Global young business leaders seek more involvement in Rwanda

YPO Global Chairman Pascal Gerken during a meeting in Kigali on Monday morning. Coutersy

A group of young business leaders from across the globe under the umbrella of Young Presidents Organisation is seeking greater involvement in the Rwandan economy.

YPO, which is made up of 26,000 members worldwide, has a total turnover of about 9 trillion dollars with members employing a total of 22m people globally.

Members from the Belgian chapter of the movement yesterday completed a weeklong visit to the country which saw them gain insights to the local ecosystem, business conditions and opportunities.

The Belgian delegation was also joined by the regional chapter, Africa Great Lakes covering Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and DR Congo as well as others from Greece and the US.

This brought the total number of delegates to 80.

During the course of the week, the potential investors sought insights on the Rwandan economy as well as other social aspects. The team held meetings with young business people in Rwanda, innovators, students and business community.

They also indulged into touristic activities by traveling across the country, including gorilla trekking.

YPO Global Chairman Pascal Gerken said that the purpose of the trip was to understand the country and the opportunities it offers.

The members were from multiple sectors and business lines, including telecommunications, construction, real estate, travel, agriculture, manufacturing, renewable energy among others.

 “The purpose of the trip was to really understand Rwanda beyond the beauty of the country and the parks. We wanted to understand the opportunities that Rwanda is offering as a platform for business in the region. Our members are inspired by the country’s leadership and wanted to see the opportunities firsthand,” he said.

“We had a chance to see the country’s past through the genocide memorial and later had a chance to meet the young people in various sectors of the economy,” he added.

 From the interactions with various business people in the country, including some of their members, he said that a majority of the members got a better perception of the local investment climate.

Among the items on the group’s checklist include access to human resources, accessibility, rule of law, security and ease of establishing business among others.

“Rwanda is a strong country on the map of YPO, we are going to bring more partners and feel that this is a good platform to do business in the region. With 26000 members, with continuous lobbying we are building awareness on the ideal conditions,” he said.

The interest in Rwanda comes at a time when the organisation has launched a new strategy whereby they are seeking to have increased impacts in markets members are investing in.

He said that investing in Rwanda would see them have a bigger impact compared to more established markets.

The group also appointed a Rwandan businessman Emery Rubagenga on the organization’s Board of Directors, which could see increased lobbying on increased investment in the region.

YPO is also seeking to enlist young Rwandans to be members of the organisation with projections of recruiting about 2000 young people from across the continent. 

The organisation provides a platform for chief executives to engage, learn and grow to harness knowledge, influence and trust among themselves and the influence they command.

To be admitted as a member of the body one must be under 45 years of age and must hold top position in a qualified company making them directly responsible for all operations of the firm including impact, turnover and employees.

Members have access to an international network of global business leaders putting them in an ideal position to form partnerships, share knowledge and pursue business deals together.

Members are behind a number of investments in Rwanda