When one compares Rwanda’s investment landscape, between this year and the last, one thing seems clear.2011 is much better than 2010.
The subject of investment is always hot. One reason is that investments in in the country are taken as a key barometer in the transformation agenda. Early this year, there was debate on whether vision 2020, Rwanda’s roadmap into the future, will be attained as planned.
Discussion forums within social media, including Rwanda’s critics, argued that vision 2020’s path was under serious strain. Such critics pointed out the declining global Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) pattern in the past few years.
It is true that last year’s investment figures were low. The slump was largely due to the after effects of the global financial crisis that adversely affected FDIs all over the world. To be precise, last year’s figures, are said to be the biggest slump ever witnessed in Rwanda, according to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) statistics, over the last 10 years.
According to RDB, the year 2009 was the best for Rwanda where registered investments passed the billion dollar mark, to top at US$1.1 billion. However, the registered projects nose-dived to less than US$400 million last year.
This sharp decline is what RDB must have worked very hard to cover for the year 2011 that is now coming to an end. The question is: how has Rwanda performed over the course of the year 2011?
For starters, RDB says that investment in Rwanda has significantly grown over the last 10 years. An indicator of such growth is that, from a low of US $27 million in the year 2000, investments soared to US $471 million in 2005,largely on account of a surge in FDIs, which accounted for more than 80 percent of the total investments.
The set target of US$550 million is likely to be met or surpassed in the year 2011, if the stories that have trickled in during the course of this year, is anything to go by.
RDB’s investment promotion strategy that is premised on south-south cooperation has resulted in FDIs from
the southern hemisphere bridging the gaps emanating from traditional FDI sources from the west that delivered on the sterling performance of 2009.
This is noticeable when one looks at some of the emerging global multinational corporations from the south, making very serious commitments to invest in Rwanda, this year.
Leading corporations from the south, such as Bharti Airtel of India or Orascom from Egypt and even an emerging class of local investors made compelling stories of committing money to the country.
Throughout the year, we were treated to stories of such companies making various multi-million dollar deals that can now be said to have generally served to close the ranks on hitting the US$550 million target.
Generally, the year 2011 was a good one for Rwanda’s investment landscape especially in recovering lost ground.
While, we in the media are yet to be furnished with provisional statistics by RDB for this year, tell-tale indicators are such that 2011 looks far much brighter than last year.
The author is an editor with The New Times