Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has said it is shifting focus to attracting more investments from emerging economies specifically in Asian markets, in a bid to boost private investments in the country.
Claire Akamanzi, the Chief Operation Officer (COO) at RDB told a press briefing on Friday that her institution has already embarked on an investment campaign that seeks to tap from the big investment potential from Asia countries including India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
“We want (to) spend more time attracting investments from Asia …going into 2011. We think that targeting emerging economies particularly from Asia is going to be our main strategy for us to increase investments in 2011 and beyond,” Akamanzi said.
Citing India, Thailand and Malaysia as countries where RDB has already sent delegations, the COO said Asia presents enormous opportunities for increasing private investment that the country badly needs to sustain high economic growth rates.
“Since we went to India we have had at least five companies that have registered in Rwanda including a company that will set up a cassava processing plant,” Akamanzi said also while referring to a recent visit by a 17 member delegation from Singapore as part of the wider efforts to attract investment from Asia.
“We have seen that Asia has potential and they are also quick in terms of decision making for investment; we think there is a lot of potential there and that is going to be very key factor in our mobilization to increase investments,” she observed.
As of December 15 2010, preliminary statistics from RDB show the country managed to attract overall investments worth Rwf225billion or $380 million.
While total investments registered in 2009 and 2010 reflect a 64.9 percent decrease in value from Rwf641 billion to Rwf225 billion, the number of projects registered slightly declined by 10 percent from 109 to 98 projects.
“We had three large projects last year… this accounted for big investment levels; we do not have a project compared to ContourGlobal this year and we expect it to impact on the value of investments this year,” Akamanzi explained.
Last year ContourGlobal Kivuwatt Ltd, a subsidiary of American based ContourGlobal’s $325 million investment to develop an integrated gas extraction and electricity generation facility that will provide 100 MW of natural gas from Lake Kivu became largest investment in the country’s history.
However, the COO noted that the slight difference in the projects registered reflects sustained investor interest in the country.
“Number of projects is important because it shows interest.”
Akamanzi observed that mobilizing long term finance has been a major challenge in regard to attracting investment.
“Most projects we are discussing in the pipeline this year; it has been difficult in terms of raising finance especially from abroad - that we think has created an impact.”
Out of the entire basket of investment registered during the period under review, local investments took the lion’s share with 21 projects registered worth $187million representing 49.3 percent, while 29 projects worth $106million are Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) representing 27.9 percent including 1 project from the Rwandan diaspora. 8 joint ventures worth $87million representing 22.8 percent.