Hungary launches its largest yet African aid program in Rwanda

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó (L) and his Rwandan counterpart Vincent Biruta in Kigali on November 10, 2021. (Facebook)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Hungary is launching an aid program in Rwanda that will provide $52 million in loans, the largest-ever Hungarian program ever launched in Africa, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced in Kigali on Tuesday.

The head of the ministry spoke at a press conference with his Rwandan colleague Vincent Biruta that the development of Kigali’s water management facilities will take place with more than half of the work carried out by Hungarian companies. Part of the project is the renovation and expansion of the water treatment plant in the capital, during which Hungarian companies will not only participate in the planning phase, but will also provide technical supervision of the installation of Hungarian-made equipment.

Among other things, the equipment will be modernized, daily capacity will be increased from 15,000 to 36,000 cubic meters, and a 6-kilometer-long pipeline network will be built. As a result, Hungarian technologies are gaining new opportunities in one of Africa’s fastest-growing markets, while helping to improve local living conditions, the minister pointed out.

He emphasized that the markets of African countries have huge opportunities for Hungarian companies with advanced technologies, therefore the government supports investments in Africa and is looking to contribute to raising the standard of living in Rwanda.

Szijjártó said that in response to a request from the Rwandan government, Hungary is donating 300,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine to Rwanda (200,000 from AstraZeneca and 100,000 from Sinopharm), which will speed up the vaccination campaign and save lives. He noted that Hungary has enough vaccines for everyone to take the first, second and third vaccinations by a large margin of safety, which enables the government to help other states in a more difficult situation.

Szijjártó emphasized that the pandemic clearly showed the interdependence of the countries of the world, regardless of geographical distances, and reminded him that Rwanda helped repatriate Hungarian citizens during the first wave.

“Now that we can help, we help. This is the normal way of cooperation based on mutual respect,” he said.

He also emphasized that the opening of a consular representation in Kigali could also promote the significantly expanding bilateral cooperation between the two countries. He also reported that 319 Rwandan students applied for the current 20 scholarship places in Hungary, which is a good indication of the high level of interest.

Szijjártó is the first Hungarian foreign minister to pay an official visit to Rwanda.

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