Chinese garment factory contributes to "Made In Rwanda" campaign
The file photo shows workers at a factory of C&H in Kigali,Rwanda.[Photo:Chinaplus]
Rwanda is actively pushing its new "Made In Rwanda" campaign to potential Chinese investors as part of President Xi Jinping's trip to the country.
Muvara Valens works at C&H Garments, a Chinese clothes maker in Kigali.
After years of hard work, he's now a supervisor in-charge of 400 workers.
The 26-year-old says he started out with no skills in the garment sector.
"I knew nothing about the industry when I first came here, the C&H company gave me a lot of help. It's my first job in my life. I learned how to make a garment and I have money. Now I have 400 workers."
C&H Garments, founded in 2015, is the largest clothes maker and the first clothing export business in Rwanda.
It now employs 15-hundred people, most of whom are locals.
Jeannine Mumproreze, a seamstress at the company, says C&H also has the possibility of being a stepping-stone for some.
"This is a pretty good job for me. I gained a lot of knowledge about embroidery and picked up techniques of quality sewing. Maybe for me I could start my own business in the future."
Ma Xiaomei, founder and CEO of the company, has been living in Africa and running her garment business for 15 years.
She says she appreciates the support she's been getting from the Rwandan government.
"Rwanda did not have any textile industry in the past, so we started from scratch. But the Rwandan government, the director of the investment department said to me that you can be assured, we would provide 70 percent of the training costs."
Rwanda used to be a large importer of second-hand clothes from the US.
To try to change the situation, Rwanda has taken various measures since last year in an attempt to bolster the "Made in Rwanda" campaign.
Ma Xiaomei says this has helped open up more opportunities for her firm, which his focused on the European and North American markets.
"Now many people in Rwanda are wearing clothes made from our factory. We also receive orders from schools and government bodies for uniforms. In addition, we help some smaller garment workshops to buy them modern machines to start business."
The founder of C&H Garments says she eventually hopes to expand her workforce to employ around 10-thousand jobs for people in Kigali.