Situated at UNILAK University in the East African Region, this branch aims to facilitate research across various fields, particularly in the domains of natural resource development and environmental protection.
The official inauguration of the center took place on November 8, 2023, during an international conference hosted by UNILAK that brought together researchers from different countries.
The Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda, Wang Xuekun, highlighted the strong research-focused partnership between the two nations as the driving force behind choosing Rwanda as the location for the center.
"We are delighted to announce the formal opening of the China-Africa Joint Research Center. This institution will play a crucial role in researching Rwanda and fostering the relationship between the two countries," stated Wang Xuekun.
President Xi Jinping had previously emphasized that the Sino-Africa Joint Research Center is dedicated to the development of African countries through collaboration with universities on the continent and in China.
Prof. Wang Qing Feng, the Executive Director of the Sino-Africa Joint Research Center (SAJOREC), expressed optimism that establishing the office in Kigali would support regional countries in their research endeavors.
Rwandan researchers anticipate gaining access to modern tools, as Dr. Christophe Mupenzi, Head of the Department of Environment at UNILAK University, highlighted the potential for learning and technological advancements.
UNILAK Vice Chancellor, Prof. Jean Ngamije, emphasized the positive impact of the center on environmental research in the region. Rwandan researchers, showcasing progress in their work during the conference, acknowledged the nation’s advancements in research and their active participation in diverse research areas.
Prof. Mapendo Mindje from the University of Rwanda, specializing in biodiversity research in Rwanda, noted the country’s transition from foreign-led research to active Rwandan involvement. However, challenges such as limited capacity, inadequate data storage methods, and gaps in implementing research findings persist.
Dr. Rose Mukankomeje, the Director General of Higher Education Council, urged Rwandan researchers in environmental protection to seize available opportunities and focus on generating original, impactful research to contribute to conservation and overall development.