The New Times (Kigali)

17 May 2014

Rwanda: AfDB General Meetings - Businesses Challenged to Provide Top Notch Services

The private sector has been challenged to ensure that the services provided to guests during the forthcoming African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meeting in Kigali, are quality and of international standards.

Rwanda hosts the AfDB General Assembly from Monday through Friday.

Speaking during a media briefing on Thursday, Finance and Economic Planning Minister Claver Gatete said it is through provision of quality services that match up to international standards that Rwanda can make a name for itself as a leading destination for global conferences and meetings.

Amb. Gatete said they had been engaging the private sector in awareness and sensitisation programmes.

He urged the sector players to make the most of international conferences and meetings hosted in the country and ensure that the quality of services will see clients come back in the future.

"This is an opportunity to make a name for the country without using marketing services. If we treat them well, they will definitely come back. That is why we have been stressing the point that the private sector needs to be efficient and effective at this time," Amb. Gatete said.

The minister added that government has been monitoring and evaluating the quality of services in the country.

"If we do not do this, we will have lost an opportunity; we should not look at the short-term benefits of the conference, rather we should target long-term benefits. We began by holding smaller conferences and we have since graduated to bigger conferences and we look to host more international conferences in the future," he added.

Amb. Gatete said they were looking to make the stay of the delegates as comfortable as possible from using technology such as free 4G LTE Internet, transport to leisure and hospitality.

The Internet services will be availed at Kigali International Airport, in buses, hotels and at the conference venues.

Negatu Makonnen, the African Development Bank resident representative, said they believe that the Rwandan public and private institutions have the capacity to host the continental event, ensuring quality services all through.

Hotels booked:

The hospitality industry has been tipped as the biggest beneficiary of the oncoming conference with most hotels around the city already fully booked.

There are more than 250 registered hotels in the country, half of which are in Kigali.

Rwanda Development Board has also identified potential private villas that could provide 600 extra rooms to cater for guests during the event.

The hospitality sector is expected to work hand-in-hand with agencies involved in transport such as the airport and cab services and Internet service providers to facilitate their services.

Telecommunications industry is also expected to be heavily occupied and a big beneficiary in the coming week. The industry will be expected to provide fast and reliable Internet services all over the city as well as to stream the event live through various channels.

The banking sub-sector is also expected to facilitate payments of goods and services through the various modes of payment such as cash, visa and electronic money transfer.

Earlier this week, Rwanda Development Board unveiled a new strategy, Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (Mice) that is expected to earn the country over $150 million (about Rwf104 billion) annually from hosting international conferences.

The strategy aims at strengthening the public-private sector partnerships to boost the country's rating as an international conference destination.

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