Rwanda offers rich potential for tourism investment: PM

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Premier Ngirente visits stands during hospitality exhibition at the opening of Africa Hotel Investment Forum at Kigali Convention Centre yesterday. (N. Imbabazi)

Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente has made a case for regional and global investors to consider Rwanda as an investment destination, specifically tourism-related.

Ngirente was speaking at the opening of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum, yesterday, at the Kigali Convention Centre.

The three-day summit convenes stakeholders from the hospitality sector from across the world, including investors, local operators, public officials and industry experts, to discuss opportunities across the continent.

The premier said the growing tourism sector bears multiple opportunities for international investors.

“Rwanda is delighted to showcase some exciting new investment opportunities in the growing tourism sector,” he said.

Building a case for investing in the country, Ngirente said Rwanda was profitable, secure and had business-friendly laws.

“I assure all investors that investing in Rwanda is profitable. Rwanda is very secure, economically stable and all our laws are business-friendly. Our entire legal framework provides a conducive environment for business. The recent 2017/18 Global Competitiveness report by The World Economic Forum put Rwanda on the second position in Africa,” the PM said.

Ngirente noted that the growth targets of the regional tourism sector require strategies that incentivise investments by the private sector operators.

“The African hotel industry is one of the fastest growing sectors with an estimated contribution of 8 per cent to Africa’s GDP and is projected to rise at 4.9 per cent per year until 2025. For Africa to achieve this growth target, there is a need to put in place strategies that support investments in the tourism sector,” he said.

How Rwanda has positioned itself

Rwanda’s strategy has involved development of tourism infrastructure across the country as well as investments in several world class facilities.

This has not only seen growth in the sector but in job creation for the youth as well.

“Rwanda has made significant progress in the tourism industry. This was mainly achieved through the development of tourism infrastructure, especially through the expansion of RwandAir’s routes, and investment in several global hotel brands. As a result, more jobs were created, especially for the youth,” he said.

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) chief executive Clare Akamanzi said that growth in the hotel sector was evident given the readiness of some of the world’s leading hotel brands to invest in the country.

Among the opportunities, she said, would be through partnerships with local operators.

According to an investor guide prepared by RDB, among the opportunities include Hot Springs Eco Resort and Hotel Strip in Rubavu District, Golf resort and residential villas in Karongi District, and a Vacation Village in Gicumbi District.

Investor confidence

Speaking to The New Times, Alex Kyriakidis, the Marriott International president and managing director for Middle East and Africa, said Rwanda had proven to be a viable investment destination.

He said in their one-year presence in the local market, they have experienced growth and were seeing returns for their investments.

This is the second Africa Hotel Investment Forum to be held in Kigali.

This year’s summit is expected to generate over $1.8 million in revenue for the country.

According to an independent assessment by the international audit, tax and advisory firm, Grant Thornton, last year’s edition had a direct impact to Rwanda of about $1.8 million.

The audit also established that the total GDP added to the city, including direct and indirect multiplier impact, was about $4.97 million.

The  the Africa Hotel Investment Forum’s contribution to public revenue coffers was $292,184 and created and sustained an estimated 1,114 jobs.

Among the deliberations at the summit will be how the country can remain attractive to tourists from across the world to maintain a 10 per cent growth rate in revenues annually.

It will also present an opportunity for the sector to attract global brands and franchises into the local sector.  

editorial@newtimes.co.rw