The New Times (Kigali)

24 October 2013

Rwanda: Kagame Reassures Investors

President Paul Kagame said that the government will continue to provide all the necessary incentives to investors interested in starting up business ventures in Rwanda. He was speaking to a visiting delegation of investors from China's Zhenjiang Province, yesterday, at Village Urugwiro.

The delegation is in the country on a three-day visit to explore potential investment opportunities, particularly in textiles and light industries. "Transformation of our country is what we want to achieve, and we can achieve that through business partnerships that have a direct impact on our people," Kagame said.

"I want to thank the Chinese for agreeing to be part of this transformation process and staying on the course of what we believe in. We will continue to work towards making a win-win situation possible." The Head of State added that Rwanda's strategy is not to seek short-term investors but ventures that will impact Rwanda for a long time.

"When we talk about growth and development, we think about sustainability and long term," Kagame told the delegation: "In Rwanda we have provided an open and predictable environment, where investors know what to expect over a long period of time. Therefore, we should partner in a transformative way that allows businesses to thrive."

The President also brought the East African Community in perspective, highlighting how joining the Community helped Rwanda to address some challenges that investors are concerned about.

"Integration has helped to remove some bottlenecks to trade that existed between the East African countries. We think more about how to benefit as a region by attracting investments through harmonisation of procedures such as visa requirements, or improving infrastructure such as construction of railway links," he said.

"Coupled with our national efforts, this will make business in Rwanda easier, more profitable and more competitive." The head of the delegation, Justin Yifu Lin, said that although a large Chinese community did not know much about Rwanda, the country's economic transformation served to attract many investors who wished to expand their business empires.

"I have been convinced since my first visit to Rwanda in June 2008 that this country has all the ingredients to become a success story for Africa's transformation," Lin said. "Rwanda can radically transform like China did in the 1980s and we are more than interested to contribute to this journey."

In a separate meeting with government officials on Tuesday Helen Hai, an expert on China-Africa Investments, said they were impressed by what Rwanda had implemented to facilitate investments, singling out existing business friendly procedures and steady infrastructural development.

"There is potential in Rwanda and what we want is a win-win situation. We have learnt about Rwanda's tax policies and liberal trade values. We are going to discuss and proceed with investing," she said then.

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