The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda, Ghana Ink Bilateral Trade Deal

Trade and investments between Rwanda and Ghana could be boosted thanks to a new trade agreement signed between Rwanda's private sector and Ghana chamber of commerce in Accra.

The deal outlines scaling up business investments and joint partnerships in sectors such as mining, tourism, agro-processing, real estate and textile manufacturing and seeks to eliminate trade barriers between the two countries.

Seth Adjei Baah, the president of Ghana chamber of commerce and industry, said the need to promote trade investments between the two countries is imperative not only for economic development, but also poverty reduction between the two countries.

"We know that Rwanda has become exceptional in doing business and Ghana is endowed with natural resources. Therefore, merging these two ingredients will not only foster trade between Rwanda and Ghana but also boost intra-trade across the African continent," Adjei Baah said.

He further noted that the Government of Ghana was willing to facilitate Rwandan entrepreneurs interested in conducting business with their Ghanaian counterparts.

Benjamin Gasamagera, the chairperson of the Rwanda Private Sector Federation, said the initiative will not only correct the trade imbalances that exist between the two countries but also boost socio-economic relationships between the two business communities.

"The development of the African continent will be driven by the private sector. Bringing together members of the private sectors from different regions will therefore create an enabling environment where business opportunities, challenges, and experiences will be shared and new innovations, and ideas brought to the fore," Gasamagera said.

Denis Karera, the honorary counsel, Ghana consulate in Kigali, said there is progress in conducting business between the two countries since the establishment of the consulate in 2013.

"We have at least two Rwandans travelling to Ghana on a daily basis.The number of Ghanaians arriving in Rwanda has also increased to the tune of about 67 persons per day," Karera noted.

He emphasised the need for both parties to take full advantage of the national carrier RwandAir's routine flights between the two destinations.

Experts speak out

Kingsley Karimu, the Ghanaian ambassador to East Africa, said it defies logic for African countries to foster business with the western world without first considering their African counterparts.

"There is no reason why Ghana should be importing beef from Europe when there is a lot of cattle in East Africa," Kingsley said.

Gerald Sina, the Managing Director of Urwibutso Enterprises, said the new trade agreement opens up a huge market for Rwandan products.

"Whenever there is a market opening, it is an opportunity for producers to scale up production," Sina said.

Investors also called for improvement of investor protection so as to give them assurance and confidence to invest.

Last year, RwandAir launched its flights to Accra, Ghana in a bid to boost trade between the two countries.

Rwandan entrepreneurs registered in Ghana businesses worth 50,000 dollars in agro-processing in 2013.

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