Rwanda hopes to strengthen its bilateral relations with China, as the Chinese envoy Henry Rao Hongwei has promised a ready market for Rwanda’s coffee and tea exports.

The Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda made the remarks during his visit to Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company (RFCC) in Kigali.

According to 2014 trade figures from the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA),  the total trade between Rwanda and China stood at $367 million, up from $245 million in 2013 which represented a 50 per cent increase year on year. Figures from Chinese Customs showed that between January and September 2014, Rwanda exported goods worth $62 million to China.

The United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade, Rwanda exports to China was $4.8 Million during 2016, a significant decrease from the previous year’s stats of almost $14 million. Cumulatively, in the same year, Rwanda exported $869 million and imported $2.05 billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of $1.18 billion, cited by atlas.media.

China remains to be Rwanda’s largest trade partner, and the healthy relationship has resulted in more foreign direct investment from the Asian nation. The powerhouse continues to be in a one-upmanship game with India, another strong investor in Rwanda. The U.S is a significant contributor in the economy as well.

As Rwanda foresees to export 24,500 tonnes of coffee by the end of 2018, the country needs a bigger market for its commodities to reap maximum benefits from the activity. Last year, the country exported 23,000 tonnes with Switzerland, USA, Singapore, UK and Belgium cited as main destinations.

Rwanda produces one of the best coffee quality in the world, giving Southern American coffee producers including Brazil tough competition in the global market. Rwanda’s tea and coffee have gained a strong reputation with their top-notch production.

The Chinese Ambassador vowed to lure more investors in Rwanda’s economy to seize the potential business opportunities in the East African country.

SOURCE: TradeMark East Africa