China’s President Xi Jinping inked 15 deals including loans and grants worth millions of dollars with Rwanda on Monday as part of a whistlestop tour to cement relations with African allies.
Among the deals agreed, the value of which was not revealed, were loans for road construction, hospital renovation and the development of Rwanda’s new Bugesera airport.
As part of his first overseas trip since being re-elected in March, Xi last week visited Senegal to conclude a raft of trade accords.
He will head to Johannesburg on Tuesday for a summit of the BRICS emerging economies — Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa.
This evening, President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan to Rwanda for their two-day State Visit. pic.twitter.com/m9lGkClapg
— Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) July 22, 2018
Since taking office, Xi has overseen efforts to expand Chinese influence in Africa.
China has already provided vast sums to the continent with Beijing’s financial largesse raising fears that poor nations are unprepared for such massive debts.
“We are bound with common interest. To grow our solidarity with Africa is an important foundation for China’s foreign policy,” said Xi at a media conference where no questions were taken.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame added that the agreements showed “what is possible between our two countries.”
President Xi Jinping begins the first ever State Visit by a Chinese President to #Rwanda to further strengthen diplomatic ties. Over the last 12 years, 61 investment projects and joint ventures worth US$ 419.556 million have been registered from #China. https://t.co/Wc09wxs8if pic.twitter.com/74lqGFQzzF
— Government of Rwanda (@RwandaGov) July 23, 2018
Rwanda, which is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, had trade with China worth $157 million (134 million euros) in 2017, making Beijing one of Kigali’s largest trade partners.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also set to arrive in Kigali on Monday on his own five-day African tour which will also take him to Uganda before he heads to the BRICS summit.