Rwanda has for the last decade transformed its economy and investment climate making it one of the most competitive economies on the African continent and on the globe.
This came out clearly at the 5th Annual African Leadership Network gathering, held in Rwanda, where the question of how Rwanda managed to transform itself sparked a lot of interest. Attendees were eager to gather insights from Rwanda’s leadership and lessons to prosperity.
While speaking at the forum, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Chief Executive Officer Francis Gatare credited the success to the commitment of the government and resilience and self-reliance of Rwandans who are the country’s greatest resource.
Rwanda has made deliberate and strategic efforts to be linked with other countries through regional and global partnerships. For instance there are six international airlines flying directly into the country. Besides making Rwanda accessible to the rest of the world, the country has also opened up a new and wider market for investors.
Regional integration initiatives have allowed for free movement of labour and capital within East Africa and this has partly led to the growth of the economy. National IDs are used as travel documents between Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda since February 2014. In addition, tourists can use a Single Tourist Visa to enter the Northern corridor countries. Costs of doing business for citizens of all member countries and for foreign investors have been reduced.
“This will complement the single customs territory and bring the countries another step closer to the fulfilment of the East African Common Market Protocol. A labour market information system is to be published, indicating sectors in which the respective partner countries need expertise.” Gatare said.
Through the Northern Corridor Initiatives, the time and cost of transporting cargo from the Kenyan coast has greatly reduced. What initially took 22 days to reach Kigali, now takes eight days and the cost reduced from $5000 to $3000.
Rwanda is one of the 13 countries in Africa that offer visa-free or visas-on-arrival to other Africans. It has built the capacity of its workforce to ensure efficiency in service delivery. This has resulted into increased intra-Africa trade.
Rwanda’s economy is fast growing at 8.2% for GDP and 5.1% for GDP per capita. According to World Bank, inflation has declined since 2008, to 2.72% (reported April 2014) due to improved domestic food production, more strategic fiscal and monetary policies.
Rwanda is the top global reformer in the history of World Bank Doing Business reporting. It was ranked number 46 globally, 3rd in Africa and best in East and Central Africa in the recently released 2015 report.
“Investing in Rwanda right now means that you join a progressive, unsaturated market with high, quick returns: in almost every sector, there are profitable gaps for investment projects, innovation pays, and starting out is easy” Gatare concluded.