The Minister for East African Community Affairs, Valentine Rugwabiza, last week concluded a two-day working mission at the 15th edition of the 2015 World Export Development Forum (WEDF), held in Doha, Qatar.
Organised by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and hosted by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce of the State of Qatar through the Qatar Development Bank, the theme for this year’s WEDF was, ‘Sustainable Trade: Innovate, Invest, Internationalise.’
According to a statement, Rugwabiza gave a key note speech on ‘regional integration as a means to promote a more sustainable and inclusive growth agenda.’
“As we meet here today, three weeks after all UN members have agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda, I would like to remember this forum as one where actual businesses came on board to implement the Sustainable Development Goals agenda. After all, the development agenda is a business agenda,” she said.
Rugwabiza cited Rwanda and the East African Community’s (EAC) achievements in eliminating barriers to trade, reducing costs of doing business and opening up new business and investment opportunities.
Geographical proximity and traditional ties between Rwanda, the EAC and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region give GCC companies a natural advantage in tapping into trade and investment opportunities resulting from the accelerated integration along the countries making the Northern Corridor including Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan; in the ICT, tourism, infrastructure and education sectors.
The minister conducted several bilateral meetings at the margins of WEDF with Senior Qatari and GCC officials, such as Chairperson of the Qatar Tourism Authority, the CEO of the Qatar Development Bank, representatives of the GCC Secretariat; a senior World Bank official, the Minister of Commerce from Oman and the CEO of Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation, amongst others.
Last year’s edition of WEDF was held in Kigali, the first time this high level forum was held in Africa.