, polio vaccination and anti-malaria programs on the continent. All of the foregoing programs have broad bipartisan support.
Further, the Africom HQ needs to move from Frankfurt to Africa. The HQ would immediately provide the host country with an economic boost. It would also allow us to work closely on the ground with the AU on peace keeping logistics and training. Having our HQ in the region will encourage friends and cause the foes of freedom to be nervous. It will also demonstrate our ability to project power in a way the Chinese still cannot.
An African renaissance requires democracy, transparency and respect for human rights. A free and transparent Africa will be a friendly place for the United States and a partner in trade and culture long into the future. An Africa dominated China is unlikely to be such a partner. The time for America to fully engage in Africa is now! (…)
source (Robert O’ Brien for CBSnews)