KIGALI - Top officials in the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) say they are teaming with local leaders to device a working strategy of enticing both local and foreign investors to the oft forgotten rural areas.
RDB’s Principal Deputy CEO George Mulamula said that one of this scheme’s benefits is that if they succeed, a thriving countryside will help “slow immigration to urban areas since development now would be across the board, in the whole country.”
“The idea is to create more opportunities, more capacity, in the rural area by building and spreading infrastructure,” Mulamula said.
“Extending, or spurring investments to the rural communities is our aim. We are spearheading RDB to say, ‘we are bringing in investments to the country’ but RDB’s mandate, our biggest mission, is to fast track development.”
“Meaning that, the farmer in Ruhengeri or the cow herder in the Eastern Province – how do they benefit from this investment? That is what we want to achieve,” an upbeat Mulamula said.
The RDB executive said that they have been going to the field, meeting with Governors and Mayors in all provinces and in some cases “participated in the Mihigo.”
“We want to galvanise their projects after looking into and identifying things such as what their opportunities are. We are going to advertise them, facilitate their project plans and provide capacity building.”
“Then we are going to pair them with the investors that are coming in and then monitor to make sure that there is real investment coming to the rural community.”
Mulamula pointed out one promising project being backed by the Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) and the Ministry of Commerce (Minicom) in the Southern Province.
The Director General Investment Promotion, Rosemary Mbabazi, backs this up and notes that a Cassava flour plant by Chinese investors is in the pipeline in the cassava rich Province.
“The site has been identified and now, feasibility studies are being done. This is a factory providing about 60 tonnes per day of flour,” said Mbabazi.
• Incentive package in pipeline
Even though no exact time-line is given, Mbabazi revealed that a pertinent “incentive package” was in the offing.
“At present, there is minimal incentive for someone to go up-country and we are working with Mayors to see how we can develop an incentive package that can attract investors to the provinces.”
“The Mayors are the people on the ground here and they have good ideas on how this can be accomplished. We come in to find out where and how we can help,” she said.
The RDB’s core responsibilities include accelerating the country’s strategic growth and development initiatives with initial emphasis on injecting a private sector mentality into government.