Rwanda: How GGGI Is Connecting Rwanda-Italy Investors Exploring Green Investment Opportunities

The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) has partnered with Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) and Italian Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) in connecting entrepreneurs, investors and institutions between Rwanda and Italy for green investment opportunities in the private sector.

The investors were engaged during two virtual meetings held recently and also attracted local investors who shared their experience.

The two webinars were held on June 3 and 10 June 2020 as part of GGGI activities in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

GGGI is an international organization with aim to promote green growth in developing and emerging countries and supports the government of Rwanda towards an inclusive climate resilient green cities and infrastructure development.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Climate Change Vulnerability, Risk Assessment, Adaptation and Mitigation was signed on November 15th 2016 between the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) and the now Ministry of Environment.

GGGI signed the first contributing agreement with IMELS 15th January 2018, which was renewed for additional two years, starting from May 2019 to April 2021.

GGGI in collaboration with REMA are implementing the IMELS contribution agreement, and the recent webinars are one of the activities planned under this agreement between government of Rwanda and Italy

The objectives of the project include building capacity of players involved in Environment and Natural resources management, supporting development of bankable projects in the field of climate change vulnerability, mitigation and adaptation and facilitate the engagement Private sector aiming at green technology transfers between Italian and Rwandan companies.

GGGI is acting as advisors in green principles.

The recent meetings aimed at enabling participants to share their experiences on doing business in Rwanda, facilitating green technology transfer as well as cultivating contact between Rwandan and Italian entrepreneurs.

Speaking at the virtual meeting on 10th June, Alessandro Enginoli, President of the Small Industry at Assolombarda, which is association of Industrial and Service Companies in Metropolitan city of Milan and other provinces in Italy, said that the entrepreneurs were ready to come to Rwanda but the travel was postponed in March due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Assolombarda is one of the biggest industrial associations in Italy with over 7,500 companies.

Between 25 and 30 entrepreneurs from Italy had earlier confirmed their interest in exploring investment opportunities and trade in the country, with particular emphasis on green growth initiatives.

He said that if the plan goes well, they could probably come to Rwanda in the end of the year.

"I visited Rwanda last year. We have so much business to do together," he said.

The identified green investment opportunities of partnerships and collaborations between Italian and Rwandan entrepreneurs are in various sectors.

They include renewable energy sector which presents investment opportunities in hydro-power, solar energy, peat power and cooking gas production.

Agri-business and food industry exhibits investment opportunities in equipment and technology for farming and irrigation, machinery for processing agricultural and dairy products among others.

Investment opportunities in wood industry are available by way of machines for the production of furniture while health care investment opportunities are in infrastructure, machines and other equipment for hospitals.

Green investment opportunities in e-mobility are presented through the need of e-buses and natural gas buses as well as e-motorbikes while sustainable textile means technology and transfer of know-how to process raw material and produce garments.

Construction and green buildings presents investment opportunities in sustainable materials and technologies.

Other investment and trade opportunities include areas of digitalization, sustainable packaging for food and other products, eco-tourism, fashion and design (training) and hospitality sector.

Yosana Kiiza, Director of Operations at Rwanda Private Sector Federation said that investing in Rwanda is also an opportunity to export to neighboring countries in the great lakes region as Rwanda is part of East African Community market of over 100 million people.

"Private sector is keen on green investments to deliver green growth solutions on health, air quality, environmental restoration as well as creating sustainable jobs in tourism, transport, agriculture and manufacturing sectors," he said.

He also urged Rwanda's private sector members to use good contacts with their counterparts in Italy for green technology transfer.

Entrepreneurs share experience

Giovanni Da Vite, an Italian national who is the Co-owner and Executive Director of Kipharma, a pharmaceutical company, said that Rwanda is a stable country with vision enabling investment opportunities.

"It has much pro-business and pro-investor attitude. Rwanda Development Board facilitates investors and it is very pro-active," he said.

His business which has now a turnover of 12 million Euros, imports and distributes pharmaceutical and agro-veterinary products.

He added that Rwanda has so far many destinations to Europe and other network of flights to facilitate investors coming to Rwanda.

Among the investment opportunities he has observed in Rwanda include tourism, ecotourism, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, textile, ICT among others adding that products from some of these sectors can be exported to neighboring countries.

Alberto Pisanti, an Italian who is Chief Executive Officer at Absolute Energy - which operates in the energy sector - said that there are opportunities because of the country's ambition to have enough energy that matches her growth ambitions.

His business that started operating in Rwanda in 2015 focuses on mini-grids installation for rural electrification.

He said that food transformation stimulates new businesses such as maize milling and other processing among other businesses such as new restaurants, new hair saloons... that need electrification in rural areas.

"Doing business in Rwanda is very efficient," he said noting that support from RDB is very efficient.

Marco Gualtieri, Founder of Seeds and Chips noted that his business works in food innovations from farm to food.

He said he is supposed to come to Kigali in November this year for the Global Food Innovation Summit (GFIS) for Africa on November 3-5, 2020.

"We invest for innovations and sustainable development," he said.

Vicky Murabukirwa, a senior partner Duval Great Lakes Ltd -who shared experience in investing in construction sector -said they plan to build a mall with apartments by using green technologies in Kigali.

He noted that as Rwanda looks to climate resilient and low carbon economy by 2050, construction must be integrated and built upon green building principles.

Janvier Gasasira, Managing Director YAK Fair Trade Ltd said there are many investment opportunities in addressing post-harvest losses by adding value to agriculture and livestock produce with post-harvest handling technologies.

"Italian investors can invest in locally producing the equipment for food processing instead of importing them from abroad," he said.

Robert Bayigamba, Head of Manumetal Ltd based in wood industry said that the sector has investment opportunities since 85% of the population depends on forestry for their livelihood.

The sector, he said, has created over 28,000 jobs especially in sawmilling, manufacture of wood products and furniture by Over 2,200 SMEs in the wood sector.

"There are great investment opportunities in timber production, modernizing tree harvesting and timber processing. We visited Italy wood value chain. We need strong partnerships for innovations in Made-in-Rwanda products," he said.

Faustin Munyazikwiye, the Deputy Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority lauded GGGI for organizing B2B webinar and urged more private sector to embrace green investments.

"Business to Business webinar was to share opportunities in both countries so that it can trigger some ventures in the green investments here in Rwanda. I thank Global Green Growth Institute and others in the team.

I want to thank government of Italy for partnering with government of Rwanda through the ministry of environment. We hope that in the near future we will see more Italian investors partnering with Rwanda counterparts investing in the green investments areas," he said.

He noted that that green investment will help the country implement submitted action climate plan and vision 2050 for Rwanda.

Massimiliano Mazzanti, the Italian Ambassador accredited to Rwanda Rwanda said that considering that Rwanda has good ranking in doing business according to World Bank builds a trust in private investors.

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