Rwanda: Govt Searches for Investors to Transform Sand Into Glasses

There are investment opportunities in the local production of glasses that are used to make windows, drinking containers, and other products.

This was the pitch by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) on Monday during a retreat of Private Sector Federation (PSF) leaders in Bugesera district.

Zephanie Niyonkuru, the Deputy CEO at Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said while Rwanda relies on imports for her glass demands, the country has quality sand that can be used to produce such materials.

"All glasses we use in Rwanda are imported," he said, adding "We have carried out research as RDB in collaboration with Rwanda Mines Board and GIZ and we found out that in Rwanda there is a type of sand that can make glasses used in construction, drinking containers, and glass bottles."

Rwanda spends $22.6 million on Glass and glassware imports, according to the 2019 trade data of the United Nations COMTRADE.

RDB's rally to the private sector to invest in glassmaking comes at the time Rwanda has outlawed single-use plastics.

Opportunities in the garment and leather sectors

Niyonkuru said that other investment opportunities are in the garment sector and leather.

"The livestock sector is growing and the leather sector possesses huge opportunities," he said.

According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, there are plans to set up a modern tannery park in Bugesera district in order to reduce the importation of tanned hides and skins.

In Rwanda spent $15.6 million on the importation of hides and skins, an increase from $13 million in 2018.

Niyonkuru added that Rwanda also imports most of the packaging materials. This is in addition to construction materials, which the country ships from foreign countries.

"A house is constructed with many construction materials. You may realize that a house is constructed by only 20 per cent comprising locally sourced materials. Local investors should seize such opportunities," he said.

Investment opportunity around Bugesera International Airport

"There are various investment opportunities around Bugesera International Airport being constructed. These include accommodation facilities, transport and logistics, restaurants among others," Niyonkuru said.

Niyonkuru added that there are also many investment opportunities in the agriculture sector that have not yet been exploited.

"The opportunities include both in production of crops and agro-processing among others," he noted, urging the private sector to make use of tourism to invest in the hospitality sector.

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