By David Himbara
Back-to-back in July 2018, President Paul Kagame received leaders of world’s 2nd and 6th largest economies — China’s President Xi Jinping and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, respectively. The two visiting heads of state signed with the Kagame government loans totaling US$326 Million.
Indian loans are for irrigation development
The Indian portion of the financing is a US$200 Million loan to support two projects — namely, irrigation and developing economic zones. As the Rwandan Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Uzziel Ndagijimana, explained, “with India we signed a loan of $100 million for irrigation in three separate areas in the country and $100 million for developing special economic zones.”
Chinese loans are for roads
For his part, China’s President Xi Jinping signed two loans worth US$126 Million. The two loans are for road construction. Finance Minister Ndagijimana stated that ”with China we signed a loan agreement of 76 million dollars for the road from Huye to Kibeho and for the new Bugesera airport access road it is 50 million dollars.”
These are good projects — unlike the usual Kagame mega white elephants.
Let us hope that the US$200 Million Indian loan will revive the long-dead Rwanda Irrigation Master Plan currently gathering dust in the agriculture ministry. The Chinese loan should finally tarmac the long-neglected Kibeho-Huye road that traps this part of Rwanda into poverty.