Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Huajian Group, a Chinese business and investment company specialising in shoe manufacturing. Huajian Group is owned by Zhang Huarong and it specializes in production of high- and middle-end women’s shoes with three production bases, including one in Ethiopia. The agreement will see the company establish a factory that will be producing shoes, clothes, bags as well as electronic equipment.
Zhang Huarong has invested in Ethiopia and now produce shoes worth over $30 million. His success has shown him that Africa is a place where you can make high quality exports for products consumed by markets like in the US, says Clare Akamanzi, the RDB chief executive.
Zhang says, his company’s 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. Zhang is interested in investing in electronics and IT development, creating jobs and boosting Made-in-Rwanda exports. He also plans to produce cell phones, air conditioners and computers.
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. In April, Zhang stated that, they expect to have put up the manufacturing plant, and that 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.
RDB points out, the total estimated amount of Chinese investments registered in Rwanda is equivalent to $103 million and the total jobs registered from these investments is 5,425.