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The Rwandan Embassy in China on Wednesday hosted a one-day Industrial Development Forum to woo Chinese entrepreneurs to Rwanda.

The event attracted over 30 major entrepreneurs in the fields of agriculture, construction, IT, Trade and Industry.

Speaking at the event in Beijing, Rwanda’s envoy to China, Amb. Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, acknowledged the Chinese government for supporting the economic development of Rwanda.

“We encourage you to come and invest in Rwanda. We are ready to work with you,” he said.

Amb. Kayonga added that China is a principal player in Rwanda’s development, and cooperation can only get better.

“China has the means and the will to invest and we have the opportunities and a good investment climate,” he said.

Trade between Rwanda and China has been on a stable growth over the last five years. Total trade volume stood at $240 million in 2013.

From investments in small scale manufacturing since 2009, Chinese entrepreneurs have made a foray into capital intensive sectors like real estate development.

Albert Rugaba, Rwanda Development Board’s representative in China said one of the biggest developers in Rwanda is from Shenzhen, South China.

Under New Century Development Ltd, the Shenzhen entrepreneur has invested an estimated $160 million in the construction of a five star hotel, Executive Apartments and Villas in the City of Kigali, according to Rugaba.

This is by far the biggest private investment from China.

“I think we can get much more. We would also like to see greater involvement of the private sector. We would like to see the Private Sector Federation organising high level delegations to come and interact with their Chinese counterparts,” Rugaba said

During the meeting, Chinese entrepreneurs should interest to invest in agriculture machinery, real estate and financial services sector among others.

One company intends to invest in solar power generation and setting up a solar panel distribution company in Rwanda. According to Rugaba, this would be a key investment.

“Our people want to adopt the use of solar panels but they are worried about maintenance, We would like to address this gap,” he said.

Zhang Lu, the President of the Private Enterprise Information Association that brings together 57 million small and large private Chinese companies, rallied Chinese entrepreneurs to consider Rwanda as an investment destination that offers good returns.

“I am very confident of this two way approach for doing business. Rwanda is the most promising investment destination, it is small in size but has great potential as an investment destination,” he said.

Rugaba said Asia is a new emerging destination for Rwandans who have been doing business with the US and other European countries.

Rwanda exports Tin, Wolfram, tantalite, tea coffee, hides and skins to China, raking in USD$114million.

The New Times