Rwanda Development Board (RDB) says it will fast track economic growth, this year, through increased local and foreign investment into the country.
While the institution managed to attract 105 investment projects worth $381m from both local and foreign investors in 2010, this year, it is targeting sealing $550m.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Rwanda’s economy can potentially grow by 8.5 percent this year though this would require additional investment of between $200-300m or about 4-8 percent of GDP annually over the medium term.
“In 2010, RDB completed its restructuring which has strengthened its ability to deliver on its mission to fast track economic growth,” John Gara, RDB’s Chief Executive Officer, told Business Times in an email interview on Monday.
The new structure, he said, has resulted in five economic cluster departments focusing on Rwanda’s priority sectors, as well as new supporting divisions, including a strategy and competitiveness unit.
Priority sectors include; agricult
ure, trade and manufacturing, tourism, ICT, and services.
“This will help to define RDB’s direction in terms of effective support to private sector growth in Rwanda,” he said.
To further stimulate private investment, the CEO underscored that RDB invested heavily in infrastructure including completing the ICT fibre-optic backbone and the new Canopy Walk in Nyungwe National Park.
Specifically, the roll out of over 2,300km of fiber optic cable around the country, including cross-border fiber installation at Uganda and Tanzania borders, was completed.
The cable, RDB says, is expected not only to provide access to affordable and high-speed internet connectivity but also enhance efficient service delivery in public and private sectors.
Within the tourism sector, which fetched $200m in revenue in 2010, RDB says it targets $216m this year particularly through diversification of tourism products.
“Among the strategies in place to achieve our targets includes attracting investment from new economic power houses in Asia as well as incorporating more regulatory and legal reforms that support private sector growth,” Gara said.
In addition to implementing the doing business reforms, the CEO said RDB has further strengthened the mandate of the Doing Business Unit, which will now implement a strategy to go beyond the World Bank’s Doing Business benchmarks.
Gara observed that, in 2011, economic growth estimated at 7 percent is expected to be driven by good performance in agriculture, including traditional exports of tea and coffee, tourism, and mining.
“RDB will continue to lay the foundations for manufacturing and industrial development through the launch of the first special economic zone in Rwanda, the Kigali Economic Zone. We will also focus heavily on laying the foundations for the development of the services sector, particularly ICT,” he said.