Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi last night led government’s efforts to woo Indian investors into the country, inviting them to go beyond traditional sectors and venture into emerging sectors.
Murekezi was speaking at the India-Rwanda Business Forum held at the Kigali Convention Centre and attended by the visiting Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari.
The Business forum featured a mini-exhibition by both Rwandan and Indian firms showcasing their services and products.
Among the local firms featured at the exhibition include; RwandAir, Rwanda Online Platform, Pivot Access, Rwanda Development Board, Carnegie Mellon University Rwanda, and Africa Smart Investments.
The latter are the authorised distributors of the Made in Rwanda laptops.
The prime minister invited Indian investors to venture into emerging sectors such as manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, textiles, ICT, agro-processing and financing systems among others, saying there were numerous opportunities.
With the two countries aiming at doubling bilateral trade volumes over the next five years, both governments are mapping out different business opportunities to see the ambitious target realized.
“We are inviting Indian investors to go beyond traditional sectors and venture into sectors such as manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, textiles, ICT, agro-processing and financing systems all which will greatly benefit from India’s expertise,” he said.
With India having developed industries across multiple sectors, he said that their presence in the Rwandan economy will also serve to boost the country’s emerging sectors.
He expressed the government’s commitment to support Indian investors seeking opportunities in the country as well as promote the existing bilateral ties between the two nations.
Rwanda Development Board Chief Operating Officer, Emmanuel Hategeka said that with Rwanda being part of the East African Community, the investors were assured of market for their products to ensure substantial return on investment.
Rwanda is also keen to learn from India’s ‘Make in India’ campaign which was launched in 2014 with an aim to transform the Asian nation into a global design and manufacturing hub.
From India’s campaign, Rwanda is seeking to draw lessons to strengthen the ‘Made in Rwanda’ initiative which seeks to reduce the trade deficit by increasing production and consumption of local products, as well as shore up export volumes.
The Private Sector Federation Chairperson Benjamin Gasamagera invited Indian investors to be part of the campaign saying that there were viable opportunities therein.
Ansari said that his compatriots would no doubt purse the multiple opportunities in the country saying that Rwanda had already created a viable environment for investments.
Ansari credited Rwandans for being able to turn around the country following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, positioning it as a business hub.
Noting the growing trade linkages between the two countries, he said that Rwanda continues to be part of the duty-free tariff preference scheme extended by the Indian government to developing countries.
He called on Rwandan investors to make the most of the opportunity to increase exports to India as the two countries seek to double trade in the next five years.
During the forum, the Indian vice president and the Rwandan Prime Minister witnessed the signing of three agreements between the two countries which include a bilateral air service agreement between Rwanda and India which comes at a time when RwandAir is commencing flights to the Asian economic giants.
The two countries also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of an Entrepreneurship Development Centre as well as an agreement for the exemption of visa requirements for diplomatic and service passport holders.
The two countries have enjoyed warm bilateral ties since 1999 which has grown over the years in multiple aspects including trade, investments and international cooperation among others.
Indian investors already have multiple ventures in the country in multiple sectors including in clean energy, health sector, education, telecommunication and agriculture among others. In the last six years, there have been 66 Indian owned investments registered by the Rwanda Development Board with a value of about $317.5M.
Ansari who is accompanied by his wife, Salma Ansari, and a 27 person delegation -government and private sector officials- will leave for Uganda later today after an interaction with students at the University of Rwanda.