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Inside upcoming projects emanating from fruitful relations between Hungary, Rwanda

By Emmanuel Ndahayo
On 16 November 2021 at 04:24

The Government of Rwanda and Hungary recently signed US$52 million credit line to help the Water and Sanitation Corporation Limited (WASAC) fast track the implementation of projects aimed at increasing water access in different parts of Kigali City.

The agreement was signed on Wednesday 10th November 2021 during a ceremony held in Kigali City. Rwanda was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta while Hungary was represented by the visiting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó.

The funds will be utilized to expand and increase the production capacity of Karenge Water Treatment plant located in Rwamagana District.

In addition to increased production, it is expected that the credit line will also be utilized to build six-kilometer water supply network while Hungarian companies will contribute to the implementation of the project.

These companies will intervene in budget planning, supervision and digitization among others.

According to Szijjártó, the agreement also opens doors for Hungarian technology in the expansion of water supply networks to one of developing African nations noting that Hungary is ready to explore investment opportunities in Africa.

During his stay in Rwanda, he also met with officials from different ministries with whom they discussed ways to deepen both countries’ cooperation.

Péter Szijjártó has served as the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade since 2014.

The Minister also had time to attend the press conference, in which he revealed more projects that are still under the pipeline, as both countries look for ways to benefits from each other’s expertise.

Addressing members of the press recently, Szijjártó responded to different questions and shed light on more projects under pipeline as both countries seek to share expertise and strengthen cooperation based on mutual respect.

Excerpts:

What are the terms of agreements for this loan and how will it be utilized?

Hungary has very highly developed water management and water industry technologies. These technologies can be offered very bravely to Rwanda to improve the level of standard here when it comes to supply of drinkable water.

That’s why we agreed on this credit program, which is the biggest of Hungary in Africa. The US$52 million will be used to modernize and extend the capacities of the water treatment plant of Kigali from 15 000 to 36 000 cubic meters on a daily basis.

Hungarian companies are ready to provide the engineering and planning functions, the technical support. Products and technologies which are going to be applied here, will be developed in Hungary.

The Minister of Infrastructure here informed us that the bid is going to be announced in Rwanda, and then followed by an announcement in Budapest, Hungary. So, we count on one and half to two years long execution phase, after which the drinkable water supplied in Kigali will be to a much higher level of standard.

Can we expect more Hungarian investment in other sectors in Rwanda?

Yes, we are already negotiating with your Ministry of Finance about the involvement of Hungarian companies in the framework of reconstructing a hospital in the Western part of your country. These are companies, especially interested in coming to invest in Rwanda in field of IT, manufacturing of medicines and alternative energy generation.

So, these companies will take advantage of another loan program offered by Exim Bank Hungary, US$46 million credit loan has been open for these companies to invest on market-bases here in Rwanda.

How about Rwanda’s investment in Hungary?

Definitely, we would like to welcome the presence of Rwandan companies and Rwandan economy in Central part of Europe. In order to achieve that, we signed the agreement on the cooperation on civic aviation that the first air connection between Rwanda and Central European region could be launched between Rwanda and Hungary. This is a very important pre-condition.

We have agreed also on exchanging diplomats in order to make well here among the young people and among the population as it is. We have also offered 20 scholarships to Rwandan students on an annual basis in Hungarian universities, fully financed by the Hungarian state, and there is a growing demand for that.

This year, we received 319 applications for those 20 spots, this shows that Rwandan young people would like to come to know Hungary, which is a great news for us.

Why did it take to establish relationship relations between both countries?

Before 2010, the current opposition party was in power, they just concentrated on the Western side of Europe and on the Trans-Atlantic relationship in their foreign policy strategy.

Since we have been in power, we have introduced two strategies: Eastern opening and Southern opening, and in the framework of Southern opening, we put much emphasis on African countries. And we understand that big development program should take place in Africa in order to avoid big outflow of people from this region.

You know Hungary and the whole European Union has been faced with tremendous challenges of massive illegal migration, and we know that in order to avoid further waves, we have to bring development programs to these countries, which are the basis resources of migration. That’s why we are happy that [we have partnerships] with Rwanda, Seychelles, Egypt, Morocco, Cape Verde, we have a wide range of programs for economic development.

Although we could have come earlier but now we are speeding the process, trying to make up some time.

What’s the secret for Hungarian development?

The key for our economic success has been the application of the low tax rates. The lowest tax rate of Europe has to be paid in Hungary. This helps investors to come and this helps new jobs to be created.

In our economic policy, we concentrate on job creation, because we know that when you provide jobs to the people, you can provide long term foreseeable perspective in the future. If you give aid to the people that put them in a different position. So, ensuring the job creation to be successful, ensuring opportunities more and more investors to come and create jobs, I think that’s the best way an economy can be developed.

This is what we have been doing in the last 11 years and it’s proven to be successful. 11 years ago, Hungarian economy was at the edge of falling down. Since then, because of low tax rate, because of flat tax, because of encouraging investors to come, we are among the countries with high growth rate in Europe and the globally also.

Péter Szijjártó, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade met with Minister Biruta during his stay in Rwanda.
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó also held talks with Rwanda's Minister of Trade and Industry, Beata Habyarimana.

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