A group of investors from China’s Zhenjiang Province has expressed interest in establishing light manufacturing plants in Rwanda to produce textiles.
Although the date and investment monies are yet to be disclosed, the group of 20 Chinese investors met Rwandan government officials yesterday to discuss available opportunities and incentives.
The team also included top Chinese experts.
The head of the delegation, Justin Yifu Lin, a former chief economist and Senior Vice president at the World Bank, now a professor of Economics at University of Peking, China, said at a media briefing that investors want to tap into Rwanda’s labor force by creating factories that provide employment to thousands.
“Every country needs to give leverage to what they have in abundance. Rwanda has a large and growing labour force which is trained but no marching jobs. What the investors from China want is to create profitable light factories that will manufacture products like socks, ties and clothes,” Lin said.
Helen Hai, an expert on China-Africa Investments, said that they were impressed by what Rwanda had implemented to facilitate investments, giving acclaim to existing business friendly procedures and steady infrastructural development.
“There is potential in Rwanda and what we want is a win-win situation. We have learnt about Rwanda’s tax policies and liberal trade values. We are going to discuss and proceed with investing,” she said.
Welcoming the development, Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Operations Officer of RDB, said trade between Rwanda and China is still relatively small but has potential to grow.
“What the Chinese investors are targeting is a reduced cost of production. We agreed that they begin with manufacturing light products such as socks and ties, which in effect will offer employment to many Rwandans,” Akamanzi said.
Rwanda has witnessed increased Chinese investment over the last five years, with over US$219 million invested in sectors like construction, tourism and agriculture.
Some notable investments include two five star hotels; the US$162 million Eagle on the Lake Hotel on the banks of Lake Muhazi in the Eastern Province and US$67 million Marriot Hotel in Kigali.
Star Media Africa, a pay tv company with presence in Rwanda, is also a Chinese investiment.
Chinese investors eye textile industry