London expo kicks off

State minister for Investment Promotion Vincent Karega has left for London as the head of a 22-man delegation to attend an expo conference and exhibition which kick-offs today.
Tourism potential: Gorilla tracking is one of the leading tourist attractions in Rwanda. (File photo)
Tourism potential: Gorilla tracking is one of the leading tourist attractions in Rwanda. (File photo)

State minister for Investment Promotion Vincent Karega has left for London as the head of a 22-man delegation to attend an expo conference and exhibition which kick-offs today.

A statement from Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (Riepa) says Rwanda’s participation was facilitated by the Rwanda Diaspora Investment (RDI) Ltd, in partnership with the Rwandan Embassy in London and Riepa.

The expo that takes place at the Royal Institute of British Architects in central London, aims at bringing together the Rwandan business community and their European counterparts. They will exchange ideas, discuss mutual projects and build long-term business networks and partnerships.

The event is also intended to give opportunity to Rwandan firms to promote their products and services to promote the country as a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and tourist destination. The Rwandans will showcase investment potentials in the coffee, tea, horticulture, handicrafts, ICT and service sectors.

“We are also hoping to interest investors in our financial sector. London has become the leading financial hub ahead of the USA”, said Claire Akamanzi, deputy director general of Riepa.

The United Kingdom is one of the world’s leading economies. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product in the world and the second largest economy in Europe.

Planners of this country want to find a solution to the energy question which has slowed down economic development partly because of the country faces substantial energy shortage.

An investment guide to Rwanda published October 2006 says only 5 per cent of the population is connected to the electricity network and these are mainly in the capital Kigali. The guide contends that Electrogaz, a parastatal energy distributor “is not in position to satisfy even this limited demand”.

The theme of the trade fair is “Unveiling a new Rwanda to the World”.

A statement from London reads in part: “London is the undisputed deal-making centre and financial capital of the world and there is a lot of capital here looking for investment exit to emerging markets. We want to position Rwanda as one of the best and well-managed emerging markets in Africa.”

According to a press statement, on the sidelines of the investment conference, which will take place at there will be an exhibition of Rwandan products and services to expose them to the European consumers.

The exhibition is also expected to attract high-profile political and corporate leaders from both Rwanda and EU. The organisers also say the conference bit will be dedicated to explaining Rwanda’s investment climate, opportunities and incentives to EU investors.

This will be through speeches and presentations by corporate and government leaders, while the exhibition will showcase Rwandan products and services and there will be one-on-one meetings and deal-making opportunities.

“We are determined to completely reverse our country’s image here as a war-ravaged, ethnically divided and an object of charity, to a country ready and capable to conducting serious business with the rest of the world” RDI official emphasised.

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