China: Huajian Group, a Chinese business and investment company specialising in shoe manufacturing owned by Zhang Huarong with three production bases, including one in Ethiopia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to set up textile factory in Rwanda.
Huajian Group joins a list of other Chinese companies in textile sector operating in the country one of which is C&H Garments Factory, which is one of the country’s fastest growing textiles firms currently making police uniforms, safety vests, and most recently military kit. The agreement is part of the company’s expansion plans in East Africa.
Clare Akamanzi, the RDB chief executive said that Africa is a place where you can make high quality exports for products consumed by markets like in the US. Rwanda is one of the most attractive places to do business and much like any European country because there’s high efficient government with proper management, the next factory to be in Rwanda will serve as centre for East Africa.
The agreement will see the company establish a factory that will be producing shoes, clothes, bags as well as electronic equipment. According to Zhang, company plans to invest over $1 billion for the next 10 years and create over 20,000 jobs.
Zhang expressed confidence about his future investment in Rwanda as he believes the country’s development strategy is quite similar to China’s strategy in producing high end products and increasing exports. Politics is steady, the leadership of this Government is efficient.
In April, Zhang said that they expect to have put up the manufacturing plant, and they plan to train about 200 Rwandans before the end of the year. He highlighted plans to invest and build five light industrial parks in the developing countries of Africa in the next 10 years, producing and processing clothing, shoes and hats, bags and suitcases, electronics and other light industrial products, and will in the process provide 100,000 job opportunities.
In the last six years (2011-16), Rwanda has witnessed an unprecedented number of Chinese investments especially in the areas of tourism, ICT, construction, agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructural development.
The total estimated amount of Chinese investments registered in Rwanda is equivalent to $103 million, according to RDB. The total jobs registered from these investments is 5,425.
According to RDB officials, the Government has already availed land at the Kigali Special Economic Zone and they believe Zhang’s investment will contribute to export diversification, which is in line with the country’s vision. They are confident that Zhang’s commitment to invest in Rwanda will diversify and improve exports of finished products.