India is set to invest $250 million in Rwanda to develop a “knowledge hub,” encompassing medical and IT facilities and training institutes, as well as a food-processing center to improve local agricultural and animal husbandry, according to the Times of India.
The investment comes after a series of visits made by official and business delegates between the two countries and signifies India’s growing status as a friend and leader to many of the world’s developing countries, specifically in the area of health care. India is a leading supplier of affordable pharmaceutical drugs relied upon by much of the developing world and the country is currently cementing R&D partnerships with countries such as South Africa to fight HIV.
Rwanda has been carrying out a number of “roadshows” in major Indian cities in a bid to attract investors. And as India has developed its health and medical tourism industry significantly, Rwanda hopes to import that expertise and know-how. India’s Universal Empire Infrastructures (UEIL) thus signed an agreement with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to specifically create a University focused on medicine, management, engineering, education, commerce, agriculture, basic sciences, and arts and humanities.
Expanded centers for developing IT and biotech skills, as well as a sports complex and convention center, are also part of the $250 million investment. The goal is to spur tourism, boost Rwanda’s local economy, and move yet farther away from what many people still think of when they hear Rwanda–the 1994 genocide.
But there are questions to be asked of the new investment ties–namely what about Rwanda’s diamond industry?
According to at least one report, India is setting up a diamond center in Botswana, and it’s difficult to know what that would entail. So far, however, India’s interest in Rwanda seems to be entirely related to this medical and tech facility investment.
Moreover, the relationship between the two countries goes back over a decade–before India’s investment prowess was hyper-developed–when Rwanda’s civil servants were given scholarships to study in India after the war.
Follow me, Jenara Nerenberg, on Twitter.
[Image: flickr user oledoe]