Rwanda, Gabon Eye Deeper Economic Ties

A delegation of Gabonese business leaders on Wednesday, April 24, concluded a two-day visit to Rwanda, during which the two parties explored trade and investment opportunities, as both countries mull deepening economic and bilateral ties.

Led by Ghislain Moandza Mboma, the Director General at Gabon's investment promotion agency, they explored the extensive potential for collaboration in trade and investment between Rwanda and the central African nation.

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Mboma urged Gabon's investors to make the most of the existing trade and investment opportunities in Rwanda, attributing the call to the cordial bilateral relations between both countries.

In October 2023, President Paul Kagame hosted, at his office, Gabon's Transitional President and Chairman of the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions, Gen. Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, and his delegation, a meeting that also attracted, among others, topics around various potential areas of collaboration.

According to Mboma, Gabon is an upper-middle-income country, ranking as the fifth largest oil producer in Africa. He said that the country had experienced strong economic growth recently, driven particularly by oil and mineral production.

Despite its enormous natural resources, however, the country imports almost 100 percent of all its consumable products and services.

"We are committed to fostering economic cooperation with Rwanda. There are a lot of opportunities to tap into," Mboma said, before concluding his visit to Kigali.

Mboma said that his delegation had productive meetings with senior Rwandan government leaders and the private sector federation, to have a feel on what is fuelling the local economy.

"We also had the opportunity of meeting the Rwanda Mining Board, and the City of Kigali, as part of the efforts to create synergies for our people."

Mboma shared similar sentiments with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) chief executive, Francis Gatare, who pledged support for Rwandan businesses that are keen on investing in Gabon.

"We are ready to facilitate any Rwandan business investing in Gabon. There is room and the need to grow our trade partnership to boost investment in the two countries," Gatare said.

Much as Gabon relies mainly on imports, Gatare noted that Rwanda is "more than" ready to tap into the market, particularly in agricultural products and services.

The New Times understands that several Rwandan businesses have already kicked off operations in Gabon, mainly in the natural reserves business.

"Gabon is a potential market for our products. It is a highly urbanized country, making it an ideal destination for investment," Gatare said.

The meeting was also attended by Francis Kamanzi, the chief executive of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board.

Earlier in the day, Kamanzi hosted the Gabonese delegation including representatives from the Equatorial Mining Company. He maintained that the meeting was aimed at sharing an overview of Rwanda's mining sector, along with the strategic policies to foster the sector's development.

Gabon is located along the Atlantic coast of Central Africa. It has four major exports: petroleum, manganese, uranium, and timber, accounting for the lion's share of its gross domestic product.

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