Rwandan missions abroad have embarked on a drive to promote the country as an investment and tourism destination.
From South Africa, the USA, and The Netherlands, envoys are keen on meeting potential investors as they work to supplement efforts to fast-track economic development back home.
In a recent “doing business in Africa” event, in South Africa, Francis Karimba, the Commercial Attaché at Rwanda’s High Commission in Pretoria, said that attention was put on Rwanda.
“The focus and presentations was on various success stories or opportunities in Africa and Rwanda was highlighted in the way doing business has greatly improved in many areas despite the current world economic situation,” Karimba said in an e-mail.
“As a result of Rwanda's good performance, the High Commission receives and facilitates many business and tourism trips to Rwanda which are channeled through the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and we are convinced that this will soon turn into actual FDIs.”
Another such event is scheduled for September 26.
Business Breakfasts are held at least five times a year with the participation of South African businesses such as MTN, Engen and African Parks, that already have a strong presence in Rwanda.
Rwanda’s Commercial Attaché in Washington DC, Bonny Musefano, pointed out that the embassy uses every opportunity to market the country, including “presenting the unique Rwandan culture through displays for the walk-in visitors who look intently at the art work at the embassy premises.”
He added that the Bourbon café shop in Washington DC that solely sells Rwandan coffee and tea, is a gateway to the country.
Inside the shop, Rwandan handicrafts are displayed and plans are underway to broaden the horizons.
“And in future, a TV screen will have short movies showing Rwanda’s diversity and touristic attractions,” Musefano disclosed.
Tourist events like gorilla naming [Kwita Izina] are broadcast on the embassy website and embassy staff showcase the investment opportunities during trade shows and business seminars.
“Using offices like the US Chamber of Commerce, we organise business meetings for the investors interested in Rwanda and meet some who are already in Rwanda. In these gatherings, investment opportunities are presented,” Musefano said.
The Embassy of Rwanda in The Hague launched Discover Rwanda, a magazine which showcases the country’s investment opportunities as well as tourism attractions.
The magazine also has a Dutch version, Ontdek Rwanda.
Immaculee Uwanyiligira, Rwanda's ambassador to The Netherlands said that the embassy commissioned a research study, in collaboration with the University of Groningen, that would be the basis for increasing foreign direct investments (FDI).
“The research study, aimed at increasing Dutch FDI into the Rwandan market, examines all key sectors in Rwanda, and compare these with Dutch expertise and highlights possible areas of focus for Dutch investors,” Amb. Uwanyiligira said.
“This publication, is not only going to be a good guide for the Embassy in seeking investors, but it will equally be useful in providing orientation for prospective investors seeking to break into the Rwandan market.”
In April, the embassy organised and facilitated a trip to Rwanda of a team of Dutch photographers and reporters from BNN, a broadcasting company in the Netherlands, to film three 20-minute segments on Rwanda's National Parks.
The program, 3OpReis, with a viewership of over 1million, will be aired in the spring of 2012.
According to Amb. Uwanyiligira, plans are also underway to ensure Rwanda's participation in Vakantiebeurs, the largest international tourism fair for consumers and trade visitors in the Netherlands, which will be held in January 2012.
Vakantiebeurs 2012 is considered the world's leading consumer tourism fair.
In May, the embassy made presentations in Latvia (one of the five countries in the Embassy's expanded jurisdiction), at a forum called Latvia-Africa Forum for Development, organised by the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The forum brought together over 100 business people with representatives from nine African countries and representatives from the European Commission.
During the same month, the embassy participated in a similar forum in Estonia, and also exhibited Rwanda Art and Culture at World Day, held in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.
The embassy also has a monthly newsletter, RwandaFul The Hague, which gives news about Rwanda and is distributed to contacts in the Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia, and Slovenia.
“We have already received good reviews including some interested prospective investors from Slovenia,” Amb. Uwanyiligira added.