06. August 2013
by Kenneth AGUTAMBA
One of the company’s elaborate tents. (photo Bruno Birakwate)
The story of JKK Holdings and how it came to invest in Rwanda reads like a fairytale, a tribute to Rwanda’s attractive investment environment. JKK Holdings Rwanda is a subsidiary of Dubai based JKK International, specialists in events and Interior Design. Although you may not have heard of them, if you have been to this year’s PSF 16th expo at Gikondo, then you have seen their beautiful work on display.
On the immediate left when walking into the Expo, JKK has constructed more than just a tent; they have built a house on fair grounds. The first floor has a wide room fully designed like a living room complete with side drawers, a working water sink, and a huge flat screen TV on the wall.
At the far side of the expansive room, comfortable leather sofa chairs are arranged and the floor fitted with sparkling silver tiles. Upstairs, the bungalow has a single bedroom complete with all the features found in a five-star hotel, including wide windows with a small balcony.
JKK puts all this work into a temporary structure, one that will be disassembled after the Expo. “As you can see, this is what we do, it’s what we are exhibiting, our expertise is events and interior design and what you see here is what you get, the best,” said a middle aged easy looking gentleman.
This man was John Koshy, the managing director of JKK Holdings himself. It is rare to find Rwandan MDs manning their exhibition stalls; most feel they are too important for that, and entrust the task of meeting clients and explaining their businesses to volunteers with very limited knowledge. “Our motto is ‘trust who knows’ and that says it all about our approach to business,” says Koshy, a Dubai citizen.
Koshy says prior to coming to Rwanda, he had always wanted to work in Africa, specifically in a young economy, one that offered great potential to grow. “So I read and researched a lot about the continent and economies here.” It was not his research, but a visit to a friend in Kigali that finally provided an answer to Koshy’s questions. In Rwanda, he had finally found the country to invest his fortune.
“It happened in 2010 when a friend of mine invited me here for a four day visit. After just one day here, I already liked the place – the geography, the weather, safety and the cleanliness of the city,” recalls Koshy. That was the turning point and he expressed his feelings to his friend, who quickly told him about RDB’s easy process to register a business.
“So I used my four days here to register JKK international Africa Ltd and the journey began,” tells Koshy. Today, he employs 11 Rwandans, 1 Ugandan and 3 Indians and he has invested over $1million. He is also considering to open an amusement park in Kigali.
JKK’s first deal in Rwanda:
During his four-day visit, Koshy was introduced to a PSF official who told him about the annual expo, an event directly in line with JKK’s expertise. He submitted a proposal that PSF liked and was told to compete in the 2010 tendering process to design and construct that year’s expo. He did, and he won.
He designed PSF’s exhibition center and four other stalls including Orinfor, Bank of Kigali, Mineac and Minicom. His impressive work on these stalls caught attention of many other corporate firms. JKK’s popularity took off, and it went on to design and organize the 2012 Guma-Guma finals venue as well as the RPF’s 25th anniversary.
This year, JKK designed stalls for over fifteen corporate firms including PSF’s own exhibition center. “Our experience and expertise is priceless. We guarantee quality work on time, regardless of challenges,” he says. It is no surprise that this professionalism comes from a man who has practiced for over 30 years in Dubai, the world’s shopping centre and home to thousands of exhibitions in a year. In Dubai, competition ensures that companies adhere to higher standards of quality and timeliness.
“For instance, we didn’t make any profit in our first assignments in 2010; we had to import everything, paid a lot in taxes, lost a lot in theft but we delivered nonetheless because that’s paramount to us,” he recalls.
Today, Koshy says the situation has improved. JKK can now find 50% of their supplies locally. But still, lack of proper skills remains a huge problem. For three years he has trained his local staff, but poor attitude stands in the way of learning. Currently, he would like to hire at least two Indians from Dubai to enforce his team here, but he has struggled with emigration rules that limit investors on the number of foreigners they can bring into the country. He feels this prevents him from growing his business.
Nonetheless, JKK has confidence in Rwanda and is ready to invest more money here. He only wishes for more cooperation from the authorities.
THE NEW TIMES
06. August 2013
by Ivan R. MUGISHA
Tanzanite miner at the Mererani mine in northern Tanzania. The mineral audit agency said between 60 and 75 per cent of all tanzanite production is undocumented. Photo/FILE AFP
The government of Rwanda has contacted their counterparts in the Democratic Republic of Congo over the tonnes of smuggled minerals from the neighbouring country.
The minerals which, according to the State Minister in charge of Mining, Evode Imena, constituted 8.4 metric tonnes of wolfram, tin and coltan, were seized in June as they were being smuggled into the country from DRC.
“We have communicated to the government of DRC. Rwanda Revenue Authority delivered a letter to the customs of DRC and we are waiting for their response,” Imena, said in an interview last week, adding that the response will determine when the minerals will be handed back.
The interception of the minerals was first announced last month by Louise Mushikiwabo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, during her address to the UN Security Council in a debate on the security situation in the Great Lakes Region. (Read article)
The value of the minerals is not known. “Once they (Congolese) are ready, we shall inform you of when we shall hand over the minerals,” Imena added. According to the state minister, the minerals constitute the three so-called “conflict minerals” of tin, wolfram and coltan and are currently stored at the Revenue Protection Department in Rusizi District.
The Deputy Commissioner General of RRA, Richard Tusabe, said that the smuggled minerals were seized by a Rwandan surveillance team along the DRC border, although the smugglers were not captured. “They abandoned the minerals and ran away. We do not have any details on who they are,” Tusabe said, adding that: “We will sustain surveillance to stop smugglers.”
In November 2011, Rwanda handed 82 tonnes of smuggled tin, coltan and wolfram back to DRC .
all this sounds so familiar…
Rwanda gives DRC back tonnes of smuggled minerals (Africa Review Nov. 2011)
About 82 tonnes of smuggled minerals seized by Rwandan police has been handed back to the Democratic Republic of Congo in a sign of improved relations between the two neighbours.
The minerals include cassiterite, or tin ore, as well as coltan, used in devices such as mobile phones.
DR Congo’s mineral wealth has been a major factor in years of conflict... .read more
GOVERNMENT OF RWANDA
25 July 2013
Kigali — The government of Rwanda and One UN Rwanda today signed a five year $400 million development assistance Plan (UNDAP) that will help the government meet the millennium development goals and Vision2020 targets.
The UNDAP funds will be finance economic projects worth US$ 82 million, governance initiatives worth US$ 42 million and human development projects worth US$ 276 million.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Ambassador Claver Gatete said that Rwanda is experiencing one of the fastest periods of economic growth in its history. This growth has translated in one million Rwandans lifted out of poverty.
“Our development results are due in large part to strong and innovative leadership and the support of our development partners as we embarked on widespread reforms guided by a bold vision for development,” Minister Gatete added.
UN resident coordinator Lamin Momodou Manneh pointed out that Rwanda continues to own and lead its development process in a particularly innovative and committed way, as underscored by consistently high policy implementation rates as well as raising the levels of aid effectiveness.
“As a result, Rwanda registered very positive results reflected in the high levels of inclusive economic growth, significant poverty reduction, and notable gains in human development, gender empowerment and measurable progress towards the MDGs,” Lamin Momodou Manneh said.
UNDAP is a mid-term five year consolidated plan of UN support to Rwanda’s in its efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the second Economic and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS2) as well as Vision 2020.
The successful implementation of EDPRS 1 (2008-2013), which saw poverty levels drop by 12% was possible because of support by the United Nations Development Assistance Fund (UNDAF), which provided the strategic support in the focus areas of governance, health, HIV, nutrition, population, education, environment, and sustainable growth and social protection.
THE NEW TIMES
by Seraphine HABIMANA
The Expo attracted more than 100,000 visitors per week last year. The Rwanda Focus (file photo)
The 16th Annual Rwanda International Trade Fair (Expo 2013) that started on Wednesday officially yesterday by the Prime Minister, Pierre Damien Habumuremyi.
However, by about 3:30pm yesterday some exhibitors were still setting up their stalls.
Cyprien Habiryayo, an exhibitor from tea producer, Sorwathe, said people were still few, but was hopeful the numbers would go up since yesterday was the first day.
Ephrem Karangwa, the Expo 2013 co-ordinator, said this year there are many changes regarding quality and organisation. The ‘business corner’ for exhibitors to exchange ideas and network is one of the changes, he added.
The expo is running under the theme, “Linking businesses to market”.
Karangwa noted that manufacturers from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) were attending the fair for the first time, which he said will help Rwandan business people make contacts with suppliers of products that are not produced in East Africa.
At least 345 exhibitors, both local and foreign, are participating in the annual event that is aimed at showcasing new products and networking. Last year, 491 exhibitors participated.
The expo has attracted companies from the Comesa region, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.
Expo 2014 promises to be biggest ever
Private Sector Federation boss Hannington Namara says the 16th edition of the Rwanda International Trade fair, which starts on Wednesday, will be bigger and more exciting than ever.
He explained that they have reduced on the number of tents to create more space for exhibitors as this was the main concern raised by participants last year, so there will be slightly over 700 stands for 330 local and foreign companies. [read all…]
Sources: allafrica.com, The Rwanda Focus
RWANDA FOCUS (Kigali)
by Kenneth AGUTAMBA 01. July 2013
Photo: Presidents Kenyatta and Kagame shake hands, while President Yoweri Museveni looks on. (Source: The Monitor)
Call it an alliance within an alliance, but that’s probably exactly what East Africa needs if the integration process is to yield fast and tangible results.
So when the trinity of Kagame, Kenyatta and Kaguta met in Kampala last week, it was good news when Rwandans, Kenyans and Ugandans heard that their leaders had discussed not politics but projects that would ease trade and increase business opportunities for them.
The ever inquisitive journalists in Kampala couldn’t stop throwing about the question of the whereabouts of Tanzania’s Kikwete and Burundi’s Nkurunziza but all this was beside the main point.
In the end, what mattered for ordinary nationals of the three states is that the threesome agreed to invest in an oil pipe line and a railway line that would run from Kenya through Uganda to Rwanda.
Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa, who read the Memorandum of Understanding after the meeting by the three presidents, revealed that two oil pipelines would be developed; one pipeline that currently exists and brings oil products from Mombasa to El-doret should be extended to Kampala and then Rwanda.
The MoU further reveals that that pipeline will be configured to have a reverse mechanism so that when Uganda starts harvesting her own Oil, it can pump those products backwards.
Another pipeline, it was revealed, would be constructed for the evacuation of crude oil when it starts flowing and this again will be done between Uganda, South Sudan and Kenya, ending up at the port of Lamu.
Uganda’s Kutesa further revealed that it was also agreed to revamp the existing railway network and also construct a standard gauge railway line in Kenya and Uganda and also extend it to Rwanda.
Projects to reduce transport costs
Uganda’s President told journalists even if they were three leaders, they could still talk about EAC affairs adding that the absence the two other leaders was irrelevant.
“Even if you are two or three, you still talk about EAC issues.”
But even in reality, the alliance of the trinity makes sense. Uganda and Rwanda are two landlocked countries whose main port of entry for their imports is through Mombasa. An alliance with Kenya would therefore make great a lot of sense.
And to make sure these projects don’t end up being white elephant wishes, assignments were shared among the three countries.
Rwanda was charged with coordinating efforts of fast tracking the implementation of one East African Identity Card as well as the Single tourism Visa.
A single tourist Visa would mean a tourist entering East Africa would need just a single Visa to tour in Kenya, Uganda or Rwanda a move which would boost tourism earnings for the three states.
The Single identity card would also mean citizens of the three countries would walk freely across all the borders increasing opportunities to do business.
Meanwhile, Uganda was charged with spearheading the construction of the railway and the oil pipeline refinery while Kenya will oversee the construction of the oil pipeline.
It’s not clear where all the resources of implementing these projects will come from but observers say that if there’s political will then the resources will be easy to mobilize.
During recent summits by heads of state, bilateral negotiations have been encouraged to expedite the implementation of certain decisions. For instance, EAC partner states have been encouraged to go bilateral when it comes to the removal of NTBs on major routes. Rwanda is also working with Burundi and Tanzania on energy and road projects.
Rwanda biggest winner
Of the three states, Rwanda could be the biggest winner considering its distance from the border with Kenya. A fully working railway line would mean Rwandan traders easily move goods from Kenya to Kigali a development that would reduce on the cost of goods in Rwanda.
On the tourism front, Rwanda would also benefit from Kenya’s much larger tourism sector which receives more visitors annually.
An oil pipeline pumping refined oil products through Uganda to Rwanda would also have far reaching benefits considering the time oil tankers spend on the road on a single route from Kenya to Kigali.
There’s also the Geopolitics issue at hand. With these joint investments in place after costing a lot of money, the three states would work towards maintaining stable relations among them so as not to endanger the investments.
And for Rwanda, there’s one more relief; with a smoother route from Mombasa through Uganda, traffic would be shifted from the troublesome Dar-es-laam route where the recurring NTBs are an endless head ache to traders.
While skeptics have been quick to dismiss the meeting of Kagame, Kenyatta and Kaguta as harboring other secret motives, what will be important to the businessman is whether the projects actually take off.
There were no time deadlines given but there will surely be more meetings in the near future by the three leaders and these will be interesting to watch.
Uganda-Kenya oil pipeline to be extended to Rwanda
During a meeting held yesterday in Kampala, the Presidents of Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, it was agreed that an oil pipeline connecting the three countries.
“It was agreed that we develop two oil pipelines, one pipeline that currently exists and brings products from Mombsa to Eldoret should be extended to Kampala and Rwanda. That pipeline will be configured such that it has to have a reverse mechanism so that when we have our own finished products, it can pump those products backwards,” read a memorandum of understanding signed by Presidents Yoweri Museveni, Uhuru Kenyatta and Paul Kagame.[read more…]
Source: Rwanda Focus
Rwanda’s economy is expected to grow faster than initial projections for 2012, the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) Governor, Claver Gatete, has said.
Photo: Steve Terrill (file photo)
Gatete said although recent donor aid cuts cannot go unnoticed; they are not potent enough damage the healthy Rwandan economy.
“We are going to maintain our macroeconomic regulations to ensure that the Rwandan economy continues to flourish and attract more investments,” he said.
The BNR is basing its optimism on current positive trends in some sectors of the economy, especially in the financial sector which is mainly dominated by the banking industry, and continuing private foreign capital inflows.
Gatete explained that even as donors withheld aid, private foreign capital continued to flow into Rwanda.
“Since a lot of capital has been coming into the country even during the hard global economic crisis, this is what will yield the expected high growth,” he said.
Clare Akamanzi, the Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the institution charged with speeding up investments in the country, says Rwanda may register over US$1billion in investments this year surpassing the initial target of around US$800 million.
Last year, investments registered hit US$626 million.
Over the same period, Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 9.4% beating the initial projection of less than 9%. The growth was mainly fueled by good performance in all sectors coupled with low inflation.
While inflation in some neighboring economies went as high as 30%, Rwanda managed to maintain it at 8.3% by December 2011, which was the lowest in the five member bloc of the East African Community (EAC) bringing together Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi.
The reason for increased investments this time–both domestic and foreign–is the stable economic growth and business environment. Rwanda makes it easier to start a business, pay taxes and register property which helps to attract more investors.
Rwanda also has attractive investment opportunities in various sectors with energy especially in electricity generation, construction especially commercial and residential houses and agro processing topping the list. Others include financial sector mainly investment banking, Information Technology Communications (ICTs) especially software development and skills development especially in higher learning education.
The central bank says the increase in investments has resulted in increased imports mainly of capital goods and resulted in a 4% depreciation of the Rwandan Franc against the US dollar. But the Central bank says the depreciation is not “alarming”.
The banking industry, according to the regulator, BNR, continues to register increases in the amount of loans to the businesses which are further assurance that the economy is expanding with high demand for of capital.
BNR statistics indicate that the total loans this year have increased to Rwf839.574billion from Rwf631.267billion by end of December in 2011, representing an increase of about 32%. Banks have even exceeded the highest loan to deposit ratio which, at 94%, stands slightly above the standard measure of 80%.
The increase in loans, says Anand Sanjeev, the Managing Director of Banque Commerciale du Rwanda (BCR) which was recently bought by Kenya’s I&M Bank, is attributed to low lending rates which are currently between 15.9% and 17%, according to the latest BNR statistics.
Sanjeev says that commercial banks are increasingly lending to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which comprise over 80% of the taxpayers in Rwanda, and are considered the next movers of the economy.
Gatete said the central bank will propose to the government to limit public spending and prioritise its expenditures.
“Government spending now is what we will have to deal with in order to ensure that it is done within the limits of available funds while long term solutions are being pushed to politically to ease the case.”
Gatete says the fine performance of the financial sector may help prop-up growth in the entire economy which is largely dependent on the agriculture sector.
“Judging from what we have witnessed in the financial sector in the recent three quarters, there is more enthusiasm that the little money that donor countries have delayed to disburse will not deter our country’s growth,” Gatete said recently during a press conference in Kigali.
Many western donors have suspended aid to Kigali following allegations that the Rwandan government was backing Congolese rebel group M23.
The EU, Germany, Sweden and Holland have all delayed aid disbursements to Rwanda, increasing fears that a deficit in the development budget may hinder growth which was projected at 7.7% this year.
Belgium also recently suspended military aid and the U.S government froze US$200,000 meant to support the newly opened senior army officers’ college.
However, UK government which had equally suspended its aid to Rwanda later unfroze part of it and recently opened a debate on whether the remaining portion should be released.
Source: MATTHEW RWAHIGI, 12 DECEMBER 2012, The Independent (Kampala)
Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi recently told parliament that studies done so far have shown that there are very high prospects of oil deposits in East Kivu Graben region of Rwanda.
This is the first ever solid confirmation from government on the stretched exploration activity by the Canadaian exploration firm, Vanoil Energy Limited.
Habumuremyi said: “Exploratory studies will continue. The first phase showed that there are many signs indicating that it is there. The second phase which will begin at the start of 2013 will be able to show the quantity and nature of the oil Rwanda has.”
The area covers parts of Nyungwe and Gishwati forests, and Lake Kivu.
Vanoil Energy Ltd, which was previously known as Vangold Resources Ltd, has explored for oil in the area for over five years.
Earlier this year, government entered into an agreement with Vanoil to embark on airborne magnetic and gravity survey as an initial step.
Requests for details were not fully answered as the Premier did not appear inclined to elaborate further. But he promised that the House will be kept in the know, as more findings come out.
The announcement comes on the back of an article published in the Arabic Oil and Gas Journal that indicated that, Vanoil saw Sudan-like features on Rwandan seismic, indicating the possibility of oil discovery in Rwanda.
Jacqueline Mukakanyamugenge said: “I wish to know more about this pleasing development relating to findings from studies indicating that in Rwanda, we have oil. When will these studies wrap up so that we know, conclusively, the amount of oil in Rwanda and when it starts getting exploited so that it benefits Rwandans?”
“I don’t want to go into theoretical details which are technical, but I am assuring lawmakers that the second phase which will follow, of digging deeply, in depth and width begins soon; the contractor is here and as studies reveal new findings, we shall update you,” he said.
On April 18, 2008, the explorer [then called Vangold Resources Ltd] had announced the completion of the first exploration phase which involved the use of satellite imagery.
At the time, images showed “signs of seepage” but this did not “really tell much,” Vangold’s Country Manager, Joseph Katarebe, told The New Times, confirming that other thorough phases would then commence.
Vangold started exploration in February 2007. Officials have in the past told The New Times that government is taking precautions, to get a good deal.
When contacted for the latest, on Friday, Katarebe said the line ministry is best placed to give an update or any other comments.
In 2010, the oil exploration programme was transferred from the Ministry of Infrastructure to the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Minister Stanislas Kamanzi could not be reached, for comment, by press time.
Whereas oil exploration in Rwanda began later, Uganda, Rwanda’s neighbour to the north, began exploring oil as early as 1920s and it was not until 2006 that the first oil discovery was made in the Albertine Graben, a region on the Uganda-DRC border.
Source: JAMES KARUHANGA, 7 DECEMBER 2012 for THE NEW TIMES
Photo: President Kagame with members of the YPO after their meeting yesterday The New Times / Village Urugwiro
The Young Presidents’ Organisation (YPO) – Rwanda Action Forum (RAF) has set up a new group “Doing Business in Rwanda Network” that will focus on attracting foreign direct investment into the country.
Denis Overton, Managing Director of Aquascot who headed the 17- member YPO delegation, made the remarks, yesterday, while speaking to journalists shortly after meeting President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro.
Aquascot is a Sotland based sea food company.
The group is in the country to learn more about the country’s vision and progress as well as to follow up on projects set up during their previous visits.
“Today we are able to launch the next development in the life of the forum doing business in Rwanda network within YPO, which marks a change to greater emphasis on foreign direct investment coming to the country,” Overton said.
“The business network will allow us to connect with some of our 20,000 members within YPO who are very interested in the straight forward business development activities.”
YPO is a global network that connects 20,000 chief executives of leading companies generating $6 trillion and employing more than 15 million people in 120 countries.
Overton noted that RAF focuses on economic development by connecting members from around the world with business opportunities in the country.
“We are exploring new areas of investment and, it’s very important for potential investors within our network to know and understand Rwanda, its people and particularly perhaps entrepreneurs.”
The group that comprised of members from Australia, Scotland, USA, South Africa, India, Israel, Czech Republic and Rwanda visited the Head of State to update him on their various initiatives and to develop further cooperation with Rwanda.
“YPO-Rwanda Action Forum currently focuses on agriculture, ICT, education among others. We have achieved a lot since the inception of Rwanda chapter five years ago,” Emery Rubagenga Chapter Chair YPO-Rwanda said.
The YPO-Rwanda Chapter has 30 members.
The global forum activities started in Rwanda in 2008 when the first group of 12 members from the global organization visited the country as part of an economic development network’s exploratory mission to Africa.
YPO was founded in 1950 by manufacturer Ray Hickok ,who, at the age of 27, inherited his family’s 300-employee company in New York. He and other young presidents began meeting regularly as a way to become better leaders by learning from each other. This founding principle still guides the organization today.
YPO members are required to “graduate” from the organisation at age 50, with many joining World Presidents’ Organisation, or WPO, a group founded in 1970 by 200 former YPO members to sustain their YPO experience. Originally, called World Business Council, the group changed its name to World Presidents’ Organisation in 1991 to reflect its rapid growth in membership and global reach.
Source: Frank Kanyesigye, 16.11.12, the New Times
Rwanda is the best investment destination for banks looking for regional expansion, according to a research by Standard Investment Bank.
The country ranks highly in terms of asset growth, profit after tax, cost to income ration and growth of its growth domestic product compared to other markets in east Africa.
SIB found that Rwanda scored 46 points to beat Tanzania by 14points and Kenya by 7 points.
In 2011, Rwanda had 2.03million deposit accounts with only 209 000 issued debit cards up from 41 000 in 2010. The volume of debit card Africa transactions jumped from 0.4millon in 2010 to over 2m in 2011) showing the potential for growth in the country.
“The growing influence of regional operations is one of key drivers likely to shape the fortunes of the banking sector over the next decade,” reads SIB findings.
Kenyan banks have been leading the foray into the East African region, with minimal expansion by indigenous Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda banks .
Kenya Commercial , Diamond Trust , Commercial Bank Africa, Fina, Equity , I & M , Imperial , ABC, NIC , CFC Stanbic & Co-operative banks operate a total of 179 branches outside Kenya.
“Based on our test results we therefore conclude, expected returns from different regional markets vary, therefore management should make a conscious decision on which markets to operate in,” said the report.
Uganda remains the most preferred destination for Kenyan banks with 85 branches there with South Sudan being the other favourite market.
Of all non-Kenyan operations for both KCB and Equity in the 2010/2011 financial year Sudan yielded their highest profits.
SIB analysts said banks are also grappling with the mode of entry to the other regional markets – green field or acquisition.
Source: WINFRED KAGWE, 31 OCTOBER 2012, The Star, allAfrica.com
Rwanda is keen to strengthen its presence in the South African market in a bid to boost her agricultural exports. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), Hannington Namara, said that South Africa, which has a population of some 50.6 million people, provides a good market for organic products from Rwanda.
Photo: Rwanda Development Gateway
Namara made the remarks during a meeting between South African investors and Rwandan business community in Kigali last week.
He said that PSF-the umbrella arm of the private sector in Rwanda- seeks to facilitate local traders with information and assistance about the South African market through improved trade relations between the two countries.
“The first advantage of these relations is (to) create trade information and help our business people have a better way to do business in South Africa,” he noted.
Rwanda is keen boost her exports through increased value of products and services as well as market diversification to offset the trade deficit.
“Whether we can realise our products to a certain standard in form of quality and packaging to suit their requirement is a challenge we have to take on as Rwandans.”
Meanwhile Rwanda’s imports from South Africa reached 73.6 billion Rands in August this year, mainly driven by increased shipments of machinery, foodstuffs, equipment, chemicals, petroleum products and scientific instruments.
Namara is optimistic that with South Africa’s expertise and technological advancement, the country will be able to further push its service sector to offset costs incurred by the private sector.
“The South African experience provides a good example for the Rwandan service sector to learn from, and what is important is that what we are going to benefit from is generally the expertise,” he added.
“It is not worthy for us to sit back in the services sector and say we can bring out our own yet we can borrow from somewhere.“
South Africa’s High Commissioner to Rwanda, George N. Twala, said that trade relations will open up investment opportunities between the two countries.
“At government level, we have done our job; the challenge is for both our people to take the struggle forward,” he pointed out.
Twala said that the two governments will ensure that all barriers to trade are removed, calling on the private sector to identify barriers that would hamper trade.
“As government, we will ensure that we have removed all the obstacles, so it is private sector to tell us that this is an obstacle and remove it,” Twala noted.
“For us to thrive as people, its imperative that we should remove all perceptions that are seen to hamper trade”.
A local trader based in South Africa, Albert Gatare says that Rwanda offers a good business environment for the local business community.