21 December 2012

Rwanda Attracted $1.1 Billion in Investments

As investment has expanded, so has the skyline in Kigali as real estate projects spring up everywhere to cater for the arriving businesses

Total investments for 2012 reached a record worth of US$1.1billion - a major indication the rigorous investment reforms are paying off, the Rwanda Development Board said Friday.

Last year, the combined investments portfolio was $835m - meaning there was a 31.7 percent rise in the amount of capital being pumped into the national economy in the 12 months of this year compared to the previous year.

Company Registration has also reached a record level in 2012 with 9031 companies registered as of Dec. 19th, an increase of 42% from 2011, RBB said on its Twitter account on December 21.

"This represents about 35 companies registered each working day, compared to 24 in 2011, and only 2 companies per day 10 years ago," added the agency.

Over the past decade, Rwanda has embarked on a vigorous reform exercise to clean up its bureaucracy. The annual World Bank doing business rankings have put Rwanda among the most reformed economies globally. On the African continent, only three economies are competing with Rwanda.

After Rwanda simplified formalities for business registration in 2006, 77% more firms registered in the following year. In 2008 more than 3,000 firms registered, up from an average of 700 in previous years. In 2009 the number rose to 6,905. And in 2010 the government managed to register 18,447 new businesses--nearly achieving its goal of registering 20,000 that year.

Rwanda's consistent reforms to make trade easier improved the productivity of customs officials, who increased the number of documents they cleared annually by 39% between 2006 and 2009, says the Doing Business report released recently. And according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Rwanda's exports rose from $147 million in 2006 to $193 million in 2009.

And as more businesses open shop, so do the incomes change for employers and those who work for them. The changes have influenced Government to change its predictions for 2020. Most notably, it raised the income per capita target from $900 to $3,500.

The World Bank says this brings the target into line with levels in middle-income economies today and reflects Rwanda's recent growth, which increased income per capita to around $570 in 2011.

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