KIGALI - President Paul Kagame, yesterday, called on investors to add value to what they produce prior to exporting, since it will not only improve on the quality of the country’s exports, but will bring in higher revenues for investors and the country.
Kagame made the call while commissioning a factory which will be adding value to cassiterite, one of Rwanda’s leading minerals exports, before it is sold on the international market.
The factory, Bashyamba Processing Plant, which is located in Kigali Sector, Nyarugenge district, is part of a US$15 million consortium known as Roka Rwanda which specialises in mining, processing and exporting cassiterite, wolfram and coltan.
“First of all, this is inline with the country’s thinking and policy of trying to add as much value to what we produce. It has been a tradition for many years that minerals or other things are exported in raw form,”
“What that means is that it benefits others more than us who actually produce such things. The more value we can add the more benefits for the country and for others. I think this is a pacesetter,” Kagame said.
The President emphasised that the factory should set an example for many other investors, even outside the mining sector.
“I am sure many other Rwandans or investors will learn a thing or two from this kind of investment and the philosophy behind it. The country is set to benefit more,” he noted.
The factory has modern processing equipment which is expected to reduce on minerals wasted as a result of traditional methods of extraction.
Kagame commended the proprietors of the plant and said that it was in line with the wider government policy of promoting value addition, not only in mining, but other sectors as well. He added that value addition will be one of his areas of concentration in the next seven years.
“We have been promising people that we will do more than what we have done in the past, so this helps me to build on and say yes, after all, some of these things we say are possible,” Kagame said.
Kari Gahiga, the chairman of Roka Rwanda, which has three mining concessions and 24 mines around the country, said that the group was encouraged to invest in the factory as a result of the good investment climate the government has put in place.
“I am so impressed by the way things are done here. The Government is helping many investors in so many ways and so efficiently. That’s very impressive for investors,” Gahiga said.
According to Emery Rubagenga, the CEO of the firm, other than the mining concessions, Roka Rwanda will be buying minerals from individual miners and cooperatives.
“We believe Rwandans will be earning good revenues from what we will be buying,” Rubagenga said, adding that Rwanda’s cast cassiterite elite and coltan are of high quality and highly sought after on the international market.
The plant will be processing the minerals up to 60% purity before export. The plant has a capacity of producing 12 tons a day, but management says plans are underway to upgrade it to 24.