LONDON - The 2nd Rwanda Diaspora Business Expo ended on a good note on Sunday in London with Banque de Kigali (BK), waiving off Bank Charges involved in remittances of money from Rwandans in the UK and many other parts of the world.
This offer is also extended to the transfer of money from BK to other accounts held in different banks in the country. Medium businesses in export sectors such as handicrafts, coffee, tea and agro-processing stole the show this year.
Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR), Banque de Kigali and Capital Market Advisory Council were other Kigali based companies present.
James Gatera, the Managing Director of Banque de Kigali (BK) told the Rwandan community in London that his bank will with immediate effect waive off all costs involved in transferring money to the country and also promised to convince other stakeholders in the banking industry to follow his decision.
Central Bank of Rwanda figures show that Rwandan Diaspora remittances in the form of investment flows into various development sectors of the economy per year stood at US$ 80 million.
Gatera thanked Rwandans in the Diaspora for contributing heavily in the form of investments and hard cash flow that has contributed to the growth of the country’s economy that now stands at around 6.9% and is projected to grow at 8.5% this financial year.
The Rwandan government, in recognition of the fundamental role those in the Diaspora play in the development of the economy, like many African countries, has set up a Diaspora unit in the ministry of Foreign Affairs to mobilize their various resources.
The Central Bank is currently studying measures from other countries on how to monitor and attract more remittances from people in the Diaspora.
Government sources also reveal that it is also going to establish an Investment and Savings Diaspora Fund as one of the mechanisms of tapping more revenue flows from Rwandans across the world.
Statistics from the African Development Bank show that the overall annual remittances by Africans in the Diaspora to their various countries stand at US12.5 billion.
Meanwhile, the business Expo opened up markets for Rwandan local producers to the UK market with many local retailers and buyers striking business contracts to have the goods supplied.
The Director of RDI, Jonathan Rutaganira said Rwandan local products and produce had secured market in the UK. He also mentioned that bananas and cassava flour had commanded the highest demand.
In his closing remarks, the Rwandan Ambassador to the UK, Claver Gatete, said that the show was a unique opportunity to have Rwandan local products penetrate the UK market. He promised continued government support to both local and international investors in trying to achieve Vision 2020.
Gatete further said that UK companies had shown interest in the Rwandan products and were willing to set up a plant in the country which will help in adding value, a factor that would help them compete on the international market.
Claire Akamanzi, the Deputy Director General of RIEPA, hailed RDI for helping the country showcase its products in the UK and EU markets.
She said that the Rwandan Diaspora can play a critical role in the economic development of the country through investing and encouraging others to invest in Rwanda.
The three-day event was hosted by Rwanda Diaspora Investment UK Ltd (RDI), in conjunction with the Rwandan Embassy in the UK, Rwanda Investment & Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA) and Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF).