Rwanda’s economy will bounce back, Kagame assures investors

A hotel room in Kigali. The hospitality industry is among the most affected sectors due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19. / Photo: Sam Ngendahimana.

The Rwandan economy will continue to do well post COVID-19, despite the current slowdown during the containment period, President Paul Kagame has told global investors.

Kagame made the remarks during a virtual interactive session with Pan-African investors under an umbrella organization dubbed Invest Africa.

 

Invest Africa is a leading pan-African business platform that promotes trade and investment on the African continent.

 

Invest Africa, has a global footprint of more than 400 member companies, comprising multinationals, private equity firms, institutional investors, development finance institutions, professional service organisations, government bodies and entrepreneurs among others.

 

The deliberations were moderated by Robert Hersov, a South African entrepreneur based in London.

The President assured investors that despite the slowdown in many sectors of the economy as Rwanda works to curb and contain the virus from spreading, the economy would pick up.

This is among other things a result of partnership with different partners to secure resources to cushion the economy and enable other sectors to pick up.

Rwanda has for instance secured $109.4 million credit from the International Monetary Fund and some $11 million debt relief from the same institution.

Post COVID-19, the Head of State said that Rwanda remains ready for investment to maintain economic growth as well as fill gaps that could have emerged during the slowed pace.

Among the top sectors ready for investment include technology, service sector, financial, tourism, and hospitality, among others, some of which have been tested and tried during the lockdown period.

He said that the lockdown was also a chance to pick up lessons as well as evaluate some aspects and where necessary change the approach.

Government has called for the past three weeks for a lockdown that saw all activities disrupted, other than those offering essential services like health, food and banking.

“We have seen some of the things that we are lacking and we are going to increase that. We will probably double up on that because we are coming from an economy that has shut down and we are trying to speed up and will require double effort on our part,” he said.

Rwanda has made continuous investment in its people, governance and building strong institutions to enable it to remain ideal for investment amid growing competition, he said.

Giving an insight into measures taken to contain the virus, the President noted that there had been quick intervention following the outbreak as well as cooperation between different sectors and stakeholders including scientists.

Rwanda had by Tuesday recorded 134 cases of which 49 have fully recovered and discharged.

Kagame also noted that the trust between the citizens and government had been important to ensure compliance to directives.

“Like anything else in Rwanda, we do our best. When anything threatens our people, we mobilize and do whatever is possible to deal with the problem,”

“We have followed the best practices that we have learnt about, the good thing is that our population has trust in the Government and responds to advice as fast as it comes and are in agreement with measures introduced,” the President added.

The efforts by the country have included quarantining suspected cases, isolating confirmed cases as well as supporting vulnerable community members through the provision of food and hygiene supplies.

Responding to questions on the fate of the national carrier RwandAir, Kagame said that like several other sectors of the economy, the Government was currently preparing plans on how to inject more investment in the industry post-COVID-19 to enable the airline to recover losses incurred in previous weeks.

Kagame emphasized the role of cooperation by countries to reign over the pandemic saying that no matter the differences that might have previously existed, all focus is on re-establishing normalcy.

He said that Rwanda has always been ready for integration and partnership with other countries for shared prosperity.

President Kagame also welcomed actions by some global financial institutions to offer debt relief to African countries, saying that resumption of normalcy globally is ideal for all parties and would have an impact even on developed nations.

The global organisation’s advisory board features renowned investors such as Zemedeneh Negatu, the Chairman of Fairfax African Fund, Sanjeev Gupta, the Executive Director of Africa Finance Corporation, Gianpaolo Pera, the Chief Executive of African Capital Investments, among others.

cmwai@newtimesrwanda.com

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