THE INAUGURAL African retail development index has ranked Rwanda as the top destination for global retailers on the continent. The African Retail Development Index lauded the country’s strong macro-economic fundamentals and infrastructure reforms that helped improve the road network and transport facilities.
The report is good news as it sells the country to prospective investors, further improving Rwanda’s chances of attracting more and bigger investments.
But that’s where the main challenge also lies; staying up there as the first choice destination of investors. It is not yet time to rest on our laurels, we need to keep pushing ourselves and beating own records.
We could come up with initiatives to encourage the development of the local retail sector. This would boost the capacity of the industry players and make it easy for them to participate meaningfully in international trade, especially as the country looks to become a regional logistics hub.
That would help turn Rwanda into an active provider of goods and services. This is a win-win situation, where the country will not have to depend on the goodwill of investors as its citizens will be fully involved with retail activities and benefiting from its rewards.
Also, as we attract global chain retail firms, we should keep in mind the need to ensure the survival of the local businesses. Would it be much of a celebration if the business environment favoured global brands leaving home-grown ones to wither? After all, charity begins at home. The same is true in business and capitalistic economies.