A team of leading Nigerian investors yesterday met with President Paul Kagame who encouraged them to exploit the Rwandan market by making massive investments.
The 17 members of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) were accompanied by the Rwandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Joseph Habineza.
Speaking to the press shortly after the meeting, Habineza said one of the reasons for the Nigerian’s visit was to see how the country has recovered from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“In their talks with President Kagame, they expressed interest in ensuring that African businessmen invest in Africa,” he said.
He added that the President pledged to facilitate pan-African investment which is already on course between Rwanda and Nigeria.
Habineza, who has been Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria for less than a year, has managed to mobilize a large team of investors in what he referred to as ‘Come and See’ initiative.
“I worked in Nigeria for six years before and I managed to make friends and establish contacts. Nigeria has many rich and potential investors and my next move is to woo them to invest in Rwanda,” he said
He added that the American University of Nigeria has pledged to give two scholarships to Rwandan students every year.
In his address to the press after meeting the President, the Chairman of NESG, Philip Foluso, said the delegation met government officials charged with investment as well as businessmen in order to explore the potential investment opportunities.
“Our job here is to try and see what it is exactly that we can take back home in terms of encouraging the people that we know to invest internationally,” said Foluso, who also Executive Chairman of Philips Consulting Group.
“It is important for us to continue with the pan-African attitude and trade with each other. There is no doubt about it, the size of Nigeria in terms of population and the revenues we generate, we have the financial muscle to do it.
We are going to encourage West Africans to invest in the continent. We are a small team of potential investors but we are able to motivate very many others to invest in Rwanda. So far, we have on my team someone very interested in the aviation business since aviation is going to be a fundamental part of Rwanda’s development,” he said.
“We have a financial service company that is interested in trying to see how we can raise funds for people who want to invest in Rwanda, and do all the necessary businesses and inquiries. We also have people interested in media business,” added Foluso, who is also the Director of the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce.
As Rwanda eyes benefits from Nigerian investments, Foluso said the Rwandan business community have multiple opportunities of investing in Nigeria.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Clemantine Vervelde Murekatete, a Rwandan citizen operating Limitless Africa Company based in Nigeria, said that her company partly coordinated the visit of the Nigerian investors.
“Our aim is to ensure that investments in Africa are done by Africans before we extend to other continents,” said Murekatete
“Nigeria has a vast market; any investment from a Rwandan would prosper…I would advise Rwandans to invest in areas like telecommunication and fresh foods and milk”.