Rwanda is increasingly positioning itself as a regional hub for manufacturing, logistics, innovations, and financial services and investors can enjoy the good investment environment in the country. Uzziel Ndagijimana, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning was addressing Belgian business delegates who are in Rwanda during the opening of their trade mission on March 28. He said much has been done to position Rwanda as a launch-pad for investors seeking to expand to markets across the region and around the continent. The visiting business executives have varied interests in areas such as construction and general infrastructure, water treatment, health sector and Information Technology, among others. While presenting the country’s economic status, Ndagijimana said that Rwanda’s economy is recovering after the recession attributed to Covid-19, where GDP growth in 2021 is calculated to be 10.9 per cent. Delegates of Belgian Economic and Trade Mission pose for a group photo in Kigali on March 28, 2022. Dan Nsengiyumva In regard to that, he said that the government has put in place appropriate instruments that allow the private sector to become an engine of growth. The minister said that the total trade volume between Belgium and Rwanda grew about 43 per cent in value from $103 million to $148 million in the past two years, adding that there was still room for growth. Among that, he added: Rwanda’s exports accounted for $15 million in 2020 and increased to $22 million in 2021 mainly comprised of coffee, tea, and minerals, whereas, imports from Belgium increased from $88 million in 2020 to $125 million in 2021, including motor vehicles, medicines, mechanical equipment and processed food. Belgium investments in Rwanda target mainly manufacturing, energy, health, construction, agribusiness, and mining. Johanna Sandberg, the Executive Secretary of the European Business Chamber in Rwandan (EBCR) delivers her remarks. “This increased growth in trade investment demonstrates the potential for continued economic cooperation between Belgium and Rwanda, therefore, we are ready to explore together more opportunities for bilateral trade investment.” Bert Versmessen, Ambassador of the kingdom of Belgium to Rwanda, said that they should ponder on investment opportunities in Rwanda, especially, using the country as a basis for further expanding their activities in the region. He added that both countries have a wide and diverse relationship on a variety of issues, and this trade mission will have an impact on building economic bilateral ties. Jeanne Francoise Mubiligi, the first vice-chairperson of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), said that this is a win-win situation for both countries. “These companies have expertise in working abroad which is a key point that we need today as we are looking to expand our market, but also as Rwandans we have expertise in the regional market, we know how things are done. The two expertise combined can make good business,” she said. She added that Rwanda can as well partner with them for the market of Made-in-Rwanda products. The fact that there are clear information about doing business in Rwanda, which is not the case for most African countries, means that we have links to create here in Rwanda, said Carole Mone, Area Manager of Export for Sub-Saharan African region, Hub Brussels. “Belgium is a small country and it means we need to get out of our country to get good partners and Africa is a big market. This trade mission is a real opportunity and we hope they will have local partners.” Pacific Tuyishime and Ntounde Mouyelo, Chief Investment Officers at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Rwanda Finance Limited (RFL) respectively, presented Rwanda’s business framework, potential investment areas, as well as incentives provided to investors for the ease of doing business in the country. Ntoudi Mouyelo, the Chief Investment Officer at Kigali International Financial Centre speaks during the conference in Kigali RFL is the agency whose responsibility is to promote and develop the Kigali International Financial Centre, an initiative that seeks to position Rwanda as a preferred financial jurisdiction for investments into Africa, as well as reform the domestic industry. RDB is an institution in charge of accelerating Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth and promoting local and foreign direct investments. The representatives of Belgian businesses had a business-to-business session with Rwandan companies and institutions to provide them with detailed information about the country’s working environment and prospectively form partnerships. Delegates follow a presentation during the Belgian Economic and Trade Mission in Kigali on March 28, 2022. Dan Nsengiyumva Belgian business delegates who are in Rwanda during the opening of their trade mission on March 28.