Striking similarities between Rwanda and China

By Théophile Niyitegeka
On 31 December 2023 at 02:03

Rwanda and China, despite vast differences in size and population, share striking similarities. Rwanda, spanning 26,338 square kilometers, is dwarfed by China, which is approximately 364 times larger. Similarly, Rwanda’s population of 13.2 million is significantly smaller than China’s staggering 1.4 billion. Nevertheless, both nations have made remarkable progress, propelled by visionary leadership. In 2022, China’s GDP reached approximately 18.1 trillion US dollars, while Rwanda’s GDP increased to US$13.31 billion from US$11.07 billion in 2021.

Beyond commonalities in leadership and ambition, both countries share a commitment to determination, self-discipline, unity, and diligence in fostering their identity for a prosperous future.

Emerging from the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwandans unite with a shared destiny, gaining international recognition through consolidated efforts and homegrown solutions, mirroring the resilience of the Chinese people in overcoming historical adversities.

Furthermore, both nations’ similarities in development extend to significant strides in infrastructure, education, healthcare, agriculture, and social protection among others.

Rwanda’s initiatives like Vision 2020, EDPRS, and SDGs have shaped its development, with future plans like Vision 2050 and Agenda 2063 aligning with long-term aspirations. Notable reforms have improved living standards, increasing life expectancy from 51.2 in 2002 to 69.6 in 2022, while poverty rates have dropped from 60.4% in 2000 to 38.2% in 2017.

Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China’s GDP per capita has surged from $90 in the 1950s to over $12,000 today, with the effective eradication of absolute poverty nationwide. Diplomatic relations between China and Rwanda, established in 1971, underscore the leadership of Presidents Paul Kagame and Xi Jinping, setting both nations on similar development trajectories.

The bonds between RPF-Inkotanyi and the CPC highlight effective leadership, workmanship, determination, resilience, and discipline as common threads in China and Rwanda’s development.

Both nations reject foreign impositions, relying on unique homegrown solutions and a consensual model of democracy. Over 29 years, Rwanda has demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach, paralleling China’s historical trajectory.

China’s commitment to its political system has propelled it socially and economically, challenging Western preconceptions, with predictions of surpassing the United States in economic dominance.

This illustrates that democracy is not a one-size-fits-all concept, as exemplified by China and Rwanda’s homegrown approaches rooted in their unique histories.

Despite disparities, Rwanda and China share a profound commitment to their visions, showcasing the power of homegrown solutions and the adaptability of political systems.

Their distinctive paths challenge Western preconceptions, emphasizing the strength of leadership values embodied by Presidents Xi and Kagame.

China and Rwanda's distinctive paths challenge Western preconceptions, emphasizing the strength of leadership values embodied by Presidents Xi and Kagame.
Rwandans and Chinese during martial arts demonstration.