Rwanda is looking to boost its annual investments in the agriculture sector to at least $90 million in the coming years.
Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture are seeking to achieve the multi-million investment objective to impact the economy of the country.
Both parties aim to increase the country’ export to increase the export receipts and create employment opportunities for the citizens. In addition to these, they hope to enhance resilience in Rwanda’s cornerstone for sustainability and improve productivity as well as expand market networks for business opportunities.
During an Agriculture and Agribusiness CEO Forum held in Kigali on 12th October under the theme “Agriculture and agribusiness development, a catalyst for economic growth,” over 200 investors were in attendance to discuss the challenges and available opportunities in the sector.
Addressing agribusiness stakeholders and policymakers during the forum, the CEO of RDB, Clare Akamanzi, noted that, the agriculture sector generates approximately 30 percent of Rwanda’s GDP and employs around 70% of the workforce.
Rwanda is allocating 13.4 percent of its national budget to the agriculture sector seeking to boost production and improve its performance. As a result, the government has recorded significant improvements in food security.
The CEO also said that the private sector plays an essential role in boosting Rwanda’s economy.
“As valued partners, it is important that we regularly exchange ideas on the best mechanisms to ensure the growth and sustainability of the private sector.” The private sector plays a pivotal role in helping the Government to meet its targets in the industry to improve food security and sustainable rural livelihoods.
Clare Akamanzi established that $53 million worth of investments is channeled towards agricultural sector annually. The value is yet to change to $90 million.
In 2017, in all sectors generally, RDB attracted 137 investment commitments totaling $ 1.67 billion and generated 37,548 jobs. Among the investments, Unilever Tea Rwanda committed to investing $23 million in a commercial tea estate and factory in the next five years.
Since 2014, Rwanda’s GDP has grown at a rate of 7 percent. Tea and coffee are the primary cash crops that have spearheaded the trajectory of the sector as the forerunning exports. Exports in Rwanda increased to $80.29 million in May from $77.86 million in April of 2018, according to Trading Economics.
The rising population in Rwanda necessitates more investments to feed the citizens and create job opportunities for them. In the words of the Minister for Agriculture, Geraldine Mukeshimana, “There are so many investment opportunities in the agriculture sector considering the increasing population leading to rising food demand and this requires strong private sector involvement. We are striving towards increasing agricultural productivity, reduce post-harvest losses but also increase more processed food items by linking them to markets inside and outside the country,” she said.