A high powered Dutch delegation, composed mainly of business leaders, arrived in Rwanda, yesterday, to explore business opportunities.
The 40-member team, led by Christiaan Rebergen, Vice Minister Development Cooperation at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affair, yesterday, held talks with government officials and the local business community with view to identifying existing opportunities and bottlenecks.
Rwanda has the potential to attract more foreign direct investments from the Netherlands if more resources were injected into building sustainable infrastructure and energy, Rebergen said at the Netherlands- Rwanda business seminar in Kigali.
There is also need to create an environment where both foreign and local investors can access long term capital, he added.
Up to 35 Dutch businesses, representing 30 companies, attended the forum and are keen to identify specific sectors to do business in the country, they said.
They particularly expressed interest in agriculture, energy, logistics, horticulture, infrastructure and hospitality.
“Rwanda has made remarkable progress in terms of ease of doing business; however, more will be achieved if investors are able to have access to credit and have a more resilient sustainable infrastructure,” Rebergen told The New Times on the sidelines of the meeting.
He also spoke of the Dutch commitment to supporting the local private sector in areas of finance, technology and capacity building.
Alex Ruzibukira, the director general for investments at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, assured the visiting investors of government’s support, including through incentives. “We need to reposition our private sector investments and this will require us to facilitate partnerships between local and foreign investors.”
According to the Dutch investors, the country’s “excellent business environment” was a major factor in their decision to invest in the country.
Remco Streelder, an investor in energy and owner of Booizenergy, said he was ready to invest in Rwanda. “I have been reading several international reports about Rwanda’s business environment and I am excited at the opportunity of investing here,” he said.
The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, who was expected to join the visiting delegation today, said in a statement that her country’s businesses were ready to partner with their Rwandan counterparts in various fields.
“We are confident that the mission will have significant added value for all participants and, most importantly, improve the bilateral relationships between the two countries,” she said in the statement.
Richard Tusabe, Commissioner General, Rwanda Revenue Authority, said more investments mean more tax revenue for the country. “Such investors also create jobs for our people.”
Earlier this week, the Rwandan and Dutch governments signed a Rwf4.3billion grant for scaling up electricity rollout in the country.