Chinese President Xi Jinping will begin a 2 day state visit today, the first ever visit by a Chinese head of state to Rwanda.
The government says the two-day visit by President Xi is meant to further strengthen relations between the two countries.
He will be in the country on Sunday and Monday.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe revealed that part of the agenda during Xi’s visit will include signing a number of agreements between the two countries.
“We will sign about 15 bilateral memorandum of understandings (MOUs) and agreements, including those related to visa exemption for diplomatic and service passport holders, culture and scientific operation, and Silk Road Economic Belt cooperation,” he said.
Other agreements expected to be signed include those aimed at strengthening cooperation in investment in e-commerce, cooperation in civil air transport, on law enforcement cooperation, and on human resource development cooperation.
The minister also told Sunday Times that they will also sign agreements in exchanges of geology survey, expansion of Masaka hospital, concessional loan to construct Huye-Kibeho road as well as a loan agreement to construct Bugesera International Airport access road project.
“This is a big visit to us,” the minister added.
President Xi will hold bilateral talks with President Paul Kagame and the two heads of states are expected to address a press conference. He will also visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Gisozi.
The Chinese head of state is also expected to meet the Chinese community in Rwanda, specifically Chinese companies operating in Rwanda.
For the past 12 years, the Chinese have initiated more than 21 investment projects worth US$420 million (about Rwf363.5 billion). They have investments in different areas like tourism, mining, hospitality and construction.
Nduhungirehe further stressed that there were ongoing negotiations seeking to clear the way for the national carrier, RwandAir, to fly to Guangzhou.
He revealed that there were optimistic that these conversations will bear fruits soon and RwandAir might start flights to China’s economic city by February 2019 even though it was earlier planned that RwandAir flights to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangdong Province would start mid-this year.
Meanwhile, Xi’s visit comes after Rwanda hosted the President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi, who left yesterday.
His visit will also be followed another landmark visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Both India and China are moving to further bolster their roles as some of the continent’s closest economic and diplomatic allies.