VIDEO: Rwanda is ready for business, Kagame tells Indian investors
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President Paul Kagame has emphasised Rwanda’s readiness to discuss and engage in business with investors from all across the world as the country seeks to be a business hub.
The President made the remarks, yesterday, while speaking at the opening ceremony of the 8th Vibrant Gujarat Summit, a global business forum in India.
The Head of State said that Rwanda was ready to engage in business with India and the rest of the world and had gone ahead to put an attractive investment code to the effect.
While positioning itself for business, Kagame noted that Rwanda was part of a wider vibrant region, the East African Community and is involved in regional infrastructure development that have seen it become more appealing to the private sector.
In a rapidly changing world, he noted that Rwanda and Africa in general, have the opportunity to diversify exports to India and the rest of the world beyond traditional exports such as minerals and oil.
He expressed optimism on increased trade between Rwanda and India especially with the launch of direct flights between the two nations with the national carrier RwandAir.
“We look forward to more activities, including the launch of direct flights to Mumbai by RwandAir in a few weeks, which will connect Rwanda to the region,” he said.
Kagame observed that trade and investments between the two countries had grown significantly in recent years but still bear potential for investments, joint ventures and partnerships.
Over the five-year period between 2011 and 2015, bilateral trade between Rwanda and India is valued at $526 million.
According to Rwanda Development Board (RDB), over the five years, Rwanda registered 66 investment projects from India valued at $317.5 million which have translated to over 3,800 jobs in various fields including telecommunication, hospitality and education.
“We have every reason to succeed in our efforts. We are here to make it work,” Kagame said referring to strengthening partnerships between India and Rwanda.
Shared historical ties, aspirations
Speaking of the spirit and similarities of the two nations, Kagame said that Rwanda and India share not only historical ties but also aspiration for better wellbeing for their citizens.
“Rwanda and India not only share long historical ties but also common aspirations for the wellbeing and prosperity for our peoples,” Kagame said.
“Like India, Rwanda seeks long-term transformation by unleashing the potential of our citizens to be more productive,” he added.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who also attended the forum, echoed Kagame’s remarks on the region’s attractiveness for business, saying the East African Community creates win-win situation for both the investors and the citizens of the East African region.
On his part, their host, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that they were keen to continue doing business with the rest of the world for mutual benefit.
He noted particularly the focus on formalising the informal economy and the role of e-governance in developing economies. Like India, Rwanda has special focus on e-governance in improving service delivery to its citizens.
Prior to the opening ceremony of the business summit, Kagame met with Prime Minister Modi to discuss a range of issues including strengthening relations through bilateral agreements.
Following the talks, the two countries agreed to hold high-level deliberations and exchanges with increased periodicity as well as cooperate to promote investments in mutually beneficial projects.
Rwanda and India also set a target to double bilateral trade in five years as well as people-to-people exchanges especially in movement of professionals in areas including information technology, teaching, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
India committed to a credit line of $ 120 million for the development and expansion of an Export Targeted Irrigated Agriculture Project that will achieve irrigation facilities to more than 41,190 hectares of cultivable land.
Rwanda’s energy generation plans received a boost from India through a credit line of $80 million of a 28-megawatt hydroelectric project on the Nyabarongo River.
India conveyed its readiness to support Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centres and Huye-Kibeho road project.
Prime Minister Modi also announced gifting of 100 tonnes of medicines and a cash grant of $ 1 million for sourcing medical equipment from India.
According to a statement following the meeting, India welcomed RwandAir’s initiative to operate direct flights between Kigali to Mumbai.