Rwanda’s Flag carrier airline, Rwandair is set to launch direct flights to Guangzhou, China on the 18th of June, 2019. The new flight routes to Guangzhou will be operated thrice weekly, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays using a three-class Airbus A330 aircraft. The A330 will possess a free WiFi, in-flight entertainment and comfortable seats with more legroom as the flight takes off to Guangzhou.
Guangzhou is one of China’s most visited tourist sites with the iconic canton tower and Guangzhou Chimelong tourist resort. Rwandair’s new direct route into the heart of the Asian continent will promote the tourism sector of the East African country, which already has an existing relationship with China.
Both countries established a diplomatic relationship as far back as 1971 and since then, China’s footprint into the landlocked country has not known any limit. In key sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, health, China has supported and partnered with Rwanda.
In 2018, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) signed a deal with a Chinese investor Huajian Group to install a manufacturing plant in the Sub-Saharan nation. The government also signed a $50million loan agreement from China’s Exim Bank to expand the road leading to Bugesera International Airport, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2019.
More than 50 Chinese companies such as Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG) Ltd, multi-building services, construction, and concrete works company, have projects in the East African state.
Many analysts have doubts about China’s strong ties in Rwanda, with many questions being raised about its growing influence; Is China’s interest in Rwanda, and Africa at large a win through development or a strategy towards new colonialism?
In the Forum on Africa-China Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Beijing last year, Rwandan President Kagame commented on these ties, “Our growing ties with China do not come at anyone’s expense. The gains are enjoyed by all who do business with us. Building the capacity of African institutions to transact and monitor more effectively is what will make the biggest difference”, he said.
President Kagame’s affirmation seemed to pass a vote of confidence on this union between both states. Their strong cooperation has paid off bountifully for them and could spur better working relations in the future, beginning with these direct flights.