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Focus on CHOGM 21: More Investment opportunities on the horizon

As Rwanda prepares to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2021, officials have said the country is ready for new investments in areas such as energy, manufacturing, and innovation.

According to Hon. Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Rwanda’s Trade Minister, the country’s economic growth averaged 7-8 per cent in the last 15 years, but with the pandemic a lot of economic activity slumped.

“An economic recovery protection was devised to respond to the sectors that were hit most by the pandemic,” she said. The central bank also provided a liquidity facility worth Rwf50 billion to commercial banks, which would then provide lending support to actors to weather the Covid-19 storm. She was speaking during a virtual conference that was hosted by the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council (CWEIC), Commonwealth business platform that supports members to trade with each other.

An economic recovery fund, a two-year facility was also put in place to cushion business, 50 per cent of which will go to the tourism actors. The country reopened its tourism activities for domestic and international tourists. Commercial flights were also given green light to operate starting August 1.

As the country prepares to reopen, Hakuziyaremye highlighted that Rwanda is ready for investment in areas such as manufacturing. The manufacturing sector was growing from 12 to 15 per cent last year.

The Trade Minister said the upcoming African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could enable countries like Rwanda to even attract more foreign investments in the country.

“We have realized that having an integrated region and working with our partners in the region, to not only facilitate the movement of goods and trade, has given us a reason to fast-track what the AfCFTA means,” she noted.

Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) indicated that Rwanda is one of the easiest places in Africa to do business beyond Mauritius, highlighting three key programmes to drive investment. “We have programmes like Visit Rwanda, Made in Rwanda, and Start in Rwanda. We are, for instance, promoting sectors that interact with the tourism sector, and which bring foreign visitors to Rwanda,” she said.

Akamanzi said that Rwanda is also promoting expertise and capacity for local production in areas such as construction and agro-processing, highlighting that the programme contributed 17 per cent to the country’s GDP. “Rwanda is also ready for investment in infrastructure that will enable the ‘Start in Rwanda’ concept to take off,” she noted.

That, she added, brings opportunities in energy production, Kigali Innovation City – industrial park for innovation, and we are building a new airport in Bugesera district.

CWEIC was supposed to organize a business forum along the CHOGM that would take place in Rwanda in June this year, but was halted due to the new Coronavirus pandemic.

The summit would bring together more than 1,000 participants from across the Commonwealth countries, according to Samantha Cohen, chief executive of CWEIC.

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