As Rwandan policy makers are considering the East as an important source of investment that is needed to actualise the country’s transformation agenda, investment inflows are expected to exceed US$600 million this year.
Statistics from Rwanda Development Board (RDB) reveal that investments have grown significantly, from a low of US$28 million in 2005 to an all-time high of US$593 million in 2009.
The country has increasingly attracted interest as a top investment destination due to the aggressive investment promotion programmes targeting the eastern economies such as Thailand, India, China and Malaysia.
“This is based on the increased interest we have seen being generated from the Far East after President Paul Kagame’s visit to India and subsequent visits by Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Bernard Makuza and other Government officials to Thailand, India, China and Malaysia. These high-level initiatives as well as other planned initiatives will deliver the growth in investment Rwanda seeks,” Clare Akamanzi, RDB Chief Operating Officer (COO), told The Business Times in an exclusive interview.
Some of the showcased projects that RDB is convinced will deliver on the expectations this year includes the Marriott Hotel, the Convention Centre, as well as the entry of Hilton Hotel.
Within manufacturing, RDB looks up to the anticipated expansion of cement maker, Cimerwa, to almost 5 times its current capacity and the Steelrwa project in Rwamagana, both of which should facilitate the current boom within the real estate sector.
“The fact that the global economy is in recovery and Rwanda provides an ideal investment destination for investors seeking opportunities in emerging economies makes RDB confident that we will see a surge in investments to Rwanda this year,” Akamanzi added.
RDB says that the strategic shift to attracting investments from the east is due to the new realities of the global economy.
“The Far East economies, especially China and India, are fast becoming some of the largest contributors of global FDI flows. Rwanda is seeking to not only mobilise investments but also promote exports of our products into these markets,” Akamanzi noted, adding that: “The Far East has the liquidity needed to finance investments outside their countries and their companies are also very keen on finding opportunities.”
“Local investors are joining in the effort and realizing that the reforms we are doing are meant to work for them,” the RDB COO noted.
Going forward, the Board expects investments in 2011 to rebound as Rwanda remains very competitive in terms of doing business as the global economy is recovering.
Part of this year’s investment promotion is premised on what RDB terms as “sector specific” investment attraction.
RDB says that the general idea behind a targeted investment promotion approach is that Rwanda seeks to allocate its resources more around sectors that will have the most important impact.