Key investment opportunities Rwanda is showcasing at the Commonwealth Business Forum
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The Kigali International Finance Centre, mining, manufacturing, digital innovations in a wide range of sectors, as well as education, are some of the areas where Rwanda is showcasing abundance of investment opportunities during the Commonwealth Business Forum in Kigali. Rwanda Development Board (RDB) CEO Clare Akamanzi on Thursday, June 23, told The New Times that government wants companies to come and invest in all these areas. She said: “The key investment opportunities that we are showcasing here during the Commonwealth Business Forum are, one is the Kigali International Finance Centre. We want companies to come and invest in it.We are also showcasing mining; and digital innovations that can be done in Rwanda or are already being done in Rwanda.” “We are also promoting manufacturing and agroprocessing as a key investment opportunity; solutions in innovations in health; as well as opportunities I’m education.” Below, The New Times breaks down the key investment opportunities in the country. Rwanda is using the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) to promote the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC) to the world. The membership of KIFC grew this week as continental finance players expressed interest in setting up operations in the regional financial hub.
Agriculture and agro-processing
Agriculture is a major economic sector for Rwanda, employing about 54% of the active population and the industry contributes about 24% to GDP. Key opportunities identified in the sector include Gabiro agro park: development of 15,600 hectares of a fully irrigated commercial farm to be available through lease for farming investors. The Gako meat project is another one. The objective is to develop a farm of 5,600 hectares to table an animal operation, producing high-quality meat for export markets. The project provides potential opportunities in farming, feedlot, feed mill, slaughtering houses, tannery and rendering. There is also the Kigali wholesale market: Fresh agriculture produce trading platform located in the Special Economic Zone, allowing to bring traders and buyers together. Some 10 hectares of land are already secured in the Special Economic Zone to set up the actual market.
The country’s manufacturing industry is growing, currently contributing about 17 % to the country’s GDP. The sector is characterized by gradual diversification from basic manufacturing to more value-adding activities. The sector presents huge investment opportunities in glass manufacturing, e-mobility, as well as manufacturing of electronic products, packaging materials, wood products, textiles and garments presents. In glass manufacturing, for example, the objective is to invest in glass manufacturing by making use of the high-quality sand resources available in Rwanda to develop both a flat and a container glass factory for the domestic and regional market. Under e-mobility, there is growing demand for motorbikes, cars and commercial vehicles and proximity market of 60 million people and more than one million vehicles. The EAC has more than 180 million people with $3 billion vehicles market
ICT and Innovation
The government has invested in developing ICT infrastructure to enhance service delivery: A reliable fiber optic backbone of 7,000 kilometers, reaching all districts, 95% LTE network coverage; first in the world for network readiness (WEF, 2015) and is equipped with BPO industry standard technology to provide fast and reliable communication. The Kigali Innovation City, or KIC, is all about the development of an Innovation and knowledge hub combining world-class learning institutions, tech companies, innovation friendly financing and strong government commitment. The project will have four premier universities, with 2,000 students and researchers, 50% top international think tanks, global tech companies and a robust local market. Then there is the Rwanda innovation fund. Privately managed, the Rwanda Innovation Fund is a $100 million fund for the development of world-class innovative entrepreneurs and enabling technologies in the ICT sector within Rwanda, East Africa and in Sub-Saharan Africa. The fund will establish an investment vehicle focused on funding Tech-Enabled SME’s and to develop the country’s entrepreneurial or innovation ecosystem capacity.
An example here is the Kigali Green City project that consists of development of a Green City with a sustainable neighbourhood for middle income residents on 16 hectares of land. The Green city Kigali project will integrate green building and design, efficient and renewable energy, recycling and inclusive living as well as home-grown solutions and local construction materials. Investment required is $86 million and the project has already secured EUR40 million financing support from the Government of Germany. The Dar-Isaka-Kigali standard gauge railway is another huge project dear to Rwanda. Development of 139 kilometers (on the Rwandan side) of railway and operation of trains to meet high demand for quick transport of cargo and passengers between Rwanda and Tanzania. The whole line(Isaka- Kigali) is 534 kilometers with possibility to be extended to Bujumbura, Burundi and eastern Dr Congo. Ferries for operations on Lake Kivu is another opportunity: This entails purchase of ferries and their operation to meet high demand for maritime transport of goods and passengers on lake Kivu. There are six key cities, four in Rwanda and two in DR Congo, on the lake with a total population of 4.5 million people. The government of Rwanda is currently constructing four ports (Rubavu, Rusizi, Nyamasheke and Karongi).
Healthcare also avails lots of opportunities.
Rwanda’s health system currently covers about 12 million people with a multi-layered administrative structure ranging from the national to the village level. Opportunities are available in: equipment manufacturing; constructing medical consumable manufacturing plants and brand pharmaceutical products; as well as in medical tourism focusing on speciality services such as Oncology, Cardiology, and Nephrology.
The country is in a drive for the recovery of the tourism sector which is probably the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Rwanda Development Board has set out an eight-strategy approach that could see the sector bounce back.
This sector also has abudant opportunities for investment.
Examples include the gigantic Kivu belt project with many resorts and the government is encouraging investors to set up luxury eco lodges along the twin lakes in Burera District.