President Paul Kagame yesterday hosted a delegation of top Japanese business leaders who were in Rwanda to explore trade and investment opportunities in the country.
The delegation, made up of 57 officials, represents the public and private sectors. Twenty-eight Japanese firms are represented in the business mission.
Kagame said that Rwanda was ready to make the most of the technologies that Japan has.
“We are not afraid of leapfrogging in Rwanda. We want to take advantage of technologies Japan has, where we can.” the President said.
Noting the good relations between the two governments, Kagame said that the next frontier is increasing private sector ties and involvement.
“There has been a good relationship between Japan and Rwanda, we are trying to increase the private sector involvement to back the intentions of leaders and our people in achieving development objectives,” he said.
The mission is led by the country’s Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Manabu Horri.
Members of the mission include representatives of giant corporations involved in various sectors including trade, manufacturing and finance, among others.
Firms represented include Toyota Tsusho, Hitachi High-Tech Group, Mitsubishi, Marubeni, Toshiba Africa, Shimizu, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, JETRO, and Fujita among others.
Manabu said their business mission to Rwanda was a result of a survey conducted among Japanese private sector whereby they expressed interest in investing in Rwanda.
“We conducted a survey among Japanese business community and there was a lot of interest and appetite to invest and work in Rwanda,” he said.
The head of the delegation said there was a chance to build on the warm ties to promote investments among the private sector.
“Rwanda is one of the most attractive countries for Japanese companies and firms, we have already established good relations among governments and would like to promote investments among the private sector,” he said.
Among the sectors the Japanese firms have shown interest is ICT where the country is among the most advanced in the world.
Rwanda Development Board chief executive Clare Akamanzi said the number of Japanese investments in Rwanda has gone up in recent times, from three to 19 in the last five years, with the portfolio expected to grow further going forward.
Last year, Japanese firms acquired stakes in two leading tech investments in the country; AC Group and DMM HeHe.
The two firms operate in the transport sector and e-Commerce respectively.
During their visit, the delegation met officials from key government agencies, including Ministries of Infrastructure, Trade and Industry, Agriculture and Animal Resources, as well as Information Technology and Communication.
They also held a meeting with members of the local private sector at the Japan-Rwanda business seminar.