Rwanda; where challenges abound and opportunities thrive

The road map that talks about a US$200 million a year foreign direct investment inflow into Rwanda can be looked at as two sides of the same coin.

The road map that talks about a US$200 million a year foreign direct investment inflow into Rwanda can be looked at as two sides of the same coin.

Policymakers must have looked at the challenges that existed locally and looked for ways to turn these into opportunities for foreign investors.

Within the local financial industry, banks offer below-par services for example.

However such a situation presents a golden opportunity in the foreseeable future for those who actually specialise in banking.

Hence giving out additional banking licenses by the Central Bank to capable and credible players being the answer to the challenge. Green field entry seems to be the preferred mode of deepening the sector for a number of reasons.

If KCB’s green field entry is a yardstick of sorts then Equity, Diamond Trust and Barclays will be expected to pump into Rwanda’s banking sector on average close to US$80 Million.

In fact, the talk about customer service reorientation comes to play in this argument.

Deplorable customer service is a challenge locally. However it should be seen as an opportunity for real entrepreneurs to make money  redressing it.

In KCB’s value addition strategy, which informs its long term strategy of attaining leadership position in Rwanda, it is training local staff from its in-house world class school of banking in Kenya known as the KCB leadership institute based in Nairobi.

In a situation where hospitality ratings are below par a massive investment promotion in the region of say US$60 Million annually can do the trick.

During the Primus’s 50th anniversary bash I bumped into a friend who works in telecoms and we got to talking about business.

I asked why there is a lot of silence within telecoms when in fact there should be ‘noise’ in that a third player is gaining entry.

In response he said that “the silence is actually very loud as we are witnessing for the first time the true nature of competition.

We have never seen this before. So the silence which you can see is a telltale sign of bigger things to come”.

I asked him to critically assess what Bralirwa did in comparison with the telecoms. I pressed home the fact that Bralirwa had spent US$1 Million for a 6 month marketing campaign and that current telecoms players do not think in those terms.

“You are in for a shock. What is going to come out is some explosion that will surprise many”, he answered back.

That kind of statement is a very refreshing one .Otherwise how would one expect TIGO to compete without amassing a heavy marketing war chest?

The current shortcomings within the telecoms are an opportunity for TIGO to make a killing. It is feasible for TIGO to do say 2 million subscribers in one year if it is determined to.

The author is an editor with The New Times 

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