Inter-governmental cooperation, trade and investments between Rwanda and Norway could be fast tracked following the reopening of the Norwegian consulate in Kigali.
The consulate, reopened on Tuesday evening, will not only strengthen bilateral relationships between the two countries but also provide a platform for investors from both sides to access information, knowledge and expertise on investment opportunities that exist between Rwanda and Norway, according to Thorbjorn Gaustadsaether, Norway’s ambassador to Rwanda and Uganda.
“We intend to strengthen economic, political and social ties between Norway and Rwanda and the only way to achieve this is by having a direct link between the two countries, hence the reopening of the consulate in Kigali,” Gaustadsaether said.
Robert Woffenden, group director at Norwegian firm, FBW Rwanda, was appointed honorary consul general of the consulate.
“The consulate is not only here to ease the cost of doing business between Rwanda and Norway but also offer direct services to both Norwegians and Rwandans on top of linking programmes and projects that may require funding from Norway,” Woffenden said.
He further urged Rwanda to tap into Norway’s expertise, especially in the energy sector, education and health.
“There are many similarities and market potentials that exist between the two countries that I would love to see both countries exploiting to full potential,” Woffenden said.
Parfait Gahamanyi, the director-general of the diaspora directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called on the Norwegian business community to come and invest in Rwanda.
“Trade and investment are the best ways to develop cooperation between countries and peoples. As we continue to ease the cost of doing business in Rwanda, it is time for Norwegians to come and invest with us,” Gahamanyi said.
Apart from partnering with Rwanda on various interventions in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Norway is also supporting a coffee project known as Mother Land farmers in Nyamagabe District.
The Norwegian consulate had closed down in 2012 after its representative retired and returned home.