KIGALI - A high level delegation of investors from Europe which has been in the country on a fact-finding mission said on Friday that Rwanda, has a ‘terrifically attractive investment climate’ that is capable of attracting huge foreign capital.
Addressing a press conference shortly after the end of their two-day visit, the head of the group, Marc Holtzman, who is the Vice Chairman of Barclays Investment Capital, said that the group he was leading which is worth about US$16bn in investment capital, showed great interest in venturing into Rwanda.
The group members include; Dexter Paine, the Chairman of Paine Partners, a global $4bn private equity fund investing mainly in agriculture and Richard Haines, the CEO of Hyde Park Investment corporation, a multi billion dollar fund investing in mining. They all expressed their interest to sink large sums of money in investment projects.
The other members of the delegation included Alexksander Shneider, a private equity investor and a leading investor in Poland, Rupert Adams, investment fund manager in Switzerland and Kurt Butenhoff.
“After meeting President Kagame in London last month, most of these investors were extremely energized by what they have seen in this country.
People who come here and see what is happening here, the socio-economic transformation and good leadership obviously want to be part of this story,” Holtzman told the press at Kigali Serena Hotel.
The investors who visited different parts of the country to seek different areas of investment including Agriculture, Mining, Finance, Telecommunication, Energy, Manufacturing and construction, said there are vast opportunities they are interested in investing and also will use their connections to woo other investors.
He said that the investors were impressed by the country’s programme to promote education, observing that it is the strongest investment the government has made as it is the engine for growth.
“With all these opportunities in place and the commitment to education in this country, we see Rwanda becoming a high-tech hub, a hub of special skills and the engine of this 120 million population base of East Africa,”
“I predict in the next 2-3 years, with Rwanda’s policies of transparency; the complete lack of corruption, which is very noticeable here which is very unique for Africa and anywhere else absolutely, this is going to become the jewel of Africa and one of the fastest emerging markets of the world,” Holtzman said.
One of the Investors Alexksander Schneider who hails from Poland said that Rwanda’s history of genocide and the unique ability to gather up pieces to emerge as one of the continents fastest growing economies is similar to that of Poland and inspires him to invest in the country.
“I will soon move here with my family,” said Schneider who runs a string of family owned businesses and a leading investor who has been key in the economic transformation of Poland.
On behalf of the government, the Minister of State in charge of Mining and Environment, Vincent Karega, who was standing in for the trade and industry Minister, said that the government ‘is pleased’ to receive some of the leading investors in the world who are keen to invest in Rwanda.
“For us as the government, we say it is very critical and important, as you know Rwanda is a country that is changing fast, coming from a very low base but with proper leadership; good governance, we are yielding good results that make world class investors think of coming to Rwanda,” Karega said.
He noted that the people of Rwanda will benefit through wealth creation, job creation and capital creation necessary for social-economic development once these investments are set up.
The visit was facilitated by Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the national body charged with investment.