The leaders of the world’s two largest emerging economies have both just visited the tiny, landlocked African country of Rwanda – separately – and showed themselves to be friends with deep pockets.
Chinese President Xi Jinping landed in Rwanda’s capital Kigali on Sunday, where he met with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame.
China granted Rwanda a loan of $126 million for the building of two roads, the latter country’s Minister of Finance Uzziel Ndagijimana told Reuters.
On Monday evening, after Xi’s departure earlier in the day, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched down in Kigali. Meetings resulted in the signing of two loan agreements each worth $100 million, for investment in agriculture and the development of special economic zones.
The meetings signified the first time a Chinese or Indian leader has visited Rwanda.
China and India are the world’s two most populous nations, with 1.6 billion and 1.3 billion inhabitants respectively. India is likely to be the world’s fastest growing major economy in 2018, a mantle China once held. The latter is now the world’s second largest economy after the U.S.
Rwanda’s recent history has been marked by civil war and ethnic conflict. It was ravaged by the genocide of its Tutsi ethnic group in 1994, in which over half a million people were killed. Home to approximately 12 million people, it is now in the process of transitioning into a middle income economy and reducing its dependence on foreign aid. The East African country is also promoting itself as a technology hub.