The commencement of Turkish airlines flights to Kigali, which is expected to be launched in the near future, will ease the time jam business people have been facing at Nairobi, Rwanda’s major outlet link to the outside world.
“As you know Turkish Airlines (TA) is the world’s eighth largest airline; their flights cover 14 African cities in 12 countries. We are glad that Rwanda is going to be the next stop. It will bridge the distance between Istanbul and Kigali,” said Emmanuel Hategeka, the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Hategeka who was addressing a 15 man delegation comprised of investors from Turkey on Friday noted that the government of Rwanda is looking for ways of how to increase the volume of trade with Turkey.
“Opportunities are immense, we have concluded trade negotiations in the region which is an advanced level of integration, we have also done EAC and SADC and the whole idea is to increase one free rated zone of 600m people. So this is unfolding terms of market,” he said.
The delegation was identifying potential areas for investment and ways how they can expand their businesses in Rwanda, a move that is expected to strengthen the investment relations between the two countries.
The PS also noted that government is willing to support their businesses through provision of business friendly policies and link them to Rwanda’s private sector.
“We have no doubt that we are going to move for the next step of operationalization of these newly registered entities.”
Rwanda is one of the largest importers of Turkish goods such as Flour, Pharmaceuticals, cleaning supplies, car parts, clothing and paper products, electric appliances and construction equipments.
Five out of 15 Turkish investor who visited Rwanda registered their companies with RDB while others are seeking for a potential partnership with local companies.
The PS further noted that terms of business transactions, imports from Turkey amounted to 4.8$ millions in 2009 and 5.7$ millions in 2010, noting that after the visit the figures are expected increase. It is also planned that Rwanda can start exporting coffee to Turkey.
The value of trade between Turkey and sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to have reached nearly $20bn in 2009, around three times the figure of 2003.
Turkey is also looking to enter into a free trade agreement with the East African Community, a customs union between Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda, by 2019.