June East African Investment Conference: Infrastructure development top on agenda

As Rwanda prepares to host the first ever East African Investment Conference, investment in transport and infrastructure have been given top priority for the event. The governments are to woo investors in the sector, a government official said. 

As Rwanda prepares to host the first ever East African Investment Conference, investment in transport and infrastructure have been given top priority for the event.
The governments are to woo investors in the sector, a government official said. 

The authorities say that these are untapped areas in the region thereby requiring enormous investment.
Some areas cited include transport, energy, broadcasting and telecommunication.

It is believed that in a rapidly changing international environment characterised by globalisation, and the challenges of economic integration and international trade, a sound transport and communication network is a sign for active participation and integration.

State minister for Industry and Investment Promotion, Vincent Karega said other areas to be marketed include mining, tourism, agro-processing, financial services sector, leather goods production, agro-processing and manufacturing.

The conference that is slated to take place from June 26 to 28 this year also aims at leveraging the East African market through trade and investment.

“It is designed to showcase the region’s business and investment opportunities and potential to serve as commercial platform for servicing the continent since the region has always been perceived as one market,” said Francis Gatare, Director General, Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (Riepa).

However the challenge lies ahead of the EAC region since their policies defer as they are ranked differently in the ease of doing business in the world. The 2008 Doing Business World Bank report ranked Kenya the 72, Uganda 118, Tanzania 130 while Rwanda ranked 150 out of 178 countries surveyed.

The conference will also provide a platform for East African countries to deal with the policy issues affecting individual countries like non-tariff barriers.
“We expect that the forthcoming investment conference leads to increased inflow of foreign and local investments, crafting joint ventures between the regional bloc and foreign and entrepreneurs, increase exports."

The EAC countries have found it imperative to promote their market as one niche which commands over 120 million people with a combined Gross Domestic Product of $44 billion and estimated growth rate of 5 per cent.
This percentage growth rate is slightly below 7 per cent growth rate required by the millennium Development Goals.

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