Rwandan High Commission to Kenya on Wednesday hosted Kenyan business leaders in Nairobi with an aim of presenting to them investment opportunities available in Rwanda.
Speaking at the forum, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Kenya, James Kimonyo, said that the event is an opportunity to showcase what Rwanda has done to create an attractive environment which made the country a favourable investment destination in the region.
“Despite the dark past Rwanda went through, we have moved on and are ready to proudly be part of the community of nations that every investor wants to come to,” he said.
He added that the visionary and transformational leadership of President Paul Kagame has continued to ensure stability of the country, business reforms that attract investors from near and far to invest significantly in the country.
“Rwanda seeks economic development and long-term transformation by unleashing the potential of her citizens to be more productive and through beneficial partnerships with the private sector.” Kimonyo said.
Whilst acknowledging that Rwanda was a landlocked nation, Ambassador Kimonyo said that the Government is heavily investing in air transport and that the construction of the new state of the art International Airport is currently underway in Bugesera District.
In her presentation, Glory Kayijuka Mbabazi, the Second Counsellor at the High Commission outlined various business opportunities in the country including in the mining sector, manufacturing, packaging as well as tourism.
The manufacturing sector in Rwanda has been experiencing steady growth and growing at annual rate of 7 per cent with a target to increase industrial contribution to GDP to 26 per cent by 2020.
“Rwanda provides healthcare for all and this has created huge demand for pharmaceuticals and herein lays a great opportunity to invest,” she said.
Speaking about the experience of KCB Group as one of leading investors in Rwanda, David Kitheka, the head of investor relations at the bank said that the government efforts to make ICT a basic need in Rwanda made it easy for them to reach as many Rwandans as possible with different banking services.
“The ICT infrastructure in Rwanda made it easier for us to penetrate the unbanked population. In fact our first agency banking was rolled out in Rwanda with much success,” Kitheka said.
With headquarters in Kenya, KCB (Kenya Commercial Bank) is one of the biggest commercial banks in the region.
He said that KCB Bank has recently invested Sh3 billion in mortgages in Rwanda with 250 new mortgage facilities this year alone.
Mount Kenya University Chairman Prof. Simon Gicharu said that Rwanda is arguably the best environment for doing business, giving an example of how he established a branch of his university in Rwanda and how fast it has grown thanks to a conducive business environment.
He said that their portfolio in Rwanda has group to $15 million which they expect in the short run to expand to $20 million after completing setting up of basic infrastructure at the newly built campus in Kagarama Sector, Kicukiro District.
The forum brought together over 100 investors and business executives from across all sectors who wanted to know what it takes for one to establish a business or invest in Rwanda.
It’s the second time this forum is being organized after the maiden one that took place in December 2015.