Rwanda and Chinese firm partnered to set up modern garment factory, thousands of create jobs

KIGALI, Rwanda—On Friday, May 10, 2019, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) signed an agreement with a Chinese firm, Pink Mango C&D, to establish a “modern” garment factory in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda.

According to the Rwandan government department said in a statement, the proposed factory which will be built and located in Kigali Special Economic zone will produce garments for both the domestic and export markets.

Local and international labor market sources say the Chinese firm is expected to provide 7,500 jobs for Rwandans by the fifth year and create cumulative export earnings of 20 million U.S. dollars over the next five years.

It is also expected to build capacity and skills transfer to 500 workers of local garment cooperatives, who will also benefit from some of supply contracts through an outsourcing model, according to a statement from the Rwandan government.

The historic investment of the Chinese firm will increase the skills of Rwandans in garments manufacturing and fashion designs, giving them access to productive jobs and better standard of living, said RDB deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel Hategeka.

“The investment will not only enable the central African country to increase its exports but also reduce imports of clothing as the country has been using fiscal measures to progressively discourage the importation of second-hand clothes,” Hategeka said.

Prior to the deal, Rwandan president Paul Kagame and the country’s politicians had believed that the importation of second-hand clothes was hurting the growth of the country’s domestic textile and garment industry as well as hindering job creation.

In June last year, the Rwandan government said that it maintained its stance that the East African country would stick to the decision to discourage the import of used clothes, in order to promote “Made in Rwanda” products, after the United States suspended duty-free status for Rwandan apparel products under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

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Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens is a researcher, media issues analyst and senior contributor with Globe Afrique.
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