18 February 2013

Rwanda Woos Kenyan Investors

The government last week sent a delegation to an investment promotion forum in Nairobi to woo Kenyan investors. This is one of the strategies the government is using to attract regional investors into the country.

The Doing Business 2012 Report ranked Rwanda the third easiest place to do business in Africa, after Mauritius, and

the second five-year top global reformer after Georgia.

Vivian Kayitesi, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) head of investment, said Rwanda was keen to have more Kenyans invest in the country, noting that the government had created a conducive environment for business.

"We have battled many challenges to better our business environment. This is why we are opening our doors to new investors from the region," Kayitesi told the business leaders at a roundtable meeting sponsored by Fina Bank, which was attended by over 150 chief executives of Kenya's blue chip companies.

Several Kenyan firms have already opened shop in Rwanda. They include Equity Bank, KCB, Fina Bank, I&M Bank, Bata, Unilever, Nakumatt Holdings and Deacons Kenya.

Others include real estate companies HassConsult, Noah Management, Knight Frank and CB Richard Ellis, - a world leading commercial real estate firm.

Others that have so far expressed interest in operating here are Diamond Trust Bank, Access Kenya, Sasini, Trust Bank, Tribe Hotel, Uchumi and Kencall.

Bhaskar Ghose, the Fina Bank chief executive, said the urge to cross to Rwanda was motivated by the need to increase their business volumes.

Since the revival of the East African Community (EAC) 13 years ago, individual governments have been making various reforms to improve their business environment to attract investors.

Rwanda, a country whose economy was almost crippled by the genocide, has made a strong comeback, topping the list of the most business-friendly economies in the region.

The Doing Business 2012 Report ranked Rwanda the third easiest place to do business in Africa, after Mauritius, and the second five-year top global reformer after Georgia.

In the recent past, Rwanda, one of the latest entrants into the EAC together with Burundi, has received global accolades for easing the cost and process of doing business.

The country's latest selling point is the unveiling of the new online investment guidelines, effectively becoming the first country on the continent to implement the online version of the investment guide.

The iGuides provide investors with updated information on costs, wages and taxes online. Others are laws, procedures and contacts in target countries and territories.

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