NYARUGENGE - At least 500 business executives from across the globe are expected to attend the Commonwealth East African International Business Forum (EAIBF) planned for Kigali next week.
This was revealed yesterday by Francis Gatare, Deputy CEO, Business operations and Services of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in a press briefing that took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the tentative programme, some East African Community (EAC) Heads-of-States are also expected.
“We expect between 150 and 200 from the broader international community, and 50-100 from the EAC member states excluding Rwanda. The rest will be local,” Gatare said.
He added that the high level forum will be a follow up of the East African Investment Conference that also took place in Kigali in June.
This forum, according to Gatare, is jointly organized by the Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA), the EAC and the Commonwealth Business Council.
It will be held under the theme “Trade and Investment Opportunities: East Africa—one market, one destination” and international investors will have a chance to explore the opportunities of investing in the community.
“Our aim is to reach out to the world and this conference will be adding value to similar ones that preceded it including the EAC investment conference and the Commonwealth Business Forum that took place in Uganda,” said Gatare.
Meanwhile, both Gatare and the Kenyan Ambassador to Rwanda Alex Ketter with whom he addressed the briefing confirmed that the raging financial crisis in the western economies will also be on the agenda for discussion during the forum.
“It will be discussed under the theme “Access to Finance for Development and the Global Financial crisis” and we shall devise means of how our emerging economies can use the crisis to our advantage by tapping into the liquidity of the affected economies,” Gatare said.
The press briefing was held after a stakeholders’ meeting to prepare the event.
According to the programme, speakers will include Presidents Kagame and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mohamed Shein.
According to the organizers, the business executives will come from as far as the United States, Europe, Asia and across Africa.
The forum will also serve as a preparatory event for the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting (CHOGM) which is slated to take place in Trinidad and Tobago next year.
It is also during this CHOGM that Rwanda’s application to join the commonwealth will be considered, and according to officials, chances are high that it will be approved as a member of this club which mainly brings together former colonies of Great Britain.