Rwanda’s trade development efforts are set to receive a $500 million (about Rwf420 billion) boost from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
The bank, which is currently holding its Annual General Meeting in Kigali, is in talks with the Government on disbursing funds to areas that support trade development in the country.
The bank’s President and Board Chairperson, Dr Benedict Oramah, told The New Times that they are looking at funding a number of initiatives in the country to promote trade.
Among the areas of interest include development of industrial parks, RwandAir expansion, and Bugesera International Airport construction.
Finance and Economic Planning minister Claver Gatete said the Government is keen on working with the bank to promote the country’s trade-related activities.
“We have eight industrial parks that are under construction and we would like to discuss with them to see how they can support us. We are also expanding our airline which will help promote intra-Africa trade, that is an area where we are looking to work with them,” Gatete said.
The funds will also go into the expansion of the local tourism industry as well as medical facilities which, Dr Oramah said, present a huge opportunity for the country.
Gatete pointed out that, as a landlocked country, Rwanda was keen on partnership with the bank to enhance trade opportunities.
In previous years, Afreximbank has disbursed about $155 million to Rwanda through Bank of Kigali and the Development Bank of Rwanda.
The funds were injected in the construction of Kigali Convention Centre ($130 million) with the rest going into trade development.
Giving an assessment of the impact of the funds so far disbursed to Rwanda, Dr Oramah said: “We have a very good relationship with Rwanda. We have seen impact in the projects and initiatives that we have supported. We have appetite to do more with Rwanda, we are signing a facility with the BRD as well as other partners.”
BRD to sign agreements
During the ongoing Annual General Meeting, the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) is expected to sign a $10 million credit line with Afreximbank, which will go to into supporting trade development.
BRD is also expected to sign an agreement with Afreximbank on Saturday on ways to expand beyond credit line as a financing mechanism.
The two parties will agree on new financing mechanisms which include joint investments into projects.
BRD chief executive Alex Kanyankole confirmed to The New Times that they will be signing the agreement, saying Afeximbank has in several ways supported Rwanda’s trade development.
“The lines of credit we have been getting from Exim have helped us implement trade projects, trade infrastructure such as free economic zones, among others. The money has helped a great deal, if you look at the success of the (Kigali special) economic zone its proof of the impact,” he said.
The new agreement will outline the co-financing mechanisms, including joint investment appraisal, identification and analysis.
“We are adopting many more strategies beyond credit line such as co-financing where we will identify a big project and we can finance it jointly. We will be signing a memorandum of understanding on how to do joint appraisal, project identification, and analysis,” Kanyankole added.
Among projects to be considered is import substitution through increased support to Kabuye Sugar Works, and value addition to export-oriented sectors of the economy, such as coffee and tea.
The Annual General Meeting brings together senior government officials, including African and global CEOs, renowned academics, private sector practitioners and leading industrialists.
Participants are deliberating on how African countries can strategically invest in trade to boost intra-African trade so as to promote economic development, sustainably.
President Paul Kagame is expected to deliver a key note speech during the Saturday session.