The New Times (Kigali)

15 November 2012

Rwanda: YPO Launches Rwanda Business Network

The Young Presidents' Organisation (YPO) - Rwanda Action Forum (RAF) has set up a new group "Doing Business in Rwanda Network" that will focus on attracting foreign direct investment into the country.

Denis Overton, Managing Director of Aquascot who headed the 17- member YPO delegation, made the remarks, yesterday, while speaking to journalists shortly after meeting President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro.

Aquascot is a Sotland based sea food company.

The group is in the country to learn more about the country's vision and progress as well as to follow up on projects set up during their previous visits.

"Today we are able to launch the next development in the life of the forum doing business in Rwanda network within YPO, which marks a change to greater emphasis on foreign direct investment coming to the country," Overton said.

"The business network will allow us to connect with some of our 20,000 members within YPO who are very interested in the straight forward business development activities."

YPO is a global network that connects 20,000 chief executives of leading companies generating $6 trillion and employing more than 15 million people in 120 countries.

Overton noted that RAF focuses on economic development by connecting members from around the world with business opportunities in the country.

"We are exploring new areas of investment and, it's very important for potential investors within our network to know and understand Rwanda, its people and particularly perhaps entrepreneurs."

The group that comprised of members from Australia, Scotland, USA, South Africa, India, Israel, Czech Republic and Rwanda visited the Head of State to update him on their various initiatives and to develop further cooperation with Rwanda.

"YPO-Rwanda Action Forum currently focuses on agriculture, ICT, education among others. We have achieved a lot since the inception of Rwanda chapter five years ago," Emery Rubagenga Chapter Chair YPO-Rwanda said.

The YPO-Rwanda Chapter has 30 members.

The global forum activities started in Rwanda in 2008 when the first group of 12 members from the global organization visited the country as part of an economic development network's exploratory mission to Africa.

YPO was founded in 1950 by manufacturer Ray Hickok ,who, at the age of 27, inherited his family's 300-employee company in New York. He and other young presidents began meeting regularly as a way to become better leaders by learning from each other. This founding principle still guides the organization today.

YPO members are required to "graduate" from the organisation at age 50, with many joining World Presidents' Organisation, or WPO, a group founded in 1970 by 200 former YPO members to sustain their YPO experience. Originally, called World Business Council, the group changed its name to World Presidents' Organisation in 1991 to reflect its rapid growth in membership and global reach.

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