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High Commission of Republic of Rwanda Republic of Uganda

Trade and Investments

Why invest in Rwanda

Rwanda has an open regime to FDI, and the Government has embarked upon an ambitious programme to modernize the investment framework. The aim is to provide a framework that both promotes investment and protects national interest.

Although progress realized so far is impressive given the situation inherited in 1994, much remains to be done to upgrade the entire framework. A number of recommendations are offered to transform Rwanda into a centre of excellence in soft infrastructure and governance and to set up a skills attraction and dissemination programme. These two elements would be central to the strategy of turning Rwanda into an attractive business location and for correcting the image of the country abroad.

The strategy to enhance the role of FDI in achieving national development goals. Medium- and long-term constraints to FDI attraction are highlighted and likely foreign investors are identified, together with their probable market focus. The strategy proposes to mitigate the impact of hard infrastructure constraints by turning the country into a centre of excellence in soft infrastructure and governance in Africa by 2010.

It also highlights that Rwanda would most benefit from attracting skilled individual foreign investors to bridge the skills gap and ensure a transfer a competence, and proposes to establish a business talent scheme. In addition to "horizontal" measures to promote business development, the strategy suggests a number of sectoral policy packages to improve investment conditions and advance the process of economic transformation and wealth creation.

• An investor-friendly attitude

The Government of Rwanda is acutely aware that achieving the objectives of its Vision 2020 requires a substantial contribution by foreign investors, who need to be welcomed and assisted on the ground. This awareness is reflected in several ways in the investment regime. Starting a business is much easier and faster in Rwanda, according to the World Bank, than it is in any of its neighbors. So is registering property. There are no sectors that are barred to foreign investors and no restrictions on the percentage of equity they might hold. The Constitution of 2003 also guarantees investors against expropriation, except in the public interest and with fair and prior compensation, which may be repatriated.

• Varied opportunities
Rwanda offers investment opportunities in just about every field, many focused on the local market and some on markets abroad. There are opportunities in manufacturing, for each type of investors targeting the local market, and the regional one, to which Rwanda’s strategic location provides good access. There are opportunities in agriculture: in the processing and export of coffee and tea, as well as in the virtually unexploited potential in horticulture and herbal products, where the terrain and climate are strong advantages. Then there is tourism, where the great asset is the mountain gorillas in Virunga but there is also a great diversity of fauna and flora and Lake Kivu in the west. Finally, the Government has made information and communication technology (ICT) a high priority and is in the process of developing a TechnoPark near Kigali to facilitate investment in this area.

• Soft assets: There are some very special features of Rwanda that are little known abroad, where the overriding association of the country is with the genocide of 1994. For one thing, it offers a safe and peaceful environment, with very low levels of crime (not something that can be said of many countries in sub-Saharan Africa). For another, there is very little corruption in the country, another distinct advantage among African and indeed among developing countries generally. For a third, it has a strongly development oriented Government, with a coherent vision of the future and a serious commitment to sustained reform. Lastly, Rwanda is an exceptionally beautiful country with a temperate climate (on account of its elevation), which would be very appealing to most foreign investors as a place to live in.

 

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