The New Times (Kigali)

14 February 2014

Rwanda: Turkish Investors to Visit Rwanda in April

A delegation of Turkish investors is planning to visit Rwanda in April to assess business opportunities in the energy, agriculture, mining, and manufacturing sectors.

This was announced at the closure of the Turkey-East Africa trade summit in Ganzaintep, Turkey's major industrial town, on Wednesday.

The upcoming visit will follow President Paul Kagame's business trip to Turkey last year, and the World Bank doing business report, 2014 that cited Rwanda as the second best place to do business in Africa.

Riza nur Meral, the president of Tuskon confederation of businessmen and industrialists of Turkey, said the group intends to explore available opportunities and forge business ties with their Rwandan counterparts.

"We are traveling to Rwanda to try and forge business ties in response to the promise we made to President Kagame the last time we met," Meral said.

"We did not know about Rwanda's vast investment opportunities until we met the President and learnt about business opportunities highlighted in the World Bank report," Meral added. He disclosed that Tuskon has earmarked about $ 400 million to be invested in Africa this year.

"We are giving Rwanda top priority because of the conducive business environment and good leadership in the country. We will target infrastructure development, energy, mining, and agro processing among other sectors," he said.

Necdet Tiryakioglu, a Turkish billionaire and chairperson of Tiryaki agro processing Ltd said they plan to form joint ventures with Rwandan investors.

"We have learnt of political stability and macro-economic stability in Rwanda. This makes it an ideal place to do business," Necdet said.

Adem Sanliturk, the Secretary General of Rwanda Active Businessmen Association, said they are working closely with potential investors in Turkey to ensure that they become part of the team that will be visiting Rwanda.

Ben Benzinge, the director of Natural Resources Development Centre, was nominated by the Rwandan envoy to Turkey ambassador Ceaser Kayizari to mobilise local investors that are willing to partner with their Turkish counterparts.

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Rwandan investors welcomed the move.

"We are excited about the initiative Turkish businesses have come up with. It shows the confidence the world has in Rwanda. It is now up to us not to betray this confidence," Peter Maldadi, the chief executive officer of ISPA internet services, said.

The business leaders also recommended that the next trade summit be conducted in Africa and that exports from East Africa Community be given priority in European markets.

Among the big businesses to launch and expand in Rwanda are Turkish Airlines which has seen a steady increase in flights in and out of Rwanda and Hope Kids Academy, a private school that has seen its student numbers tripple within one year since it opened.

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