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The East African : January 27th 2014
10 CHINESE ONSLAUGHT The EastAfrican NEWS JANUARY 25-31,2014 China in Rwanda: Big projects, jobs and skills for the locals Chinese fi≥ms have won majo≥ const≥uction deals f≥om both the gove≥nment and the p≥ivate secto≥ By BERNA NAMATA The EastAfrican into Kigali, targeting mainly infrastructure projects. Through Chinese invest- C ments in the country currently estimated at $358.7 million with most of the investments in accommodation and food, Chinese firms have won major construction deals from both the government and the private sector. These include the construc- tion of the soon-to-be opened five-star Kigali Marriot Hotel in which Chinese firm New Century Development is investing over $55 million. While it will be managed by Marriott Group in accordance with a 30-year contract, the hotel is constructed and owned by New Century Development Ltd – a joint venture between Chinese investors (75 per cent) and a local partner (25 per cent). New Century Development deputy chief executive and head of finance Solomon Adede said the Chinese investors are positioning themselves in virgin markets like Rwanda for the long term. “The Chinese partnership has grown from the hotel to the training centre and they are committed to invest more,” Mr Adede said, refer- $358.7m The stimated value of Chinese investment in Rwanda hinese firms are increasingly making inroads KEY PARTNER The Chinese have also helped train local staff. Picture: Cyril Ndegeya ring to the ongoing construction of a training centre which will be managed by Marriott. NCD will also be constructing luxury apartments under the same project. Mr Adede said the Chinese had to bring in skilled manpower at the beginning of the project. However, they have trained local staff over time. “We are not on the same level of development with them. When we started the project, there were quite a number of Chinese coming in but as they trained, the number of locals increased. They are transferring that knowledge to us because more than 50 per cent (of the labour force) are Rwandans,” Mr Adede said. More projects In 2009, Beijing Construc- tion Engineering Group (BCEG) won the tender to build one of government’s key strategic investments – the over $300 million Kigali Convention Centre, a multipurpose arena that will host 2,600 people and a 292-room five-star hotel that will be managed by Radisson Group of Hotels. In 2011, during a visit by China’s Vice-Minister of Commerce, Gao Hucheng, financial agreements worth $18 million were signed with the government. In the same visit, exchange letters were signed that could see the Chinese construct a Rwanda Government Administrative Complex under the Kigali City Roads Construction Project. Included in the agreement are the Rwanda Agriculture Demonstration Centre at Rubona and the 150-bed Rwanda Polyclinic at Masaka Hospital. Chinese ambassador Shen Yongxiang said co-operation between the two countries was part of wider China-Africa relations. INVESTOR: According to a study by the National Bank of Rwanda, China was the fourth source of foreign investments at the end of 2010, behind Mauritius, Luxembourg and Kenya. China contribute seven per cent of total foreign direct investment. EMPLOYMENT: Chinese enterprises have helped create about 3,000 jobs. AREAS OF FOCUS: Construction, ICT, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructural development. “Now, the common task between China and African countries is economic development,” he said. Other Chinese investments in Rwanda include Star Communication in telecommunication, BCEG Rwanda Ltd and Everlasting Ltd, which are both in construction and real estate, and Rwanda Mining Associated. Activists want death penalty abolished By ADAM IHUCHA Special Correspondent TANZANIAN ACTIVISTS are up against the death penalty clause that has been retained in the second draft unveiled to President Jakaya Kikwete by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) a fortnight ago. According to Article 72 (1) (k): “The president in his position as the Head of State shall have the power and duties to, among others, (k) endorse the execution of the death penalty as issued in accordance to the laws of the country.” Annah Mghwira, a hu- man-rights activist said that the clause contradicts Article 24, which guarantees one’s right to life and protection from the state and the community in accordance with the laws of the country. She said that they are weighing options to push through the Constituent Assembly due to convene next month to abolish the capital sentence. The Legal and Human Right Centre executive director Dr Helen Kijo said that members of the Constituent Assembly ought to amend the article and replace the death penalty with life imprisonment. Statistics from Tanzania Prison Services show that as of October 15, 2013, there were 364 inmates on death row. According to the legal commissioner, Dr Juma Malewa, 86 of the death row inmates have appealed before the Court of Appeal Tanzania However, legal experts say that few cases are decided in favour of appellants. In the first post-Inde- pendence government, a few death sentences were carried out. However, presidents Benjamin Mkapa and Kikwete have never signed an execution order. “In the view of human- rights activists, the presidents’ action could mean an unwritten moratorium by Tanzania in response to international criticism,” said Elifuraha Laltaika, a law lecturer at Tumaini Makumira University. “In democratic societies, the death penalty is regarded as a barbaric form of punishment” Laltaika said. The United Nations and other human rights institutions condemn the death penalty as cruel and inhuman. Amnesty International has urged countries to abolish death penalty. Stockholm declaration During its 1977 confer- ence in Stockholm, AI adopted a declaration on the abolition of the death penalty. The Stockholm confer- ence on the Abolition of the Death Penalty comprised 200 delegates and participants from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America and the Caribbean region. However, the Law Reform Commission of Tanzania conducted a survey on the abolition of the death penalty in 1993 and found that the majority of Tanzanians prefer its retention in the laws. The death penalty was introduced in Mainland Tanzania under the Colonial rule. In Mainland Tanzania, offences that attract capital punishment are murder pursuant to sections 196 and 197 of Penal Code, (Cap. 16). However, the court can apply its discetionary powers when it comes to treason. Despite its c≥iticism, US still Rwanda’s ally By KEVIN J KELLEY Special Correspondent THE OBAMA administration reacted in unusually critical terms last week to the Rwandan president’s barbed threats against dissidents, but analysts in Washington express doubt that the US is distancing itself from a key African ally. “We are troubled by the succession of what appear to be politically motivated murders of prominent Rwandan exiles,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. The US comments were made fol- lowing the murder in South Africa of Patrick Karegeya, the former head of Rwanda’s foreign-intelligence service and a strong critic of the Kagame gov- ernment. Rwanda denies responsibility for Mr Karegeya’s death, but President Paul Kagame seemed to welcome it. Persons “undermining Rwanda usually faces serious consequences wherever they are,” he declared. The US has cultivated close relations with Rwanda in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. Kagame has emerged during the past 20 years as one of the African rulers most favoured by the US. Washington has given Kigali more than $1 billion in development assistance during that time, making the US by far the most important of Rwanda’s donors and political supporters. But the relationship has been sour- ing due to Rwandan actions that the US views unfavourably. “US policy is caught between two conflicting narratives,” observes Africa analyst Richard Downie. “On one side there’s the good Rwanda that has achieved impressive economic growth and social development in the aftermath of a catastrophe. On the other, there’s the bad Rwanda that is led by a tyrannical person.” The Obama administration made a mildly punitive move last year by withholding $200,000 in military aid in response to strong evidence of Rwandan support for rebel fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwanda has denied such involvement and takes a combative stance at the United Nations in response to criticisms of its policy choices.
January 20th 2014
February 3rd 2014