Rwanda is becoming a trade leader in Africa

| January 5, 2015 | 0 Comments
This methane gas extraction plant is situated on the shores of Lake Kivu, in a western province of Rwanda.

This methane gas extraction plant is situated on the shores of Lake Kivu, in a western province of Rwanda.

Rwanda and Canada have enjoyed good bilateral relations over the past half-century.
Trade between the two countries presents a vast range of opportunities. Our goal is to invite Canadian investors to join the fast-growing East African Community, with Rwanda being an interesting regional hub.
In 2013, the total value of exports from Rwanda to Canada was US $1.9 million while the total value of exports from Canada to Rwanda was US $2.4 million. Apart from aircraft imported from Bombardier, which represents more than 90 percent of total import values, Rwanda imported a number of other products, including wheat, motor vehicles, uncoated craft paper and paperboard, textiles and electrical apparatus. Exports from Rwanda to Canada included coffee, tea, mate, spices, edible vegetables, roots and tubers, fruits, nuts and precious stones. Though not major trading partners, it is important to notice the positive trend in the trade relationship with Canada with growth of more than 40 percent annually.
But given that the total two-way trade is less than $5 million, we are keen to increase these volumes through investment and trade. Our specialty coffees, which win awards all over the world, would undoubtedly appeal to Canadians. We also produce tea (both black and green) and pyrethrum and how about some delicious natural forest honey to go with a cup of Rwandan tea? Other than food products, we produce beautiful handicrafts with a special Rwandan look that adds a touch of colour to interior decor and wardrobes.
Rwanda offers a wide range of investment opportunities, ranging from agro-processing through infrastructure to mining. As an example, we have a Canadian company, Stevia Life, growing Stevia [a natural sugar substitute] in Rwanda and we expect that one day, they will be exporting the product back to Canada.
Perhaps the biggest opportunities for both countries — given Canada’s expertise and Rwanda’s natural resources — is mining. Rwanda has vast reserves of tin, coltan and wolfram, all of which are used in electronic products such as mobile phones being assembled around the world. We also have gold reserves that we want to exploit.
Canadians are also welcome to invest or bid on all of our government contracts and set up business in Rwanda. Most important, they are welcome to invest in our major infrastructure projects such as railways (two projects with feasibility studies worth US $5 billion and $13 billion), our airport (one project is in the bidding process and worth $750 million), energy and mining.
In addition, Rwanda is a home for tourism treasures, including the last mountain gorillas on Earth. Each year, close to 1,000 Canadians visit these endangered creatures. We wish to encourage more Canadians to visit our gorillas and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience while helping our conservation efforts. We offer a secure and magical environment in which  you can go on safari, climb mountains to view the landscape or just relax on the edge of Lake Kivu in one of our eco-lodges.
Rwanda places a great deal of importance on offering investors a transparent and effective business environment. We are now rated by the World Bank as the second-easiest country in which to do business in Africa and 32nd worldwide. For example, you can establish a company online in a matter of hours. Our investment code also offers investors equal treatment with local investors and strong protection in line with international best practice. Rwanda is known as the safest, cleanest and least corrupt country in Africa.
These rankings are the result of systematic reforms by the government of Rwanda, thanks to the leadership of President Paul Kagame, who is determined to make Rwanda the best place to invest and conduct business. We also want to establish Rwanda as the point de passage to reach the East African Community and Africa for investors.
Rwanda and Canada are at the early stages of discussing a foreign investment protection agreement, which, once concluded, will significantly benefit our two countries by increasing our trade and investment volumes.

Shakilla Umutoni is the chargé d’affaires at the Rwanda High Commission. Reach her at ksumutoni@minaffet.gov.rw or 613-794-2225.

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Shakilla Umutoni is the chargé d’affaires at the Rwanda High Commission. Reach her at ksumutoni@minaffet.gov.rw or 613-794-2225.

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