Rwanda’s coffee, tea and crafts attracted overwhelming attention at the Hunan- African Goods Day exhibition in Hunan Province, South China.
The expo was organised by the Hunan provincial government to promote African products and businesses, mainly agricultural, wood and leather products.
Speaking at the trade fair, Rwanda’s ambassador to China, Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga said that other than coffee, tea and handicrafts, Rwandan culture also impressed showgoers.
“We screened videos showing Kinyarwanda dance, literature, tourism and music, which excited visitors,” he said.
Kayonga said Rwanda welcomes Chinese businesses and tourists to visit the country, saying Rwanda is stable and safe and ready for business.
The ambassador lauded efforts by the Chinese government toward development support of African countries.
“We have reviewed the tax regime and business laws to attract more investors. The Rwandan people are very warm and our conservation efforts over time make us one of the best countries to visit in Africa,” Kayonga added.
He urged the Rwandan private sector to take advantage of the big market China provides.
“As Rwandans, we should look at China as a big export market for Made-in-Rwanda products. Therefore, participating in these exhibitions and seminars widens the market for home-made products,” he said.
In his opening remarks, Chen Wenhao, the mayor of Changsha City, the capital of Hunan Province, said the exhibition was part of the belt and road initiative promoted by Chinese president Xi Jinping to support infrastructure development and facilitate trade connectivity between China, Asia, Africa and Europe.
Chen urged African governments to continue supporting Chinese businesses on the continent, saying the Asian country promotes political, economic and cultural exchanges between China and Africa to contribute to the continent’s development agenda.
Francoise Mukagihana, one of the Rwandans at the expo, told The New Timesthat Rwanda still needs to aggressively market its potential in the Chinese market.
Mukahigana urged the local Private Sector Federation to always provide Chinese businessmen information about Rwanda to attract investment into the country.
Mukagihana said she attended the exhibition on a trial basis, but noted that it provided an opportunity to make valuable contacts for possible future partnerships with Chinese businessmen and companies. She also made some profit, she added.
The trade fair attracted 15 African countries – Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Rwanda, South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Senegal, and Zimbabwe.