Rwanda aims to become more competitive

Policymakers, business leaders and experts have vowed to exploit all possible channels to improve the country’s ranking on the Global Competitiveness Index.  The 2010-2011 Global Competitiveness Index placed Rwanda as the fourth most competitive African country, following South Africa, Mauritius and Botswana, and 70th globally..
(L-R) RDB boss John Gara, Trade Minister Francois Kanimba and Clare Akamanzi also of RDB at the meeting on competitiveness yesterday. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira.
(L-R) RDB boss John Gara, Trade Minister Francois Kanimba and Clare Akamanzi also of RDB at the meeting on competitiveness yesterday. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira.

Policymakers, business leaders and experts have vowed to exploit all possible channels to improve the country’s ranking on the Global Competitiveness Index.

The 2010-2011 Global Competitiveness Index placed Rwanda as the fourth most competitive African country, following South Africa, Mauritius and Botswana, and 70th globally..

Speaking during a high-level brainstorming meeting on the Index, the Chief Research Economist at the African Development Bank, Peter Ondiege, said Rwanda’s performance was impressive.

“The issue Rwanda needs to look at, currently, is how to sustain its progress. This requires high commitment,” he said.

Ondiege noted that one of the areas that the country needs to focus is creating partnership between small and medium enterprises with large corporations.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, said they had devised measures to sustain high levels of competitiveness and that, currently, aimed at scoring higher.

“Our inside strategy is that we put ourselves under pressure to become even more competitive,” the minister said.

According to the Index report, Rwanda benefits from strong and well-functioning institutions, with very low levels of corruption. It pointed out that the country’s labour market was efficient, its financial markets relatively well developed, and is characterized with innovation, which is quite good for a country at its stage of development.

Kanimba listed a number of setbacks that had led to Rwanda not topping the table including lack of appropriate technologies in the agricultural sector, high level of unskilled personnel and low levels of access to financial service.

The CEO of Tele 10, Eugene Nyagahene, called for improved education quality to help improve business competition.

“The quality of education offered in institutions of higher learning does not match the technologies on the market, which becomes difficult for employers to recruit fresh graduates,” he said.

The founder and CEO of Shokola coffee shops, Amin Gafaranga,  said that Rwanda needs to establish social innovative labs that would bring together representatives of large companies and SMEs to brainstorm and come up with innovations rather than competing among themselves.

“For Rwanda to top the table, there is need to create a system of partnership. This requires a new way of thinking,” said Gafaranga.

The Senior Director and Lead Economist at the World Economic Forum, Dr Jennifer Blanke, highlighted the findings of the Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 for Rwanda where she noted that the country performed better than China in labour market efficiency.

“Rwanda is currently ranked second globally in women involvement in labour-force, however, the market size is still low,” she said.

Participants drew recommendations that would help ensure that the country’s performance improves its ranking.

edwin.musoni@newtimes.co.rw

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