20 November 2012

Rwanda: Swedish Investors Eye Energy Sector

A ten-person delegation of Swedish investors and government officials is in the country to explore business opportunities in the country's energy sector, with eyes on the solar, hydro and methane gas potential.

Received by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), yesterday, the team is made up of top officials from the Swedish Ministry of Trade as well as private firms such as Hi Nation, Alir Power Systems and Open Trade Gate.

Speaking at a meeting, the Sweden Business Facilitator for East Africa, Birgitta Piippola, said Sweden sought to open a gateway for business partnerships in order to contribute to Rwanda's plans to increase energy production.

She added that the most important thing was to create long-term relations with not just the government through RDB, but with private companies, to create a strong base for business and trade between Sweden and Rwanda.

"The people here today are from the Swedish energy branch and are ready to make the next biggest business step in Rwanda to start investing in energy," Piippola said.

"Sweden is a high importing country- therefore; it is possible to open up room for more trade between Rwanda and Sweden. We are here not just to get knowledge about Rwanda but to start business and to find partners for the future".

The acting Chief Operating Officer of RDB, Tony Nsanganira, said the government targets to increase the number of households connected to electricity from 16 percent to at least 35 percent by 2020, and that more investments were being lured in the energy sector to make this a reality.

"There are many potential energy sources in the country that have not been fully exploited, including peat, solar, wind, methane and hydro. To have more potential investors showing interest gives us assurance that we are on the right track to meet our targets," Nsanganira said.

The Director of Advocacy of the Private Sector Federation, Antoine Manzi, told journalists that PSF had embarked on connecting Swedish investors with Rwandan entrepreneurs in the energy sector, as well as exporters of especially agricultural and horticultural products which Sweden is interested in.

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