EFFORTS by the government to ease doing business in Rwanda paid off this year with statistics from Rwanda Development Board (RDB) indicating a record US$ 1.1 billion worth of investment as of December 19.
This, according to RDB, is the first time investments have hit the one billion dollar mark, despite the continued global economic uncertainties, rising way above the set target of US$835 million.
Speaking at a news conference on Friday, the acting CEO of RDB, Clare Akamanzi, said that the results demonstrate that the country's doing business reforms have a significant impact, heralding a rapid economic transformation.
"2012 has been a good year in terms of investment in the country and we are optimistic about the economic development," Akamanzi said.
Last year's investments were worth US$626 million and, according to Akamanzi, they expected to register three more projects worth $50m by the end of the year.
"Of great importance to RDB is to ensure that the policies and reforms designed provide the private sector with the best environment to grow, while catering for government's interests."
According to statistics, the tourism sector attracted more investments (US$327 million) followed by energy and water, fetching US$165 million, while construction and real estate came third with US$156.5 million.
Others were manufacturing, with US$150 million; US$137 million came from agriculture as the rest were got from mining, services, ICT and education.
According to the official, RDB is targeting US$1.3 billion in investments next year.
RDB says the investments for this year produced over 20,578 jobs, especially from mining services and ICT, compared to 11,522 jobs created in 2011.
The businesses registered by the time the report was released were 9,031 which represent an increase of 42 per cent from 2011.
At least 40 per cent of the investments were local, while 51 per cent belong to foreigners.
Some of the top big companies that entered the market in 2012 include Eagle on the Lake Ltd, a tourism project worth $162m; Ngali Energy, a local company dealing in hydro energy; CIMERWA Ltd; Century Park Hotel, Nandan Agro processing Industries Ltd, from Singapore; among others.
Akamanzi further said that RDB will also strengthen its core marketing function to increase investment proactive targeting strategic sectors of interest especially financial services, logistics, light weight manufacturing.
She added, "In EDPRS 2, it is clear that all ministries will be actively involved in promoting private sector investments in their respective area of interest, and RDB will be working closely with all of them."
This year, Rwanda was recognised for sustained improvement in investment climate during the African Business Awards at Grosvenor House in London, the United Kingdom.
The country was recognised for the short time it takes to register a business, and several reforms that have emerged over time that have a significant impact on doing business.
Today, it takes only six hour to register a company in Rwanda.
According to RDB, following the business reforms of 2006, the number of registered companies sharply increased by 77 per cent the following year.
The trend continued in 2008 where more than 3,000 companies were registered, up from an average of 700.
Statistics indicate that in 2009 the number rose to 6,905.
In 2010, RDB registered 18,447 new businesses, just short of its target of 20,000.
The end of year's final report will be released early January.