2007: Year of investments

Several investments, some of which have helped Rwanda position its self as an investment hub have been registered in this year.

Several investments, some of which have helped Rwanda position its self as an investment hub have been registered in this year.

Dubai world
On 26, September Dubai World and the government sealed a deal putting the country at a higher pedestal in the East African region.

Dubai World, a major holding company owned by the United Arab Emirates plans to invest $230 million in the tourism sector.

Through its investment arm, Istithmar Real Estate, eight tourism facilities, including luxury hotels and lodges in national parks and villas in Kigali City will be built. Already preliminary works have started.

Rwanda participated in the World Travel Market (WTM); the event helped the country propel her name globally as a world tourism destination.

During the exhibition at the market in London, different Rwandan tour and travel companies signed or renewed cooperation agreements with various companies that included, International, Regional and National tourism organisations.

Cooperation agreements were also renewed between tour operators and travel agencies, hotel chains and airline companies, tour and travel agencies, trade associations, cruise ships, transporters and insurance companies.

Aviation industry
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) installed 14 more surveillance cameras at Kigali International Airport in an effort to step up security at the airport.

This is one of the recommended security alert   gargets the International Civil Aviation Organisation advises airports to install in strategic positions at the passenger terminal building.

These cameras are expected to enhance police’s capacity to detect smuggling of weapons, explosives, and drugs.
The CAA assured stakeholders that the high security alert campaign will be rolled-out to upcountry aerodromes.

Brussels Airlines introduced a third flight in and out of Kigali International Airport on Thursday December 26.

CAA granted the airline company permission to operate a third flight, increasing the airlines’ frequency from 2 to 3 weekly. It has been operating only two flights on Tuesday and Saturday, but it could not meet demand for bookings.

Rwandair Express the only flag carrier entered a code sharing deal with Qatar Airways; this means passengers can fly on any airline to any destination so long as they have tickets. 

This year ending saw the re-acquisition of Rwandatel by government from Terracom. Later the company was sold to Lap Green Networks which paid Government $50m as partial payment for the 80 per cent shares.

Lap Green which sealed a takeover deal with government on 26 October agreed to pay $100m and expects to clear the remaining $50 million, by 2009.

To have a local investor represent Rwandan’s interests in Rwandatel, Government sold 20 per cent stake to the Social Security Fund.

Finance and banking
The National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) on 31st October issued Frw2000 currency note which is violet in colour.

The new denomination comes 30 years after the central bank of Rwanda released Frw5,000 note.

The note that was approved by cabinet is already in circulation and has a size of 142x 72 millimeters with Rwanda’s Coat of Arms and the electrotype element representing the logo of National Bank of Rwanda.

The tender to print the new note was won and implemented by a Belgian company, De La Rue Currency and Security Print Ltd.

Ecobank took-over Bank of Commerce Development and Industry, promising to recapitalise the bank after its shareholders failed to raise Frw5 billion, a minimum commercial bank should have in order to operate in the country.

And some shareholders are still in court allegedly for flouting financial and banking regulations—prohibiting insider lending.

On 27 November an interim agreement of the Economic Partnership Agreements (ACP) between the East African Community (EAC) member states and the European Union (EU) was signed.

This was a provision that would see smooth floor of trade among EAC and EU after the expiration of World Trade Organisation waiver for existing trade agreements on 31st December 2007.

A joint Parliamentary Assembly between African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and European Union (EU) was convened in Kigali from 19th -22nd November.

On 22 November they (parliamentarians) adopted the Kigali Declaration which among other things wants ACP countries to be given more time to negotiate a deal on the ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements.

The Kigali Declaration on EPAs urges the European Commission to acknowledge that more time is needed for ACP states to assess the implications of the agreements proposed, given that negotiations have only taken place in earnest for the past two years.

Increasing oil prices
As international oil prices increased,  a November sursey of fuel stations indicated that  petrol, diesel, paraffin and cooking gas prices had increased.

This had a direct impact on transport as fares were also hiked.

This year ending also still saw a boom in the construction sector causing cement shortage in the country.

This was partly caused when CIMEWRWA, the company charged with cement manufacturing struggled to divide the little cement it produces to supply its growing markets Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and the local market.

Expo 2007
The 2007 expo that took place between August 23 and 3rd September at Gikondo Expo  Grounds, attracted more exhibitors than ever.

All East African Community (EAC) countries participated. But exhibitors from Egypt, India, Ethiopia and Ghana were also attracted. 

The number of exhibitors increased by 14 percent, the highest since the Private Sector Federation was formed. At least 323 exhibitors were registered compared to 271 exhibitors in 2006.

During the show, Akagera Aviation with their choppers attracted most show-goers as many wanted to have fun-flights around the city.

The only chopper pilots and engineers’ training school and flight operator ended up winning this years’ best exhibitor award.

Stock exchange
On December 19, the capital markets advisory council (CMAC) announced that it secured a trading floor at Ecobank’s 5th floor.

According to Robert Mathu executive director of CMAC, a fully fledged stock exchange is expected to start January next year.

They also announced that already a number of companies have expressed interest of becoming members of a stock exchange in Kigali and that rules have now been put in place.