The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Dutch Seek Trade Joint Ventures

Dutch investors are seeking partnerships with business people in the manufacturing, construction and engineering, agro-business, poultry, meat processing and horticulture sectors.

Dutch companies, including Big machinery, Botau Construction and Engineering Limited, Philips, Intercommerce BV, Maataschap Huizing and EMSA Emerging Markets in Africa were recently in the country to look for joint ventures with local investors.

The trade mission is being collaborated by the Rwanda Development Board and The Netherlands-African Business Council.

"There is wide array of opportunities in Rwanda that are of interest to Dutch entrepreneurs. Dutch companies that are already doing business here say our two countries can greatly benefit from each other," Hillen Michiel, the leader of the trade mission, said.

He added that despite all the good tidings, it was important to understand that both Rwanda and The Netherlands are still facing many challenges.

"It's these challenges that provide us with great business opportunities in this country," he said.

He said Dutch investors were interested in projects that will ensure food security, improve infrastructure, health, energy, housing and create employment, especially in the services and ICT industries.

Leaon Cuelenaere, the Netherlands ambassador to Rwanda, said the trade mission aimed at creating a platform to ensure strong economic relationships.

"With the recent developments and business reforms Rwanda has conducted, it's an assurance that Our private sector will be more interested to do business with this country," she said.

She noted that although there were still few Dutch companies operating in the country (Heineken and Rabobank), more are ready come and invest in the country due to its conducive business environment.

Yvette Mukarwema, the Private Sector Federation chief operations officer, noted that such partnerships will, not only boost the country's economic development, but also help in capacity building for the local investors.

"We need these partnerships because that's how local investors will build capacity and expertise, especially in areas of value addition, new technologies, and also to be able to access other markets. This will grow our exports sector and create jobs for unemployed youth," Mukarwema pointed out.

The Netherlands has reimbursed 50 per cent on investment made by a joint-venture between a Rwandan and other African countries that will see Rwanda benefit from a 1.5m euros fund.

The fund benefit projects in energy, agribusiness, tourism and rural infrastructure development in form of a subsidy, according Cuelenaere.

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