Why Rwanda seeks to join OECD centre

Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Richard Sezibera. File.

Rwanda is awaiting feedback from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Centre following an application to join the body in November 2018.

In its application, the government noted that Rwanda seeks to be part of the body to, among other things, improve and promote the business environment.

OECD Development Centre, which was established in 1961, is an independent platform for knowledge sharing and policy dialogue between Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries and developing economies to allow nations to interact on an equal footing.

At the moment, the Centre has 54 member countries, including developed and developing nations.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Richard Sezibera told The New Timesthat Rwanda’s application was to the OECD Centre and not to OECD as previously reported.

“Rwanda applied to join the OECD Centre, which is slightly different from the OECD. The application has been sent and we are waiting for a response from the Centre,” he said.

He said Rwanda wants to learn from OECD centre on the various business standards to continuously improve the ecosystem.

“The importance of joining the Centre is that Rwanda has done well in promoting the business environment and it’s good to begin to learn from those who have been on the journey earlier than us. Being a member of a club that is committed to improving business standards as well as ethical trade,” he said.

The body draws attention to emerging systemic issues likely to affect global development and more specific development challenges faced by today’s developing and emerging economies.

By using evidence-based analysis and strategic partnerships, OECD Centre helps countries formulate innovative policy solutions to the global challenges of development.

 The application comes at a time when the country is making an effort to establish itself as a business hub in the African region attracting local and foreign direct investment.

Among the aspects that Rwanda can benefit from the Centre that are part of the organization’s priorities is 21st development perspectives that are sustainable.

The organisation is currently testing, analysing and drawing lessons from development paradigms over the past 70 years, to map out what developing nations in the 21st century have to invent.

 The body is also in the process of analysing necessary international co-operation which could foster more effective exchanges of social and human capital.

Should it join the grouping, Rwanda is likely to benefit in regards to being up to the latest trends in revenue collection in the taxation of the digital economy which countries across the world are struggling with.

With the rise of the digital economy which has come with multiple opportunities for young people, there has been a challenge for tax authorities as digital firms do not fit in the traditional corporate income tax models.

This is due to their uniqueness in ways such as operating in cross-border markets, flexible and ever-changing business models and operating without a physical location.

Dr. Jaya Shukla, a Kigali based economist, told Business Times that other major benefits of membership to the organisation include improvement in governance, especially enforcement of international standards and regulations, and investment promotion.

She added that the country is also likely to witness positive developments in aspects such as research and innovation, further boosting the competitiveness of the economy.

If admitted to the organisation, Rwanda could play a key role in sharing lessons and models on gender equality and women empowerment given its track record in the aspect.

Other African countries that are part of the organisation include; Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, Mauritius, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Tunisia.