Investors from Belgium and their Rwandan counterparts yesterday held a meeting to explore investment opportunities. In a the meeting that took place at Hotel des Mille Collines, Maurice Vermeesche who is Chairman of the East African Chapter at the Belgian Chamber of Commerce urged businessmen to take advantage of Rwanda’s joining the East African Community (EAC) by investing more.
“Together with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the EAC, business opportunities will be created to develop the economy of this country,” said Vermeesche who headed the Belgian delegation representing over 20 companies.
He said that together with their partners, they would strive to motivate Belgian companies to come and establish themselves in Rwanda and create new partnerships with their Rwandan counterparts.
He congratulated Rwanda for having assumed the presidency of the EAC just one year after joining the regional bloc.
“The fact that the country received the presidency of the region after only one year of membership, clearly demonstrates the great confidence partner countries have in Rwanda,” he remarked.
The Belgian businessmen on the delegation include investors in different areas such as construction, Information Communication Technology, tourism, among others.
During an interview, Vermeesche said that the initiative of bringing entrepreneurs from both countries together will forge a multiplying factor that will see more Belgian-based companies coming not only in Rwanda but also the East African Region as a whole.
The development comes after President Paul Kagame during a meeting in New York last week encouraged multinational corporations to invest in African states to facilitate development.
On behalf of Rwandan businessmen, the Private Sector Federation Chairman Robert Bayigamba said that this platform not only encourages Belgians to invest in Rwanda but also Rwandans to export their products to Belgium.
“It should not be a one-way traffic; we are encouraging Rwandans to take their products to Belgium…already Rwandans are exporting products like minerals and coffee there,” Bayigamba told The New Times.
He, however, said that the flow of exports to the European country is mainly affected by the high value of the Euro, the currency that is used in European countries.
Meanwhile, Vermeesche called upon Rwandan counterparts to make use of the recent 290 million-Euro grant from the European Union to the Rwandan Government aimed at promoting infrastructure, trade and good governance.
“Why should we not work together to realize some of these projects in partnership?” he challenged.
Other players in the platform include the Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA), the Centre for Support to Small and Medium Enterprises (CAPMER), among others. The platform which is held annually in Kigali was taking place for the sixth time.