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Rwanda is committed to continue improving the business environment in order to make Rwanda an even more attractive place to do business. This was revealed today during the official launch of the 2019 World Bank Doing Business index as well as the 2020 Doing Business Action Plan.

Rwanda is the 29th easiest place to do business in the world according to the 2019 World Bank Doing Business index of the world’s most business-friendly economies. The World Bank assessed 190 countries for the report that was released 31, October.

In her remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi said: “We have new reforms currently underway that are in line with our vision of a private sector-led economic transformation. Over the next five months we will implement new reforms to ensure that we build on the very solid gains that were made in improving the business environment and make Rwanda an even more attractive place to do business.”

Highlights of the Doing Business Action Plan 2020:
– On starting a business: Merging online employee with business registration, install EBM version 2 on RDB website to increase adoption of the software and waive ‘patante’ for startups for 2 years.

– Dealing with construction permits: reduce high costs and streamline procedures for obtaining construction permits namely geotechnological studies, topographic surveys and EIA, amend the land policy and law to merge LAIS and BPMIS for issuance of freehold titles.

– Getting electricity: Integrate with NIDA, LAIS and RDB to apply and acquire location and address of businesses and use GIS for faster connectivity, implement online application for electricity connection to reduce connectivity times and rehabilitate and develop new power stations and sub stations to increase reliability of electricity supply

– Registering property: Amendment of the land policy and land law to merge issuance of free hold titles and occupancy permits; introduce online notarization in property transfers.

– Getting credit: improvement of credit bureau coverage.

– Paying taxes: Introduction of automatic risk based system for tax audit to reduce the percentage of cases subjected to tax audit and roll out EBM version 2 to all businesses to reduce the time it takes to pay taxes.

– Trading across borders: Reduction of border compliance documents, reduce time taken to import/export, ensure implementation of risk based clearance of goods and enhance automation by incorporating all relevant agencies and clearing agents into the Electronic Single Window.

– Enforcing contracts: Implementation of small claims procedure to allow for self representation and reduce the costs of attorneys, introduce electronic auctioning to reduce time taken to enforce judgments, reduction of court fees, payment of court fees electronically and establishment of commercial division at Court of Appeal to fast-track resolution of commercial disputes.

– Resolving insolvency: Building a strong Insolvency administrators association. Engaging lending institutions to opt for more productive recovery outcomes for financially distressed companies such as restructuring or sale as a going concern.

For more photos from today’s event, please go here https://www.flickr.com/photos/rdbrwanda/albums/72157704378079224

Chinese tourists are now able to directly book tour packages to Rwanda following the launch of the ‘Visit Rwanda’ online pavilion on Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel platform that is accessed by over 500 million users in China.

This follows the 31st October official launch of the first of its kind in Africa, eWTP (Electronic World Trade Platform) by President Paul Kagame and Jack Ma, founder and Chairman of Alibaba Group.

The eWTP has an objective of supporting the development of the digital economy in Rwanda by making it easier for Rwandan companies to participate in global trade.

The Fliggy platform allows Rwandan tour operators and hotels to aggressively create awareness and sell Rwandan tourism products and services to the Chinese outbound tourists.

Speaking on development, The Chief Executive Officer, RDB, Clare Akamanzi said:

“China is the largest source of the global outbound tourist traffic and Chinese tourists spend the most in the world. The 131 million outbound Chinese tourists last year each spent an average of US$ 726 per person on retail shopping while non-Chinese tourists spent an average of US$486 per person.

Tourism expenditure from China stood at US$ 261 billion in 2016, accounting for 21% of the world’s international tourism spending. Sadly, Africa accounted for only 2% of it. We believe that the Visit Rwanda pavilion on Fliggy is one of the avenues that will lead to an increase in tourism traffic to Rwanda from China.”

Aimable Rutagarama, Chairman of the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism said:

“We are confident that trading tourism products on Fliggy provides an opportunity for the industry to efficiently penetrate the Chinese market. We will also earn more profits as intermediaries will be bypassed and commissions reduced. I urge all tourism businesses to embrace this platform and package their services and products in a unique and innovative way to keep the destination attractive and competitive.”

RDB (Rwanda Development Board) yesterday gave 7 local 15 year olds, who were accompanied by their guardians, a unique gorilla trekking experience in Volcanoes National Park as part of its efforts to instill a culture of conservation in Rwandan youth.

Selected through a competition that was announced by RDB during this year’s Liberation Day celebrations, the teenagers left Kigali on Saturday afternoon to participate in an early morning trek on Sunday.
RDB’s Chief Tourism Officer, Belise Kariza, urged them to be the next generation of conservationists in the country.

“We need to impart the importance of conservation among the youth in order for them to carry on the mountain gorilla conservation efforts that have seen the number of mountain gorillas’ increase. Through gorilla conservation and tourism, we are directly benefitting from these wonderful species. Over the last nine years, revenues from mountain gorilla conservation and the resulting tourism has brought US$107 million to the national coffers,” Kariza noted.

Following the trek, Lelia Gasaro, one of the young trekkers, said that she found the trip educative.
“This trip is good because it helps us to see for ourselves what we learn in school and what the country is doing to conserve the gorillas. The information I received from the guides was good because I knew some of it and also learnt new details that I will share with my friends,” Gasaro noted.

From 15th-16th December, a second group of 15-year olds will travel to Volcanoes National Park courtesy of RDB’s Liberation Day giveaway.

According to a recent census by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), conservation efforts have resulted in an increase in the number of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Massif region to more than 1000 gorillas, from 242 in 1981 and 480 in 2010.

RDB (Rwanda Development Board) has today organized a customer care workshop in Muhanga, Southern Province aimed at improving service delivery standards in the hospitality sector in Muhanga District.

The workshop is part of the two-week countrywide customer-care training workshop for players in hospitality sector. This campaign will conclude on 7, December. The campaign will benefit over 1,000 hospitality industry staff in Huye, Nyamagabe, Rusizi, Rubavu and Musanze district.

Speaking while opening the workshop the head of the RDB Customer Care and Tourism Regulatory Division, Emmanuel Nsabimana, said: “Rwanda strongly believes quality service delivery is a key driver to not only the growth of tourism but the entire economy as well. We aim to double tourism revenues from USD 404 million in 2016 to USD 800 Million in 2024 and the only way we shall do this is by ensuring that our customer care is world class.

We are going to train over 200 people per district. The trainees will include managers, receptionists, waiters, supervisors, housekeepers and cooks. We want to enhance their knowledge on what clients’ expect and how they can work seamlessly every day to meet customer needs”, he noted.

The first annual Kigali Audiovisual Forum concluded on a high note today at the Kigali Convention Center.

The first of its kind in the region, the three-day Kigali Audiovisual Forum brought together over 300 delegates from 20 countries across the world in order to discuss the trends in the sector, map out future business opportunities in the industry and provide networking opportunities for audiovisual professionals from across the globe.

The Forum focused on Africa’s ability to use technology in storytelling, the development and professionalization of audio-visual structures and industries as well as the development of professional skills in production and distribution.

Furthermore, discussions expounded on producing exportable, authentic African content and helping budding continental producers to initiate co-financing, cross-border content production of projects.

In addition, delegates enjoyed workshops on pitching for project ideas as well as deliberate on the development of public financing mechanisms for the film and media sector.

“Rwanda recognizes the Audio-Visual sector as one of the high potential sectors of all creative industries and promising niche market for tourism and culture development. We consider it as one of the key components for economic development and poverty reduction mostly through job creation. This is why efforts such as this forum are being made so that we can all address the current challenges and find solutions, together,” said Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board.

The Kigali Audio Visual Forum was organized by a range of partners including the Rwanda Development Board, the Rwanda Convention Bureau, GIZ, European Union, The European Film Festival, French Embassy to Rwanda, CISAC, the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI), Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Pavillon Afriques and Rwanda’s national flag carrier, RwandAir.

“The German Corporation is happy with the outcomes of the past three-day event and we will continue to partner with the Rwanda Development Board to organize another Kigali Audio Visual Forum next year,” said Bodo Immink, Country Director GIZ Rwanda.

To view and download photos of the first Kigali Audio Visual Forum go to:
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The first annual Kigali Audiovisual Forum is set to take place at the Kigali Convention Center from 21-23, November 2018.

The first of its kind in the region, the three-day Kigali Audiovisual Forum is a platform that will bring together major players in the audiovisual sector as well as donors, students and financiers in order to discuss the trends in the sector, map out future business opportunities in the industry and provide networking opportunities for audiovisual professionals from across the globe.

The Forum will also focus on Africa ‘s ability to use technology in storytelling, the development and professionalization of audio-visual structures and industries as well as the development of professional skills in production and distribution. Furthermore, discussions will expound on producing exportable, authentic African content and helping budding continental producers to initiate co-financing, cross-border content production of projects.

In addition, delegates will be able to enjoy workshops on pitching for project ideas as well as deliberate on the development of public financing mechanisms for the film and media sector.

“I am delighted that we are hosting the first ever such audiovisual forum in the region. As the Rwanda Development Board, we believe that leveraging the storytelling abilities of our African youth can play a major role in changing negative global stereotypes of Africa. These stereotypes have impacted foreign investments on the continent and that is why I believe that supporting this forum will bear good fruit in the future. African audiovisual professionals have the talent. With this forum they will get the opportunity to learn best practices from the top professionals in the industry”, said Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board.

The Kigali Audio Visual Forum is organized by a range of partners including the Rwanda Devlopment Board, the Rwanda Convention Bureau, GIZ, European Union, The European Film Festival, French Embassy to Rwanda, CISAC, The Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI), Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Pavillon Afriques and Rwanda’s national flag carrier, RwandAir.

“I am pleased that we have entered into collaboration with Rwanda Development Board for the implementation of RDB organized International Kigali Audiovisual Forum well as for organization of our European Film Festival in Kigali, Muhanga and Rubavu. Our cooperation on the implementation of the two events, which run in parallel this year, creates an opportunity for more dialogue about the role of culture in development and what Africa and Europe can achieve together in this area. I look forward to more similar initiatives in future”, said Head of Delegation of the European Union to Rwanda, Ambassador Nicola Bellomo

Key Speakers

The following speakers are among those expected to grace the Kigali Audiovisual Forum:

• Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board
• Giorgio Ficarelli, Head of Culture Sector, Directorate General for International development and Cooperation, European Commission.
• Matthijs Wouter Knol, Director, Berlinale European Film Market.
• Philipp Hoffmann, Owner & Chief Executive Officer, Rushlake Media.
• Sarika Lakhani, Managing Partner & Producer, One Fine Day Films

The Programme

Media and the general public are encouraged to learn more about the KIGALI AUDIO-VISUAL FORUM, and be able to download the programme of the Forum by visiting www.kaf.rw

In a bid to recognize the private sector’s essential role in growing Rwanda’s economy, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) will on 18th January 2019 celebrate the ‘RDB Business Excellence Awards 2018’ at the Kigali Convention Center.

The categories that will be awarded this year are; Investor of the Year, Exporter of the Year, Innovator of the Year, Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Made in Rwanda Enterprise of the Year and the SME of the Year.

Both local and foreign investors in Rwanda are encouraged to participate in this year’s awards by applying online via this link before the 15, December deadline.

Launching the awards, RDB Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi, said; “Exports in Rwanda increased by 30% last year and GDP grew by over seven percent. This is clear evidence that the Rwandan private sector has been thriving. The ‘Made in Rwanda’ initiative, which aims not only to increase local employment but also reduce the country’s trade deficit, is possible because local businesses are playing their role and with the RDB Business Excellence Awards we are recognizing this fact”.

This will be the sixth edition of the RDB Business Excellence Awards.
Speaking in the 2017 gala event CEO Akamanzi, noted that the winners were the captains of the industry.
“When you win, Rwanda wins and when Rwanda wins, we all win. This is, therefore, an evening of celebrating excellence demonstrated by the business community in the country. But it’s also been a special way of celebrating the growing ecosystem that ensures private sector remains at the forefront of everything we do here in Rwanda,” she noted.

Africa Improved Foods (AIF) was awarded as the Investor of the Year in the 2017 RDB Business Excellence Awards.

Kigali, 7th November 2018: The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) have today signed an agreement that aims to help build the capacity of Rwandan businesses to tap into international and regional markets.

The support, worth USD $2.4 million, aims to link 40 local producers of non- traditional exports to new markets by 2023 by providing business advisory services for export-ready companies. Furthermore, Rwandan university graduates will be placed in mentorship programmes to build their capacity in trade policy and export development. This will ensure the long-term sustainability of the outcomes of the programme.

The support from TMEA is part of the USD $50 million Memorandum of Understanding signed between TMEA and the Government of Rwanda early this year. The funding to RDB is being provided by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through TMEA.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, RDB Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel Hategeka said, “the partnership with TMEA couldn’t have come at a better time. Supporting local exporters will increase employment opportunities for Rwandans while at the same time helping to reduce Rwanda’s trade deficit. It was also increase our capacity to attract investors into our special economic zones. I have no doubt that this partnership will be a success.”

Explaining the new partnership, TMEA Country Director Ms. Patience Mutesi-Gatera said, “Growing Rwandan exports and getting Rwandan companies to compete at the international markets may seem complex. We believe it is possible with collaboration, and that is why we have renewed our partnership with RDB to especially support the Rwanda National Export Strategy. Our research show that some of the constraints faced by potential Rwandan exporters include weak export networks, inadequate exporting skills and low productivity of labour. This programme will resolve some of these challenges. It will enable RDB build capacity of local industries in producing products that meet international standards, thereafter promoting exports and providing business development services including development of marketing strategies and provision of information and training to enhance knowledge of market requirements. Ultimately, our goal is to increase Rwanda’s export base as this will stimulate new jobs and improve incomes for the people of Rwanda”

Note to Editor’s

An Export Development Programme will build the capacity of 40 Rwandan businesses to increase their exports. A mix of interventions will be applied including on-firm advisory services tailored to respond to company needs and then linking companies to regional and international markets. The project will also seek to develop a cadre of local export advisors through a training programme in conjunction with local business development service providers to ensure sustainability. In providing technical assistance, the programme will provide a Technical Advisor to RDB’s export department who will support formulation, implementation and coordination of policies, strategies, programs and projects that enhance Rwandan exports. The Special Economic Zone Authority of Rwanda will also be furnished with technical expertise required to effectively regulate Special Economic Zones in Rwanda. Sustainability remains critical and that is why training of young graduates in issues of trade policy and export development will be central to the programme. At least five young professionals are targeted during this phase.

The partnership signed today with RDB complements other programmes implemented by the Government of Rwanda and supported by TMEA. These include the ‘Rwanda Electronic Single Window’ implemented by Rwanda Revenue Authority, the development of an Industrial Park and Advanced Factory Units (AFUs) through the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM) and the development of transport infrastructure on Lake Kivu in partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Rwanda Transport Development Agency.

About Rwanda Development Board
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) was set up by bringing together all the government agencies responsible for the entire investor experience under one roof. This includes key agencies responsible for business registration, investment promotion, environmental clearances, privatization and specialist agencies which support the priority sectors of ICT and tourism as well as SMEs and human capacity development in the private sector. For more information, please visit www.rdb.rw

About TradeMark East Africa
TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) is an aid-for-trade organisation that was established with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade. TMEA operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, UK, and USA. TMEA works closely with East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations. TMEA seeks to increase trade by unlocking economic potential through Reduced barriers to trade; and Improving business competitiveness. Increased trade contributes to stronger economic growth, a reduction in poverty and subsequently greater prosperity. TMEA has its headquarters in Nairobi with programmes in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda. To find out more, please visit the TMEA website at www.trademarkea.com
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For more information, please contact

For TMEA Rwanda
Jackline Zizane
Programme Manager
Jackie.Zizane@trademarkea.com
For Rwanda Development Board
Sanny Ntayombya
Rwanda Development Board
sanny.ntayombya@rdb.rw
Board
sanny.ntayombya@rdb.rw

Kigali, Rwanda – Today, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma witnessed the signing of three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) between the Rwandan Government and Alibaba establishing an eWTP (electronic world trade platform) hub in Rwanda.

The agreements are intended to strengthen cooperation in support of Rwanda’s economic development by promoting policy innovation, enabling cross-border trade of Rwandan products to Chinese consumers, facilitating tourism to Rwanda, and providing capacity building to empower the growth of Rwanda’s digital economy.

As a regional pioneer with a vision to create world class digital infrastructure, Rwanda becomes the first country in Africa to establish an eWTP hub. The eWTP is a multi-stakeholder global initiative promoting public-private dialogue to foster a more effective and efficient policy and business environment to enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate in cross-border electronic trade.

“The Electronic World Trade Platform opens up new frontiers in e-commerce and tourism for Rwanda, and will also boost the capacity and competitiveness of our entrepreneurs and businesspeople”, said President Paul Kagame. “Rwandan producers will be able to sell directly to a much larger set of customers than before, while bypassing costly intermediaries. This improves productivity and profitability. There really are no downsides to doing business on a global scale.”

“I am delighted that Rwanda is the first eWTP partner in Africa, and I look forward to the development of an innovative digital economy here,” said Mr. Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group. “Entrepreneurs in Rwanda, and elsewhere in Africa, are ready to seize the opportunities offered by the digital economy. It is up to all of us to help them succeed.”

Under the agreements, Alibaba will work with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to help Rwandan SMEs sell their products, including coffee and handicrafts, to Chinese consumers through Alibaba’s online marketplaces. With more than half a billion consumers, Alibaba is the world’s largest online commerce company and home to leading cross-border marketplaces where Chinese consumers look to find the highest quality products from around the world. Several brands of Rwandan single origin coffee are already available for sale on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform.

Alibaba’s travel services platform, Fliggy, and the RDB will also work together to promote Rwanda as a tourist destination through a Rwanda Tourism Store for booking flights, hotels and travel experiences and a Destination Pavilion where Chinese consumers can learn about visiting the country, including its beautiful natural parks, through engaging video content. Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial will share expertise in inclusive financial tools, such as mobile payments, to support the Rwandan digital economy.

“The partnership between Rwanda and Alibaba will change people’s lives for the better. We are committed to leveraging the digital economy to support our exporters, local producers and artisans. We have already seen tremendous attention from Chinese consumers on Alibaba’s platforms in high-quality Rwandan products such as our top-tier single estate coffee, and we are confident that local products and travel experiences will continue to receive interest and support from the more than half a billion consumers on Alibaba’s platforms,” said RDB Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi.

Alibaba is also committed to providing capacity building to academics, policy makers and entrepreneurs on how to grow a digital economy. The Global E-commerce Talent Program (GET) is a five-day course to boost the competencies of Rwandan university teachers and deepen their understanding of the e-commerce industry, so they can train digital talent and future entrepreneurs to compete in the global economy. Fifty lecturers from Rwanda’s top universities attended the first GET program in August organized by Alibaba Business School in partnership with the Ministry of Education’s Higher Education Council and the RDB.

For policy makers, Alibaba will host a three-day workshop at its Hangzhou headquarters to showcase the nature, capabilities and promise of a new digital economy through first-hand experience with digital finance, logistics, e-commerce and big data industries. A delegation of Ministers and government officials responsible for the development of Rwanda’s digital economy will attend a workshop in Hangzhou in January 2019.

Alibaba will also continue to support Rwandan entrepreneurs through programs such as the eFounders Fellowship. In partnership with UNCTAD, Alibaba is training 1,000 entrepreneurs from emerging markets over five years. Two hundred of those entrepreneurs will come from Africa. Five Rwandan entrepreneurs have already graduated from the eFounders Fellowship program.

Kigali, Rwanda – As part of its strategy to forge further partnerships as well as increased Qatari investment in the country, the Government of Rwanda today welcomed a high-level Qatari delegation led by H.E. Sheikh Faisal bin Thani Al-Thani, a member of the Qatar Ruling Family and Director of Regional Investment Funds at Qatar Investment Authority to the country.

Accompanying H.E. Sheikh Faisal bin Thani Al-Thani, was Ali Abdulrahman Ali-Abdulla, Business Development Director- Nebras Power, Hamad Abdulla Al-Mulla-CEO Katara Hospitality, Khalid Al-Obaidli- CEO Qatar Mining, Mohamed Badr Hashem Al-Sada- CEO Hassad Food and Sultan Ali Hamad Abdulla-Director of Qatar Investment Authority Office. The aim of their visit is to explore investment opportunities in the sectors of infrastructure, energy, tourism, mining and food security.

Senior officials from the Rwanda Development Board, the Ministry of Infrastructure, Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Ministry of Education, Ministry of ICT and Innovation, Rwanda Mines Petroleum and Gas Board, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, met with the Qatari delegation.

Following the welcome address of the Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi, H.E. Sheikh Faisal bin Thani Al-Thani said that his delegation was excited to visit Rwanda. “Rwanda is one of the countries that we are interested in investing in”, he noted.

The Qatar Investment Authority is Qatar’s state-owned holding company that can be characterized as a sovereign wealth fund. It specializes in domestic and foreign investment. Founded in 2005, the Qatar Investment Authority manages assets worth over $300 billion.

Rwanda is the 29th easiest place to do business in the world according to the 2019 World Bank Doing Business index of the world’s most business-friendly economies. The World Bank assessed 190 countries for the report released today.

Clare Akamanzi, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board said:

“We are pleased to have moved up 11 places to 29, from 41 in last year’s Doing Business report. Rwanda has adopted a very bold and ambitious approach to reforming its business environment and we will continue working on further improvements in keeping with our vision of a private sector-led economic transformation”.

Highlights include of the report include:

– Rwanda is the only Low-Income Country (LIC) in the Top 30, and the only one in the Top 100. Nearly 75% of the Top 30 are High-Income Countries (HICs) with per annual per capita income above $12,000.

– Rwanda improved on all but one of the ten Doing Business indicators, with the biggest gains recorded in Getting Electricity (#119 to #68, a 29% gain in absolute terms) and Resolving Insolvency (#79 to #58, reflecting a 20% increase in the absolute score).

– Rwanda remains #2 in the world for ease of registering property, and #3 in the world for quality of credit information systems and procedures.

– Rwanda improved its rank on ease of starting a business by replacing the electronic billing machine system with free software from the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) that allows taxpayers to issue VAT invoices from any computer.

– In 2018, Rwanda also returns to the list of the Top 10 biggest reformers over the previous year. Since 2005, Rwanda’s consistent focus on business climate reform has produced the biggest cumulative improvement of all countries measured by Doing Business, rising from a low of 37.4/100 in 2005 (ranking worse than #150 globally), to 77.68/100 in 2018 (#29).

Some examples of what this means in real terms: (1) According to Doing Business data, it took 354 days on average to register property in Rwanda in 2005; in 2018 it takes an average of 7 days. (2) It cost the equivalent of 317% of annual per capita income to register a new business in 2005; it costs less than 15% in 2018.

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Notes to editors:

The 16th edition of the World Bank Doing Business Report measures ten business regulatory areas that are important to nascent and existing entrepreneurs. Rwanda implemented reforms in seven of the ten indicators and the biggest gains this year were recorded in:
o    Getting Electricity, where Rwanda improved from the 119th to 68th

o   Resolving Insolvency with improvement from the 79th rank to 58th.

o   Rwanda remains 2nd globally for Ease of Registering Property, and 3rd in the world for Quality of Credit Information Systems and Procedures.

Three major reforms instituted in 2018 decreased bureaucracy in construction, ensured timely electricity provision for investors and reduced the amount of time exporters spend at customs.
In terms of Getting Electricity, Rwanda Energy Group (REG) introduced an online application facility for REG customers to apply for electricity connection and reduced the time to obtain electricity connection to 20 days, down from 34 days previously. REG also implemented an automated system to measure the duration and frequency of power outages to ensure better planning, maintenance and resource allocation with the overall aim of increasing the reliability of electricity supply.

To ease the challenges in the construction sector, Rwanda has introduced various reforms to reduce bureaucracy and costs in obtaining construction permits by implementing a risk-based approach.

Following the introduction of electronic online registration, domestic business registrations have increased from 418 in 2008 to 13,394 in 2017.

Modern secured transactions laws offering strong protections to secured creditors have increased confidence among lenders and expanded access to finance. The outcome of the reforms has seen mortgages registered increase from 770 in 2007 to 15,738 in 2017. 

Simplified tax systems and regulatory reforms have increased tax compliance and resulted in higher tax revenues. 

When the change in gorilla permit fees was announced on 6, May 2017, RDB stated that tourists who, in addition to gorilla trekking, also visited either Nyungwe National Park and Akagera National Park for a minimum of three days during the low season(November-May) would receive a discount of 30%. This was in addition to a 15% discount for conference tourists who stayed pre-or post-conference dates to see gorillas.

AP wrongfully states that ’fees have been reduced by 30 per cent for the low season in the hope that visitors will return.

The AP report further states that ‘Following the drop in tourist numbers, Volcanoes National Park decided to reduce the fee from November to May to $1,050’.

The discounts that RDB announced in 2017 were part of our strategy to encourage visits to Akagera National Park and Nyungwe National Park as well as encourage conference guests to visit the gorillas.

The discounts were not in reaction to reduced visitor numbers to Volcanoes National Park.

Furthermore, AP states that ‘Since then the Rwanda Development Board has lost business to Uganda, leaving many guides and others in the hospitality industry without income, according to the park authority’s website’.

We would like to state unequivocally that RDB has never stated, in any forum, that guides and others in the hospitality industry are left without income due to an increase in the gorilla permits. That is erroneous.

In terms of sales of gorilla permits, what we are seeing is an unsurprising market reaction. There was increased revenues immediately after the announcement in 2017 which led to a 4% increase of revenues in 2017 compared with 2016. However, there was a small decrease during the low season but we are seeing a recovery again in the high season. This is because our visitors understand that the price increase was made in order to ensure gorilla conservation and improve the overall gorilla trekking experience. Between May- August 2018, RDB saw increased revenues of USD $983,333 when

compared to the same period in 2017. We are confident this trend will continue.

Gorilla trekking is a highly unique experience. Rwanda increased the gorilla permit fees in order to ensure sustainability of conservation initiatives, enhance visitors’ experience and improve the lives of the communities living adjacent to the national parks. These objectives informed our decision for a high-value, low – volume market segmentation. This implies that facilities have to be competitive to serve this clientele, and those that aren’t may lose business to more competitive ones.

Tourism has played a major role in improving the lives of Rwandans. One of the major tourism initiatives was the Revenue Share Program.  Initiated in 2005 by the Government of Rwanda, the Revenue Share program aims to guide investment in the areas surrounding the various national parks in Rwanda by ensuring that 10% of all park revenues are shared with the communities living in those areas.   Due to the program, communities have been able to access clean drinking water, health centers, classrooms and decent housing.

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB), in partnership with the Embassy of Rwanda in China, organized a roadshow in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Dongguan province to showcase Rwanda’s investment and tourism opportunities to Chinese investors.

The roadshow, dubbed ‘Rwanda Week in China’ took place from 30th August- 8th September. Organized on in the margins of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation- FOCAC, Rwanda Week in China entailed investor forums in Beijing and Shenzhen that attracting over 400 companies as well as one on one sessions with targeted Chinese investors and tour operators.

Speaking to the potential investors, the RDB Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel Hategeka encouraged them to visit Rwanda, invest in Rwanda;

“Rwanda is open for business. There are vast profitable investment opportunities and the country offers the right kind of business environment that investors can leverage on to successfully do business. In addition, investors to Rwanda can benefit from the bigger East African Community market of 168 million people as well as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) with 21 member states and a population of 520 million people, where you can export duty free, quota free,” he said.

In addition, Hategeka emphasized that investors should take advantage of the excellent bilateral ties between Rwanda and China, following President Xi Jinping’s commitment to support and facilitate trade and investment through a $USD 60 billion funding for Africa announced during the FOCAC summit.

He added that Rwanda is rated as one of the most efficient governments in Africa, the safest and most secure country to live in and do business. He emphasized that the Government of Rwanda will continue to work with Chinese partners to ensure a win-win situation in trade and investment co-operation.

Hategeka also encouraged Chinese to visit Rwanda noting that Rwanda has everything Africa has to offer in one country; combining breathtaking landscapes, well preserved forests, wildlife, easy access to the rare mountain gorillas, visa on arrival regime and most importantly, a safe environment.

Other key highlights of the roadshow included signing of various MOU’s including one with the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the China-Africa Development Fund (CAD Fund), one with Chongqing Chamber of Commerce and another with Henan Province to accelerate matching business opportunities between Rwanda and Chinese investors. The $10 billion CAD Fund is a huge opportunity to facilitate FDI inflows to Africa in industrial parks, power generation, transportation infrastructure, manufacturing and other sectors.

Several factories and industries were also visited by the Rwandan delegation and these include; Huajian industrial park in Dongguan that produces shoes and textiles, Qianhai vc incubator (QVCI), Ideal Technology which manufactures electronics and UBTECH which deals with robotics.

END
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Sanny Ntayombya
Head of Communications and Marketing,
Rwanda Development Board
sanny.ntayombya@rdb.rw
Follow us on Twitter: @RDBrwanda
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The fourth edition of the Conversation on Conservation (COC) has officially opened today in the Kigali Cultural and Exhibition Village. The two-day forum brings together conservation and tourism experts from around the world to discuss, debate and find solutions for conservation challenges.  The theme of this year’s event is ‘Advancing Conservation through Technology’.

The COC, is part of the week-long 2018 Kwita Izina celebrations.

The theme of this year’s Kwita Izina, a uniquely Rwandan event introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness of conservation efforts for the endangered mountain gorilla, is ‘Conservation is Life’.

The Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony will take place in Kinigi, Northern Province on 7, September. 23 infant mountain gorillas will be named this year.

Welcoming the COC participants, the Rwanda Development Board Chief Tourism Officer, Belise Kariza, said:

“This 4th Kwita Izina Conversation on Conservation Conference for which you have joined today and tomorrow, is an important forum bringing together you, the conservation and tourism experts from around the World, to discuss, debate and find solutions to the challenges we all face in conservation today – in Rwanda, in Africa and Globally.

We have a line-up of excellent speakers who, in a research symposium format, will share their expertise and experiences in the use of technology to advance conservation – the sub-theme for this year’s COC Conference.  This year’s COC Conference also builds upon one our key goals, also a goal of the Government of Rwanda, that of actively involving and building capacity in our Youth, the future leaders and stewards of our natural and cultural heritage in Rwanda.

“This important Conservation Conference also provides the opportunity to renew profession working friendships and networks, as well as establish new ones. These friendships and networks help to improve and build research capacity and partnerships for more effective monitoring and research activities which are critical to the successful conservation and management of the natural ecosystems in Rwanda, Africa and the World”, Chief Tourism Officer, Belise Kariza, ended.

 

Welcoming the Guest of Honor, the Right Honorable Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda, Edourard Ngirente, to the 2018 Conversation on Conservation, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi, said:

“Kwita Izina, a family of conservation and tourism events which includes this COC Conference, are indeed important to Rwandans because they not only celebrate our significant conservation and sustainable tourism achievements, but share them with the World. This Conference also continues to be an important call to action in support of conservation and sustainable tourism in Rwanda”, Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi noted.

Officially opening the 2018 COC, the Guest of Honor, the Right Honorable Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda, Edourard Ngirente noted:

“The use of new technologies in conservation will help us to easily gather accurate more data on wildlife and efficient monitor the entire ecosystems and adopt concrete majors to protect threatened species.

The 23 new baby mountain gorillas that will be named on the 7th September is yet another indicator that proves Rwanda determination to protect our biodiversity assets. Our tourism strategy is conservation led.

Tourism is one of the key pillars of our economy and has been one of Rwanda’s major foreign currency source for the last seven years. For example, tourism is a leading source of foreign exchange for Rwanda; this sector alone accounts for 44% of our service exports as well as 21% of all export goods and services.

I call on all participants here today to use this Conference as a means to learn about what technologies have been used in the past to support conservation, and to discuss how they can shape and support achieving even greater conservation results.

It is on this note that I declare open this Fourth Conversation on Conservation Conference. I wish you all well during this Conference and look forward to hearing the results of your deliberations”, Prime Minister, Ngirente concluded.

The Kwita Izina Conservation Exhibition is taking place on the sidelines of the COC. The exhibition brings together tourism and conservation partners from across the region to showcase conservation efforts and avail educational materials to the general public

As a result of conservation efforts such as Kwita Izina, the population of the endangered mountain gorilla has increased to 604 in 2016 in the Virunga Massif compared to 480 in 2010. The Virunga Massif is comprised Mikeno Sector of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Mountain gorilla numbers in the entire area had fallen as low as 242 in 1981.

RDB (Rwanda Development Board) has released its 2017 Annual Report. The report highlights that last year Rwanda recorded positive growth in investments registered in the country, export values and volumes as well as tourism earnings.

Among the key 2017 highlights are the following:

  • Rwanda registered investment commitments worth $USD 1.67 billion. This is an increase of $USD 515 million when compared to the investments registered by RDB in 2016.
  • 38,261 jobs are expected to be created from the investments registered by RDB in infrastructure, services, manufacturing, tourism, construction and real estate, agriculture, ICT and mining sectors in 2017.
  • In 2017 overall exports grew by 36% compared to 2016. In 2017 Rwanda registered revenues worth $1.94 compared to $1.43bn in 2016 from exports (excluding informal exports) with merchandise exports driving growth.
  • Revenues from tourism amounted to $438 million in 2017, constituting almost 50% of all service exports. 94,000 tourists visited Rwanda’s national parks generating $18.7 million.
  • Rwanda was ranked 2nd in Africa and 41st in the world in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index.

In their forward, the Chairman of the Board of Governor, RDB, Itzhak Fisher, and the Chief Executive Officer, RDB, Clare Akamanzi noted that;

“To deliver prosperity for all Rwandans and become an upper middle-income country by 2035, the private sector will be of paramount importance. Only a vibrant private sector will be able to sustainably create jobs and exports leading Rwanda’s transformation into a knowledge-based economy.

To deliver on its mandate, RDB has embarked on a journey to become a much more effective and customer oriented institution. Our new strategy, approved by the board in October 2017, focuses on three areas accelerating targeted export-oriented investment, fostering an attractive business environment and building an effective institution.

Overall, 2017 has been an exciting year for RDB. We have laid the foundation for meaningful change in how we operate, what we focus on and how we will serve Rwanda in the years to come”.

 

To read the entire 2017 Annual Report, please refer to the below link:

https://rdb.rw/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/RDB-Annual-Report-2017-Final.pdf

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) today launched the Visit Rwanda-Arsenal Football Club partnership during the opening fixture of Arsenal’s English Premier League season at the Emirates Stadium.

Participating at the launch was Clare Akamanzi, CEO of RDB, Yamina Karitanyi, High Commissioner for Rwanda to the United Kingdom and special guests The Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Lord Stuart Polak, Mazen Al Sawwaf, Rageh Omaar, Alby Shale and Paul Milton. UK Tour operators Amanda Bond, Taqi Moledina and Andrew Dunn were also guests along with members of the Rwandan community in the United Kingdom.
Speaking during the launch, CEO Clare Akamanzi said:

“The story of today’s Rwanda is one of vibrancy, beauty, energy, creativity and innovation. This partnership has already started to create greater global awareness of Rwanda’s culture, natural attractions, and numerous opportunities.

With the launch today of our new website, Visitrwanda.com, the world will discover why we are the second fastest growing economy in Africa and a unique tourist and convention destination on the continent”.
On 23 May 2018, RDB, through the Rwanda Convention Bureau, became Arsenal’s first official sleeve partner as part of Rwanda’s drive to become a leading global tourist destination.

The three-year deal will also see ‘Visit Rwanda’ become Arsenal’s official Tourism Partner. The ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo will feature on the left sleeve of all teams next season.

Arsenal players from the men’s and women’s teams will visit Rwanda and club coaches will host coaching camps to support the development of the game for boys and girls in the country.
‘Visit Rwanda’ will gain global exposure through branding on match day LED boards at Emirates Stadium, interview backdrops and a broad range of other marketing rights.
Rwanda’s growing tourism sector has seen the number of visitors double in the last decade. The country’s national parks are attracting a record number of tourists due to growing numbers of wildlife including black rhinos, lions, zebra, chimpanzees and the famous mountain gorillas. Rwanda is also attracting new hotels and lodges across the country, making it easier to experience unique and memorable vacations.

Rwanda is ranked the second easiest place to do business in Africa by the World Bank and has been awarded for its leadership in tourism and competitiveness by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the World Economic Forum respectively.

The 2019 Africa CEO Forum will take place in Kigali from the 25th-26 March, 2019 at the Kigali Convention Center. The Africa CEO Forum is the largest international gathering of decision-makers and financiers from the African private sector.

This was announced today during a press conference at the Rwanda Development Board.

Hosted by Rwanda for the first time, the Forum will bring together over 1,500 public-sector decision-makers, global business leaders and investors to debate how to increase the competitiveness of African businesses.

Speaking at the announcement, the Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi said that the Africa CEO Forum was an opportunity local, continental and global business to discuss how to modernize Africa’s economy.

“Africa CEO Forum is yet another opportunity for Rwanda’s private sector to meet their international counterparts to discuss business opportunities on the international level.  Furthermore, as Rwanda seeks to position itself as the preferred MICE destination in Africa, we believe that the Forum is a great opportunity for Rwanda to showcase to the world, our know-how when it comes to hosting the biggest meetings on the African continent.

We look forward to hosting the Africa CEO Forum, we are confident that it will bring great value to both local and continental businesspeople”, Clare Akamanzi concluded.

President and Founder of Africa CEO Forum, Amir Ben Yahmed, is confident that Rwanda is the right host for the 2019 Africa CEO Forum.

“This seventh edition will be held at the heart of the continent, in Rwanda, a country both Francophone and Anglophone, whose economic dynamism and development model anchored in education, innovation and performance perfectly reflect the values of the Africa CEO Forum”, Amir Ben Yahmed said.

The Africa CEO Forum is organized yearly by Jeune Afrique Media Group, publisher of Jeune Afrique and of The Africa Report.

Over the last decade, revenue from MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) has grown by 180% while the number of delegates visiting Rwanda has jumped from 15,000 in 2008 to 28,300 in 2017. In May 2018, ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) named Rwanda as the third most popular destination in Africa for accommodating international meetings and events.

RDB (Rwanda Development Board) has today donated ten modern housing units worth Rwf 36 million to families that had previously lived in the buffer zone of Nyungwe National Park.  The ceremony took place at Kitabi Sector, Nyamagabe District.

The donation of the modern units, which will house 48 occupants including children, is the first community project of the Kwita Izina 2018 campaign.

This donation will be followed by another in Ndego Sector, Kayonza District on 5, September. Residents of Karambi and Sangano villages will receive a mobile clinic, solar lighting systems and solar water pumps.

The funding for the construction of the houses comes from the Revenue Share Programme.

Initiated in 2005 by the Government of Rwanda, the Revenue Share Programme aims to guide investment in the areas surrounding the various national parks in Rwanda in order to enhance awareness of importance of conservation to communities living around national parks. Following a Cabinet decision in 2017, the funds available to support the revenue share program increased from 5% to 10% of all tourism revenues in 2018.

In her welcome address, the Chief Tourism Officer at RDB, Belise Kariza, said the programmes funded by the Revenue Share Programme are about improving people’s lives.

This project is one of a kind. It demonstrates our commitment to preserving biodiversity while contributing to improving the livelihoods of people living adjacent to our national parks and the overall development of the country”, she said.

While thanking RDB for the donation, the Guest of Honor, the Governor of the Southern Province, Marie-Rose Mureshyankwano, noted that the provision of good housing is essential for the development of the family.

Our future depends on the stability of family institutions and it is therefore important that we continue to protect the general welfare of families and especially our children”, she said.

The theme of this year’s Kwita Izina event is ‘Conservation is Life’ and the naming ceremony will take place in Kinigi, Northern Province on 7th September2018.

In addition to the launch of the Kwita Izina community projects, the ‘Conversation on Conservation’ (CoC) forum will take place alongside an exhibition focused on conservation trends and practices on the 4th and 5th September.

The Conservation Exhibition will bring together tourism and conservation partners from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania to showcase conservation efforts and avail educational materials to the general public.

The CoC will bring together global conservation leaders, providing a unique platform linking conservation with sustainable tourism by embracing all layers of the value chain.

As a result of conservation efforts such as Kwita Izina, the population of the endangered mountain gorilla has increased to 604 in 2016 in the Virunga Massif compared to 480 in 2010. The Virunga Massif is comprised Mikeno Sector of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Mountain gorilla numbers in the entire area had fallen as low as 242 in 1981.

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB), in collaboration with the Rwanda Wildlife and Conservation Association, has held a meeting to establish an inter-agency committee for combating wildlife crimes today.

The meeting, which brought together 13 institutions and agencies from across Africa that deal with poaching and illegal wildlife trade, aimed to identify ways to enhance awareness around wildlife trade laws and share lessons learnt in the efforts to combat trafficking.

The institutions are Rwanda National Police, Rwanda Revenue Authority, Ministry of Environment, Rwanda Directorate of Immigration and Emigration, the US Embassy in Rwanda, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Rwanda Environmental Management Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Ministry of Justice, Rwanda Investigation Bureau, Virunga Massive Institute, International Gorilla Conservation Program and National Public Prosecution Authority.

Opening the meeting, the Chief Tourism Officer Rwanda Development Board, Belise Kariza, noted that collaboration was essential in the fight against wildlife trafficking.

It is key to note that illegal wildlife trafficking is among the most lucrative international crimes worldwide, involving organized and dangerous international crime syndicates. The challenge that poaching and other illegal wildlife trade activities pose to the entire region therefore calls for heightened efforts in conservation.

The Government of Rwanda is at the forefront of safeguarding the diverse ecosystem in the country. RDB together with our partner institutions plan to conduct training to police and customs officers later this year in order to improve their skills in seizing illegally traded wildlife products in every exit and entry point”, Belise Kariza concluded.

Highlighting the need to prosecute wildlife related crimes in close collaboration with Interpol, the Malawian state advocate to the Minister of Justice, Tione Atate Namanja, noted the need for international cooperation.

The Government of Rwanda, represented by the Ministry of ICT and Rwanda Development Board, has today signed a partnership agreement with Andela to establish the company’s pan-African tech hub in Kigali.

Andela is an American company that specializes in training software developers.

Through the partnership with RDB, Andela will support the country’s ICT goals by supporting the development of Rwandan and other talent from across the African continent.

According to Andela co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Jeremy Johnson, Kigali was chosen as Andela’s first Pan-African hub due to its strong existing infrastructure, technological excellence and ease of access for developers across the continent.

Our partnership with the Government of Rwanda is a new model for Andela, and we are thrilled to have found a partner whose mission is so closely aligned with our own; to grow and sustain a Pan-African elite tech workforce. In Kigali, we have found a location that makes travel to-and-from other African countries seamless and also has the modern and connected infrastructure we require to collaborate with a global workforce,” he said.

In turn, Rwanda Development Board Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi, noted that Andela has an important role to play in ensuring that Rwanda’s ICT goals are met.

“We are delighted to partner with Andela to build the next generation of technology leaders who will lead innovation in Kigali and beyond.  Through partnerships, such as the one we are announcing today, we are accelerating Kigali’s growth as a global technology hub while also advancing skills development and employment opportunities for young, talented Africans”, she said.

Applications to the hub will be open to candidates from any African country looking to jumpstart a global career in software development. Andela will open applications for the first developer cohort in August 2018 and open its Kigali tech campus in December 2018.

Andela launched operations in Nigeria in 2014 to help global companies overcome the severe shortage of skilled software developers and invest in Africa’s top technical minds. Since then, the company has hired and developed more than 700 software engineers across the continent who collectively help power the technology teams of more than 150 global companies, including Viacom, Pluralsight and GitHub.

As part of its strategy to forge further partnerships as well as increased Japanese investment in Rwanda, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), alongside the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Mines Board, Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Ministry of Infrastructure, Ministry of ICT, Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, today met with a high-level Japanese delegation led by the Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Manabu Horii, in the Japan-Rwanda Ministerial Panel.

The 41-person delegation, which include representatives from, among others, MUFG Bank, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Hitachi High-Technologies Co, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, NEC Corporation, Toshiba Africa (Pty) Ltd and Fujita Corporation, arrived in Rwanda on 23, July for a three-day visit. In addition, Japanese government business agencies, such as the Japan External Trade Office (JETRO), Japan Bank for Investment Cooperation (JBIC) and Nippon Export Investment Insurance (NEXI) joined the business delegation.

Addressing the Japanese delegation in her opening remarks, the RDB Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi, thanked them for visiting the country.

“This session, with the key ministers of your choice, is intended to encourage an open conversation. We have seen an increased number of Japanese investments in the country and it is my hope that this delegation builds on this”, she concluded.

Japanese investments in Rwanda total USD $21,458 million have created 178 jobs. These investments are in agro-processing, horticulture, mining, ICT and service sectors.

In his speech, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Manabu Horii, said that Japan is looking for increased cooperation.

“We would like to increase our economic ties and bring them to the next level. Japanese companies are interested in Rwanda because of its economic growth. The Government of Japan aims to work with the Government of Rwanda to increase trade and investment between the two countries”.

The delegation will hold a business seminar and business matching in collaboration with RDB on 25, July.

President Paul Kagame and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today joined 112 Indian business leaders and their Rwandan counterparts at the India-Rwanda Business Forum. The first of its kind and organized by RDB (Rwanda Development Board) in partnership with the PHD Chamber of Commerce and FICCI- Federation of India Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Forum’s aim is to further business ties between India and Rwanda.

The Indian delegations included business leaders from the energy, ICT, manufacturing, services, automobile, real estate and construction, infrastructure, health (pharmaceuticals), food processing, transport and logistics among others.

The Business Forum, under the theme ‘Optimizing innovation for Industrial Development’, sought to examine how the synergies between industrial and innovation policy frameworks could be harnessed to enable both countries to attain economic transformation.

In his address, President Paul Kagame noted that there were a lot of untapped business opportunities and lessons to learn from India

“Rwanda is keen to learn from the renowned “Make in India” experience, as we implement our own “Made in Rwanda” policy, particularly in the manufacturing, construction and ICT sectors. There are direct flights to Mumbai by our national carrier, RwandAir, and this is already facilitating travel and business. All Indian citizens are eligible to receive a visa on arrival in Rwanda. Should there be any obstacle in the way just let us know. We are eager to get going and to maximize these opportunities for the benefit of the people of our two countries and the rapid socio-economic transformation that we both seek”, President Kagame concluded.

Speaking directly to the Indian business community, Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted that Rwanda was the gateway for the rest of Africa. This was, according to the Prime Minister, due President Kagame’s focus; namely development, prosperity of the people and peace in society

In her welcome note, the RDB Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi, noted that the visit of the Indian Prime Minister built on an already strong foundation of trade and investment in both Rwanda and India.

“There are close to 99 projects registered from India, which are worth an estimated $389 million USD. These projects have contributed to estimated 10,175 jobs ranging from telecommunications/ ICT, to agriculture, manufacturing and healthcare.

Examples include Airtel, Virunga Biotech Ltd, Marasa Holding; Accacia Property Development, Kabuye Sugar Works Sarl, Imana Steel Rwanda Ltd, Cardiac Specialty Rwanda, Rugabano Tea Company Ltd and Gisovu Tea Company Ltd”, she concluded.

Three MOU’s (Memorandum of Understanding) were signed during the Forum:

 

  1. MOU between RDB and AVAADA POWER PRIVATE LIMITED (APPL) aimed at fostering cooperation between RDB and APPL Ltd towards APPL’s investment and support in the development of solar power projects in Rwanda.
  2. MOU between RDB and FICCI: with the aim to further strengthen their relation and promote economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries.
  3. MOU between the Private Sector Federation and the PHD Chamber of Commerce to establish and develop commercial links between the business communities of both countries in general and their respective members in particular.
Rwanda Development Board (RDB) revealed the Kwita Izina activity roadmap for 2018 at a press conference at Kigali Convention and Exhibition Village.  The theme of this year’s event is ‘Conservation is Life’ and the naming ceremony will take place in Kinigi at the foothill of volcanoes, Northern Province on 7th September2018.
Kwita Izina, a uniquely Rwandan event, was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness of conservation efforts for the endangered mountain gorilla. 23 infant mountain gorillas will be named this year.
Community projects in Kitabi Sector, Nyamagabe District and Ndego Sector, Kayonza District will be launched on 27, July and 5, September respectively. In Kitabi Sector RDB has constructed ten houses for area residents who had formerly lived in the Nyungwe National Park buffer-zone. In Ndego Sector, residents of Karambi and Sangano villages will receive a mobile clinic, solar lighting systems and solar water pumps.
These community projects are part of the RDB Revenue Share Programme. This programme, initiated in 2005 by the Government of Rwanda, aims to guide investment in the areas surrounding the various national parks in Rwanda by ensuring that ten percent of all park revenues.
Over $USD 1.28 million has been distributed by the Rwanda Development Board to more than 158 community-based projects. These projects have availed clean drinking water, health centers, classrooms and housing to members of the communities living around the three national parks; Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park and Volcanoes National Park.
On the 4th and 5th September 2018, the ‘Conversation on Conservation’ (CoC) forum will take place alongside an exhibition focused on conservation trends and practices.
The Conservation Exhibition will bring together tourism and conservation partners from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania to showcase conservation efforts and avail educational materials to the general public.
The CoC will bring together global conservation leaders, providing a unique platform linking conservation with sustainable tourism by embracing all layers of the value chain.
As a result of conservation efforts such as Kwita Izina, the population of the endangered mountain gorilla has increased to 604 in 2016 in the Virunga Massif compared to 480 in 2010. The Virunga Massif is comprised Mikeno Sector of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Mountain gorilla numbers in the entire area had fallen as low as 242 in 1981.
Speaking to the gathered media, the RDB Chief Tourism Officer, Belise Kariza, said;
“The increasing number of mountain gorilla in the Volcanoes National Park is proof of the strides that we have made in gorilla conservation. This could have not happened without the support and collaboration of our conservation partners as well as the cooperation of the members of the community surrounding the park.
Initiatives such as the ‘Kwita Izina’ gorilla naming ceremony, transboundary cooperation and local community education and engagement have all played a major role in conserving gorillas.
Through the contribution of tourism and tourism revenues, we have not only been able to invest in the gorilla experience for our visitors we have also been able increase the amount of support we have given to the local communities through the revenue sharing programme”, she added.
The increase in the mountain gorilla population led the Government of Rwanda to institute a preliminary study on the possibility of expanding the Volcanoes National Park to ensure adequate habitat for the mountain gorilla.  Today the park is 16,027.8 hectares.
 “The plan is a major step in the consolidation of Rwanda’s conservation gains for the benefit of communities today and future generations. Through gorilla conservation and tourism, we are directly benefitting from these wonderful species.  Over the last nine years, revenues from mountain gorilla conservation and the resulting tourism has brought $ USD 107 million to the national coffers”, Kariza noted.
“Earlier this year RDB received a 27-hectare land donation from the African Wildlife Foundation, adding to the 160,000 hectares that had formerly comprised the park. This park expansion will ensure not only the adequate habitat of the endangered mountain gorilla but it will also improve both socio-economic opportunities for more than 18,000 people and the tourism experience in Volcanoes National Park.” Chief Tourism Officer Kariza concluded.
The liberation of Rwanda has not only brought prosperity and security to Rwanda, it has also played an essential role in the conservation of our natural resources. As a result, tourism in Rwanda has grown in leaps and bounds
 
To celebrate the 24th anniversary of the Liberation Day, RDB (Rwanda Development Board) will give 100 young Rwandans, who turn 15 years old this year, the once in a lifetime opportunity to trek the endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in December. This is part of RDB’s policy to encourage domestic tourism in Rwanda and cultivate a culture of conservation among the youth.
 
How to Participate
 
Everyone turning 15 years old this year is encouraged to visit RDB’s information and sales offices throughout the country and fill in a form that will give them the opportunity to participate in a raffle draw. 50 winners will be selected from the raffle competition.
 
The next 50 will be nominated through Twitter
 
To participate in the Twitter competition, the general public is encouraged to nominate anyone turning 15 this year by simply drafting a special message, making sure to include the nominee’s name and photo. Then add the hashtag #TemberaURwanda15 and tag @visitrwanda_now.
 
All the winners will be able to undertake the magical trek with one person of their choice.
 
The competition will close on 18th July. 
Transport to Volcanoes National park will be provided by RDB and Terms and Conditions will apply accordingly.
 
For more information please reach us on email through marketing@rdb.rw or call 0782 384 851
 
*IMPORTANT CONTACTS*
 
RDB Reservations office Kigali 252576514 
RDB Gisenyi office 0788351819- Joseph Rwema 
Cyanika Border point  0788 280 108- Marechal Shandata
Rusizi Border contact-0788246927- Moise Bwanakweli
Kagitumba border post 0781637831- Samuel Ntihinyuzwa
The Extra-Ordinary Council of Minister of the GVTC (Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration) convened yesterday in Kigali to discuss both the five-year transboundary strategic plan as well as the GVTC’s budgetary requirements. The GVTC is comprised of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
The Council of Ministers is an organ governing the Transboundary Collaboration and provided in the Treaty signed by the three countries, through which they commit themselves to the sustainable conservation of the Greater Virunga Landscape, including the Virunga Massif and Bwindi ecosystem, which are both home to the endangered mountain gorilla.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Vincent Munyeshyaka, led the high-level Rwandan delegation that included Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board.
Speaking on the opening of the meeting, Minister Munyeshyaka said;
“Our wish is to see this transboundary collaboration become an engine of regional integration.  Not only at socio-economic level but also cultural, through building a regional identity”.
This is the second Ministerial meeting that has been held since the GVTC treaty was ratified in 2015.
Hon. Kiwanda Godfrey Sssubi, Minister of State for Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities ,represented the Republic of Uganda and Mr. M. José Ilanga,who represented H.E Hon.  Dr. Amy Ambatobe Nyongolo, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, represented the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Greater Virunga Transboundary Treaty aims to enhance the protection of both flora and fauna in the region, increase peace and security and promote inclusive growth

 

RDB (Rwanda Development Board), in partnership with the Rwanda Flying Club and the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, is excited to introduce paramotoring (powered paragliding) to its adventure tourism offerings.

Paramotoring is a form of paragliding where the pilot wears a motor on his or her back (a paramotor) which provides enough thrust to take off using an adapted paraglider or paramotor wing. It can be launched in still air, and on level ground, without assistance.

Members of the Rwanda Flying Club, Alain Julot and Sebastien Houben, demonstrated paramotoring to local media at the Huye aerodrome today.

The new adventure tourism experience will be officially launched in six months and visitor will be able to enjoy paramotoring in the historic Huye town, the picturesque lakeside towns of Rubavu and Karongi and at one of the best preserved montane rainforests in Africa, Nyungwe National Park.

Commenting on the introduction of paramotoring, the Chief Tourism Officer, Rwanda Development Board, Belise Kariza said;

Rwanda is the best destination for adventurers seeking memorable, sustainable tourism experiences in Africa. We are happy to be soon introducing paramotoring, our new tourism experience. We will be the only country in East Africa offering such an experience.  Visitors will now be able to experience the vibrancy and beauty of our country in a fresh way. Visit Rwanda and discover just why our country is the new adventure tourism mecca of Africa”.

To get additional information on bookings and sites, please write to paramotoring@rdb.rw

Following the launch of mountain biking and cycle tourism, RDB (Rwanda Development Board) invites cyclists, both local and foreign, to enjoy the world class trails across the country.

Tourists can now enjoy riding on 11 different trails across the country. The trails, which are a combined distance of 760 Km and give cyclists a chance to discover Rwanda anew, are found in every province in the country. The diverse trails cater for all skill levels, whether beginners or professionals.

To give cyclist a rewarding experience, RDB has ensured the maintenance of the different cycling trails and designed and mounted clearly understood signposts along the trails to guide cyclists. In addition, RDB has trained specialised guides and bicycle mechanics to ensure that that the cycle experience is seamless as possible. Secure campsites and other accommodation options are found on the cycling trails.

The famous Congo-Nile Trail, borders the scenic Lake Kivu, now attracts over 5,000 tourists annually.

Commenting on the launch of mountain biking across the country, the Chief Tourism Officer, Rwanda Development Board, Belise Kariza said, “Rwanda is the best destination for adventurers seeking memorable, sustainable tourism experiences in Africa. We are happy to unveil mountain biking, our new tourism experience. Visitors can now experience the vibrancy and beauty of our country in a fresh way. Visit Rwanda and discover just why our country is the new cycling mecca of Africa”.

Events such as the Tour du Rwanda, Rwanda Cycling Cup and the Mountain Bike Race are positioning the country on the cyclist map. The Union Cycliste International (UCI) recently announced that Tour du Rwanda would become a 2.2 grade race in 2019; this new classification is expected to attract renowned cyclists to the country.

In order to further the growth of cycling as both a sport and a tourism experience, the Government of Rwanda has announced a 25% tax waiver on the importation of mountain and racing bicycles.

The marketing deal between Rwanda and Arsenal has generated a lot of attention since it was announced last month, most of it positive. Some observers, however, have been unable to overcome their incredulity that a small African country like ours putting real money behind the idea that we have something unique to offer. But why is it normal for Alberta and Bermuda to market themselves, but not for a place like Rwanda?

The op-ed recently published in The East African by Professor Lisa Delpy Neirotti is typical of this prejudice. A recognized expert in sports marketing, she is perfectly entitled to her opinions. But not to her own facts, and her mistakes are numerous.

First, memorial sites of the Genocide against the Tutsi are not tourist attractions. They have never been marketed as such, and never will be. These are sacred places of burial and remembrance for Rwandans. Visitors to our country who wish to better understand our history are of course very welcome to visit the memorials. But to claim, as Professor Neirotti does, that Rwanda’s only two attractions are gorillas and death, betrays profound contempt.

Second, interest in visiting Rwanda is rising, not falling, as she asserts. Rwanda’s three main national parks – Akagera, Nyungwe, and Volcanoes — saw a 6% increase in visitor numbers in 2017. It is easy to see why. Rwanda is one of the safest and most hospitable countries on the planet. It also the only place where tourists can see the “Big Five” (lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffalo), as well as the critically endangered mountain gorilla and several bird species endemic to the high-altitude rainforest in Nyungwe National Park.

Rwanda’s attractions are varied and exciting. With the launch of the Congo-Nile trail, sports and mountain biking enthusiasts from all over the world are flocking to Rwanda, and we are also home to East Africa’s only canopy walk.

Third, Rwanda’s tourism strategy is not based solely on wildlife. Conference and meetings tourism is growing fast, driven by strategic investments in RwandAir, world-class hotels, and the iconic Kigali Convention Centre, one of Africa’s largest and most modern. Citizens of any country in the world can get a visa on arrival in Rwanda.

In 2017, Rwanda earned US$42 million from this segment, this year’s earnings are projected to be US$74 million. We have hosted the World Economic Forum, and two African Union Summits. Nearly 30,000 international delegates are descending on Kigali this year to participate in more than 90 confirmed international meetings. Last month, the International Congress and Convention Association ranked Rwanda the third most popular destination in Africa for hosting international events.

Rwanda’s visitors have varied accommodation options, ranging from major international hotel chains such as Radisson Blu, Marriott, and Serena, as well as the award-winning boutique eco-lodge, Bisate Lodge, where Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi stayed on their visit last month.

Our country has come a long way. Today, Rwanda has over 10,000 hotel rooms, up from just 600 in 2001. Professor Neirotti claims there are no flights from Rwanda to the UK, but in fact RwandAir has been flying to London-Gatwick since May 2017, alongside more than two dozen other destinations, including Brussels, Dubai, Mumbai, and most major cities in East and West Africa. New routes to the United States and China are set to launch in 2019.

Arsenal is one of the most popular teams, in the most-watched league, of the world’s most popular sport. The Arsenal jersey is seen 35 million times a day. The ‘Visit Rwanda’ deal has created enormous global interest, which is exactly what we wanted. Whatever opinions they have about the deal, people are talking like never before about Rwanda as a tourism destination.

Ultimately, in Rwanda, we are going to pursue our goals the way we think best, just as every other country should. For us it is already a win.

Rwanda Development Board (RDB), has yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mitrelli Group, a multinational investor that specializes in large-scale, long-term projects.

Mitrelli Group seeks to construct up to 10,000 housing units in Rwanda, the majority of which will be affordable housing.

Signing the MOU, Haim Taib, Founder and President of Mitrelli Group, lauded RDB for its support and partnership;

This project is a very nice challenge for us. We have the knowledge, the funds, the expertise and the ability to complete this project. I believe that the two sides have the same goal. The goal being the best project for the people of Rwanda. We have come to Rwanda to stay

Signing on behalf of RDB, Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi, said;

Mitrelli Group is the kind of investor that we want in Rwanda. We are happy to work with you in providing housing for the growing housing market“.

Also signing the MOU with RDB was Mazen Al Sawwaf, the CEO and founder of Global Investment Holding Company, a Saudi Arabian holding company.

Access to affordable housing remains one of the key priorities for the Government of Rwanda and there are a number of strategic incentives to attract local and international investors in the sector.

Kigali, Rwanda, June 18, 2018 – The World Bank Group and the Rwanda Development Board today released the Investor Perceptions Survey which highlights opportunities in the Rwandan market drawing from the contributions of existing and potential investors.

The survey identifies investor perceptions of Rwanda as an investment destination with a focus on export oriented companies in eight economic sectors: Tea, Horticulture, Agro-processing, Minerals, Manufacturing, Tourism, ICT and Healthcare. The report makes specific recommendations for the Rwanda Development Board, as well as a recommendation on an analytical framework and methodology that can be replicated and implemented by the Rwanda Development Board(RDB) in the future.

The report points to the country’s stability and regulatory environment as key factors influencing the high confidence investors have expressed in establishing operations in Rwanda.  When considering locations for foreign direct investment in Africa, Rwanda was ranked 8th by international investors. A significant percentage of international investors expressed positive sentiment, stating that Rwanda presents an attractive market opportunity with good security. More than 92% of existing investors have plans to invest further in Rwanda, with 45% of them interested in expanding via a joint venture and 42% via a strategic partnership.

However, the report also draws attention to areas for potential improvements for Rwanda as an investment destination. These include, the perception of Rwanda as having a small consumer market and high costs of transport, finance, and electricity – particularly for those in manufacturing. Finally, 79% percent of investors cited the quality of labor as a further limitation for their operations.

Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board said, “Rwanda welcomes the Investor Perception Survey because it not only helps highlight what makes our country an attractive destination for investment, it also provides an important tool for the Government of Rwanda about where we should invest additional resources in order to attract further Foreign Direct Investments”.

Ignace Bacyaha, IFC Resident Representative in Rwanda said, “The World Bank Group commends Rwanda for its efforts to continue improving its investment climate, which has made Rwanda one of the leading reformers on the African continent.”

The international survey built a database of over 600 international company in the target sectors based on a range of sources that confirms company profiles as potential investors. 42% of companies were happy to be contacted by RDB to discuss FDI opportunities in Rwanda. Existing investors have good perceptions on the RDB’s performance. On a 10-point scale, 33% rate RDB’s performance at 9 or 10 (Very Good). 36% of respondents suggested that RDB focus more on aftercare services and 17% suggested that the RDB improve coordination with other GoR institutions.

About the World Bank Group.  The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and www.ifc.org.

About the Rwanda Development Board.  The Rwanda Development Board was set up by bringing together all the government agencies responsible for the entire investor experience under one roof. This includes key agencies responsible for business registration, investment promotion, environmental clearances, privatization and specialist agencies which support the priority sectors of ICT and tourism as well as SMEs and human capacity development in the private sector. For more information, please visit www.rdb.rw

The Arsenal Football Club partnership is part of Rwanda’s long-term tourism development and conservation strategy that is grounded in Vision 2050 and EDPRS II. As part of this strategy Rwanda has upgraded its conference and hospitality infrastructure, transport networks, tourist attractions and conservation policies.

Rwanda is today ranked third most popular destination in Africa for hosting international meetings and events by the ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association). Rwandair, the national carrier, now flies to 26 destinations globally.  In addition, the Akagera National Park has been restocked with lions and Black Rhinos in order to make it a Big 5 park and the Volcanoes National Park has been expanded in order to create additional habitat for the endangered mountain gorilla. Today, tourism is Rwanda’s largest foreign exchange earner and has generated over 90,000 jobs so far.

Our national goal is to double tourism receipts from USD $404million to USD $ 800million by 2024. This ambitious goal is only possible by marketing Rwanda as a tourist destination in innovative ways.  The Arsenal Football Club partnership is one of the many ways that Rwanda has chosen to position the destination into the hearts and minds of prospective visitors and as such part of our tourism receipts are ploughed back to support such marketing efforts.

Tourism has played a major role in helping the local community. One of the major tourism initiatives was the Revenue Share Program.  Initiated in 2005 by the Government of Rwanda, the Revenue Share program aims to guide investment in the areas surrounding the various national parks in Rwanda.

Over $USD 1.28 million has been distributed by the Rwanda Development Board to more than 158 community-based projects. These projects have availed clean drinking water, health centers, classrooms and housing to members of the communities living around the three national parks; Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park and Volcanoes National Park.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Sanny Ntayombya

Head of Communications and Marketing,

Rwanda Development Board

sanny.ntayombya@rdb.rw

Follow us on Twitter: @RDBrwanda

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The Rwanda Development Board, through their subsidiary, the Rwandan Convention Bureau, has become Arsenal’s first official sleeve partner as part of the country’s drive to become a leading global tourist destination.

The three-year deal will also see ‘Visit Rwanda’ become Arsenal’s official Tourism Partner. The ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo will feature on the left sleeve of all teams next season. The new kit for season 2018/19 was unveiled on Tuesday (May 22).

Rwanda is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa with a booming tourism sector that has seen the number of visitors double in the last decade. The country’s National Parks are attracting a record number of tourists due to growing numbers of wildlife including black Rhinos, lions, zebra, chimpanzees and the famous mountain gorillas. Rwanda is also attracting new hotels and lodges across the country, making it easier to experience longer, unique and memorable vacations.

Rwanda is ranked as the second easiest place to do business in Africa by the World Bank and has been awarded for its leadership in tourism and competitiveness by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the World Economic Forum respectively.

The Rwanda Development Board Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi said:  “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Arsenal and showcasing the vibrancy and beauty of our country.  Rwanda is a country pulsing with energy, creativity and innovation.

“Visit Rwanda and discover why we are the second fastest growing economy in Africa.  Investors in Rwanda are able to register their businesses in only six hours and prepare to enjoy the opportunities accrued from the free trade agreements that we’ve signed with over 50 countries.

“Renowned for our incredible and unique Mountain Gorilla tracking experience, tourist can also enjoy a variety of water sports, cycling, hiking, bird watching to list a few of the touristic attractions available while in Rwanda.”

Rwanda is ranked as the second easiest place to do business in Africa by the World Bank and has been awarded for its leadership in tourism and economic competitiveness by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the World Economic Forum respectively.

Arsenal’s Chief Commercial Officer, Vinai Venkatesham, said: “This is an exciting partnership which will see us support Rwanda’s ambition to build their tourism industry. The country has been transformed in recent years and Arsenal’s huge following will bring Rwanda into people’s minds in a new and dynamic way.

The Arsenal shirt is seen 35 million times a day globally and we are one of the most viewed teams around the world. We look forward to working with the ‘Visit Rwanda’ team to further establish the country as a leading tourist destination.”

Arsenal players from the men’s and women’s teams will visit Rwanda and club coaches will host coaching camps to support the development of the game for boys and girls in the Country.

‘Visit Rwanda’ will gain global exposure through branding on matchday LED boards at Emirates Stadium, all the interview backdrops and a broad range of other marketing rights.

Rwanda Development Board today launched the second phase of the ‘Na Yombi’ campaign in Muhanga District with the theme, ‘Say No to Bad Service’ (Amagana Serivisi Mbi in Kinyarwanda).

The objective of the Na Yombi campaign is to increase quality service provision as well as raise awareness on the rights of citizens to quality customer care.

The awareness campaign will be conducted through roadshows as well as media and community outreach in Muhanga, Huye, Rusizi, Rubavu, Musanze, Nyagatare, Kayonza, Ngoma  and Kigali.

Commenting on the campaign the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi, said: “Improved service delivery continues to be a top priority for the Government of Rwanda and through this campaign we aim to target over one million people. We believe that Na Yombi will encourage a mindset change where service delivery in concerned.”

Na Yombi was launched in March 2012 with the aim of raising general awareness on customer care to enhance competitiveness.

Rwanda, and its capital city of Kigali, have been ranked the third most popular destinations in Africa for accommodating international meetings and events by ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association. ICCA represents the world’s leading suppliers in handling, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events.

The rankings, which were released by the ICCA on 7, May, are based on the number of association meetings taking place regularly (annually, biannually), rotating between at least three different countries and with at least 50 participants.

The association meetings organized by Rwanda included several high-level conferences such as Africa Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC), Board Meeting of the Global Fund (BMGF), Annual Tourism Conference of the Africa Travel Association (ATA) and Annual General Assembly of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) among others. Rwanda is currently hosting over 1,500 delegates attending the Transform Africa Summit 2018.  

Commenting on the rankings, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Convention Bureau, Denise B Omany said;

These rankings are proof that our MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) strategy is creating value. Rwanda recorded 28,308 delegates in 2017, up from 23,804 in 2016. Tourism is the country’s largest foreign exchange earner and MICE is playing an important role in its growth, bringing in %15 of all tourism revenue. MICE tourism contributed $USD 42 million in 2017. We aim to increase it to $USD 74 million this year.

We are glad to retain the third position and we are working incredibly hard on attaining an even better position through hosting even more association meetings. With the support of the Government, as well as the private sector, Rwanda has been able to establish its self as a safe, secure MICE destination of choice due to the presence of world-class MICE venues, accommodation facilities, connectivity options and ease of service due to RCB support”.

Rwanda is a preferred MICE destination due to its simplified visa process that allows nationals of every country in the world to get a visa on arrival for all visitors in addition to its easy accessibility due to the multitude of flight options offering connectivity to Kigali and the rest of Africa though the national carrier Rwandair.

About the Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB)

Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB) is a strategic business unit of Rwanda Development Board’s Tourism and Conservation Department. Established in 2014, RCB promotes Rwanda as a premier destination and as a one-stop solution for assistance, information and neutral advice on hosting and organising MICE / business events.

Rwanda Convention Bureau is proud to be Africa’s latest International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Member.

As part of the ongoing Government of Rwanda reforms to improve the business climate in the country, three major reforms have been instituted that decrease bureaucracy in construction, ensure timely electricity provision for investors and reduces the amount of time exporters spend at customs.

Today, exporters are able to obtain certificates of origin online. In addition, exporters are able to apply for the phytosanitary certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry online. This has facilitated businesses that export tea, coffee and other agricultural produce.

In terms of electricity provision, Rwanda Energy Group (REG) has introduced a client charter, ensuring that investors are connected to the national grid in not more 20 days, down 34 days.  Today, REG customers can apply online to get connected to the national grid.

In addition, in order to simplify the purchase of the equipment needed for electricity connection such as transformers and cables, REG works with authorized suppliers to reduce the import costs of the equipment while ensuring the quality of equipment.

Alongside the introduction of RURA (Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency) guidelines governing electricity outages to industry, which place sanctions on electricity outages that last more than ten minutes, the automation of SAIDI (System Average Interruption Duration Index) and SAIFI (System Average Interruption Frequency Index) systems, will allow REG to better monitor the frequency and duration of electricity outages.

To ease the challenges in the construction sector, Rwanda has introduced various reforms to reduce bureaucracy in obtaining construction permits.

Today Rwanda utilizes a risk-based approach in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of projects. In addition, specific construction projects will be exempted from carrying out geotechnical studies before construction commences. Lastly, businesses will be no longer mandated to indicate the commencement date of construction before obtaining construction permits.

These reforms will reduce the cost and duration of construction projects in Rwanda.

Commenting on the reforms that the Government of Rwanda has instituted, the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi, said; “This year we will introduce new reforms in addition to the ones that are being announced today. These reforms will include revised insolvency laws, improved contract enforcement and credit monitoring mechanismsEase of doing business is aligned with the Government of Rwanda’s policy of transforming Rwanda into a private sector-led country. These business reforms are a significant tool in improving and promoting the business environment in the country through the shared effort of all institutions involved.We need to continue working hard to improve our business and investment climate so that Rwanda continues to enable the growth of our private sector and increase foreign direct investment”, she said.
Rwanda was ranked the second easiest place to do business in sub- Saharan Africa and the 41st globally out of the 190 economies assessed in the 2017 World Bank Doing Business report.

Last year, the World Bank Doing Business report revealed significant improvements in a number of growth indicators compared to the previous year. According to the report, Rwanda recorded its biggest improvement in the area of property registration; it is ranked second in the world.

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Sanny Ntayombya
Head of Communications and Marketing, Rwanda Development Board
sanny.ntayombya@rdb.rw
Follow us on Twitter: @RDBrwanda
Like us on Facebook: Rwanda Development Board

Rwanda Devlopment Board was yesterday awarded as the second best investment promotion agency in the East African region in attracting transformational projects at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.AIM, taking place from 9-11 April, is the world’s leading gathering of the international investment community, leading academics and experts showcasing up-to-date information, strategies and knowledge on attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Investment promotion agencies from nine regions across the world were awarded and Rwanda Development Board emerged as the best Investment promotion agency in Eastern African region after Ethiopia.

After receiving the award, the Chief Operations Officer of the Rwanda Development Board, Emmanuel Hategeka, said

The AIM2018 Investment Award is given to a country based on feedback from a major investor already operating in the country based on their experience doing business in that country. In the case of Rwanda, the major investor that nominated Rwanda was AIF (Africa Improved Foods), a Dutch investment operating in the Kigali Special Economic Zone. This award is further evidence of Rwanda’s pro-business focus”.

The reforms that the Government of Rwanda has instituted have created a conducive business climate. Over the last 15 years, Rwanda has implemented 52 pro-business reforms, the highest number of business reforms in sub- Saharan Africa. Today, the World Bank Doing Business Report 2018, positions Rwanda among the top 50 countries for doing business globally.

 

END

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Sanny Ntayombya

Head of Communications,

Rwanda Development Board

sanny.ntayombya@rdb.rw

Follow us on Twitter: @RDBrwanda

Like us on Facebook: Rwanda Development Board

RDB (Rwanda Development Board) awards ten local business leaders during the 5th edition of the RDB Business Excellence Awards.

The RDB Business Excellence Awards 2017, under the theme ’In pursuit of Business Excellence’, celebrates efforts made by both corporate and small medium sized enterprises in Rwanda. The awards are an opportunity for the local business community to come together and celebrate business development and success. Over 400 guests are expected, including members of local business community, development partners and various other stakeholders.

The ten categories that were awarded are the Investor of the Year, Emerging Investor of the Year, the Exporter of the Year, Emerging Exporter of the Year, The Innovator of the Year, The Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, The Made in Rwanda Enterprise of the Year, The Manufacturer of the Year and the Service Provider of the year. Over 100 companies applied for the RDB Business Excellence Awards 2017.

Commenting on the role of the private sector in Rwanda’s development agenda and how the RDB Excellence Awards tie into RDB’s mission of fast tracking investment in Rwanda, RDB Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi, said:

’We recognise the role the private sector plays in spearheading Rwanda’s economy and that is why we are celebrating the business community this way. As RDB our main mission is to successfully make Rwanda the investment destination of choice in the region.  Today, Rwanda is ranked by the World Bank Doing Business Report as one of the top 50 countries in the world in terms of ease of doing business. In addition, Rwanda is ranked as the second most competitive economy in sub-Saharan Africa by the World Economic Forum. These rankings are proof that Rwanda is making progress towards its goal of becoming the premier destination for investment in our region.

The 5th Edition of the RDB Business Excellence Awards was broadcast live on Rwanda Television. Below are the winners of 5th Edition of the RDB Business Excellence Awards:

Investor of the Year: Africa Improved Foods

Emerging Investor of the Year: C&H Garments

Exporter of the Year: Rwanda Mountain Tea

Emerging Exporter of the Year: Norelga Macadamia

Woman Entrepreneur of the Year: Pharmalab

Made in Rwanda enterprise of the year: Uzuri K&Y

Innovator of the Year: Ignite Power

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Sanit Wing

Service provider of the Year: I&M bank

Manufacturer of the Year: Bakheresa

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Sanny Ntayombya

Head of Communications and Marketing,

Rwanda Development Board

sanny.ntayombya@rdb.rw

Follow us on Twitter: @RDBrwanda

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The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in 2017 registered investments in Rwanda worth $USD 1.675 billion. This is an increase of $USD 515 million when compared to the investments registered by RDB in 2016.

USD $1.160 billion worth of investments were registered in 2016.

The three sectors that attracted the most investments were construction and real estate, mining and lastly, infrastructure. They registered investments of USD$ 637,659,692, USD$ 267,344,495 and USD$202,660,135 or 38%, 16% and 12% of the total investments registered by RDB respectively.

The largest individual investments registered last year were Bugesera Airport Company Ltd ($USD 398.68 million), Ignite Power Rwanda Ltd ($USD 113.84 million), Gasabo Investment Company ($USD 89.02 million), African Panther Resources Ltd ($USD 54.02 million), Kigali View Hotel and Apartment Ltd ($USD 53.2 million).

The five registered investments are valued at USD$708.76 million in total.

In terms of the origins of the investments Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) dominated, with investments worth USD$ 1.041billion or 62.26% of all investments registered by foreign investors. This was followed by local investments registered worth USD$ 470.98 million or 28.15% of all investments registered. Joint ventures (local and foreign investors) worth USD$ 160.47 million were registered; they were worth 9.59% of all total investments registered by RDB.

In comparison, in 2016, foreign investments worth USD$ 650.4 million, local investments worth USD$ 479.

5million and joint ventures investments worth USD$ 160.47 million were registered by RDB respectively. Commenting on the investments registered in 2017, RDB Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi said:

In the last 10 years, registered investments in Rwanda have jumped from $USD 800million in 2007 to

$USD 1.675 billion in 2017. This is an increase of more than 100% in only a decade. This is evidence that Rwanda is being seen more and more as great place to do business”.

Rwanda’s ambition is to create 150,000 off-farm jobs a year. I am confident that these investments registered will have an immediate impact on the employment prospects of young Rwandans. Last year,

38,261 jobs to be created were registered by RDB in the infrastructure, services, manufacturing, tourism, construction and real estate, agriculture, ICT and mining sectors. This is an increase of 184% increase from

2016 where 13,477 jobs to be created were registered in the eight sectors. The increased investments

registered by RDB are a direct result of the initiatives that the Government of Rwanda, through RDB, have put in place”.

In terms of investor facilitation RDB operates a One Stop Centre for investors, which provides information and services to guide investors through the key steps of starting a business such as registration, licenses, immigration, land, utilities, environmental clearances and tax and mortgage registration services.

In addition, in terms of Aftercare Services, RDB offers assistance in ensuring that business projects are implemented  free  of  avoidable  impediments.  RDB  helps  investors  to  sort out  simple  and  complex challenges they encounter along the way and provides any guidance required. In addition, RDB has also introduced investor engagement platforms such as the’ Investor Open Day’ every Friday as well as ‘CEO Forum’ four times a year where RDB senior management meets and engages with business leaders.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Sanny Ntayombya
Head of Communications and Marketing, Rwanda Development Board

sanny.ntayombya@rdb.rw

Follow us on Twitter: @RDBrwanda

Like us on Facebook: Rwanda Development Board

Rwanda continues to position itself as a business friendly country, and in 2018 RDB will host the 5th edition of the Rwanda Business Excellence Awards to acknowledge, congratulate and celebrate efforts made by domestic companies in promoting a sustainable & prosperous Rwanda.

Through these awards, we aim to encourage competitiveness among Rwanda’s private sector enterprises and promote an innovative business culture in the country.

Our awards will reflect the key cross-cutting economic sectors in Rwanda and recognize businesses that will be able to demonstrate their contribution in diversifying the economy.

Both local and foreign companies invested in Rwanda will have the opportunity to contest for awards in all categories, and this time around the awards shall not only focus on corporate companies but also SMEs to encourage business development.

We have initiated an online platform for contestants to sign up and get a chance to win awards in different categories https://rdb.rw/business-excellence-awards/

Business owners are therefore requested to submit their company details before 10th December 2017.

After the submission date, a team of skilled judges will review all applications impartially and decide on the winners.

The selection criteria will be based on the following categories:

Investor of the Year will look at

§  Value of the investment projects during the period(s)

§  Creation of quality jobs to Rwandan nationals

§  Potential to create forward and backward linkages.

§  Impact to investment to the development of Rwanda both economically & socially

§  Commitment to giving back to society (e.g. through Corporate Social Responsibility).

§  Growing the value chain in Rwanda (e.g. use of local suppliers rather than reliance on imports).

Exporter of the Year will look at:

§  Value addition: Exporters that have undertaken any action to raise the value of their products or businesses or something they added to a product that enables to increase their profit margin.

§  Export value: Export revenues generated during a specific period (quarterly or annually).

§  Promotion of local content (e.g. sourced products locally).

§  Cooperation with other businesses in the creation of export trading companies/or introduction of unique trading relationships. (e.g. participation in international trade fairs, membership in export consortiums).

§  Products & market diversification: Number of products exported and their destinations.

Special category:

Innovator of the year will look at:

The nominee will demonstrate noticeable achievements in one or all the following;

§  New products (goods or services) introduced into the local and/or international market;

§  Employee growth

§  Investment technology (e.g. value of investment going into research and development).

§  The nominee will show strong community involvement using innovative ideas.

§  Commitment to sustainability (e.g. use of recycled materials, use of ec0-friendly energy sources etc.).

 

Woman Entrepreneur of the Year will look at:

 

§  The nominee should be a founding member or co-founding CEO.

§  Evidence of success as measured by sales and profits

§  Demonstrate ambition, energy, creativity, entrepreneurial purpose and passion.

§  Increased market range and base.

§  Voluntary efforts to strengthen the role of women business owners within the community through mentorship programs (e.g. founding associations for women in similar businesses).

§  Other accomplishments demonstrating effectiveness in improving the environment for the creation and expansion of business.

Young Entrepreneur of the year (below 35 years of age) will look at:

§  Evidence of success as measured by sales and profits

§  Increased employment opportunities created by the nominees business

§  Development and/or utilization of innovative or creative business methods

§  Demonstrated entrepreneurial potential necessary for long-term business success and economic growth.

Made in Rwanda will look at:

§  Evidence of value addition in locally made products (e.g. sale of processed products rather than raw materials).

§  Demonstrated initiative to promote made in Rwanda products and campaigns

§  Participated in Made in Rwanda exhibitions/expos

§  Recognition by Industry peers (e.g. awards and accolades)

§  Other accomplishments demonstrating effectiveness in promoting the local brands both nationally and internationally.

Sectoral Winners:

Consumer & Industrial products will look at:

§  Evidence that the nominee is involved in consumer and industrial business, which can be under general, manufacturing, agro processing.

§  Evidence of success as measured by sales and profits

§  Company profitability

§  Provided employment opportunities to Rwandan nationals

§  Trend to promote employment of women in the work place.

§  Invested in learning development of the employed personnel

§  Promoted the use of local suppliers in their value chain.

§  Participated in the community development services e.g. Corporate Social responsibility.

Services will look at:

§  Evidence that the nominee is involved in service business, which can be under financial services, tourism, ICT, consultancy, real estate, transport, admintrative & support services, mining.

§  Evidence of success as measured by sales and profits

§  Provided employment opportunities to local residents

§  Recognition by Industry peers (e.g. awards and accolades)

§  Innovative solutions for the economy  (local  & international).

Participated in the community development through corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1.      How are the awards judged & how have you ensured the voting process is legitimate?

People will submit their application online, after which data will be analysed by an independent consultant to verify the data and whether it conforms to the criteria.

2.      Will there be a charge?

There is absolutely no charge to participate. 

3.      When is the deadline for entry?

10th December 2017

4.      Can businesses enter in more than one category?

Yes, companies can apply for as long as they comply with category requirements

5.      How will winning an award help a business/ company?

  • The profile of the company will be raised
  • Increase credibility & market attraction.
  • Employee motivation
  • Attract talent

6.    How come the awards haven’t happened for the last 3 years?

The concept we previously had was of a far more bigger scale, so now we’ve finally narrowed it down so that we can ensure that we approach this award ceremony with precision so that we recognize and accredit companies in the outlined categories.

 

The Rwanda Development Board today receives a 27.8-hectare property from AWF (African Wildlife Fund) to be incorporated in the Volcanoes National Park in a handover ceremony in Kinigi, Northern Province. This property adds to the 16,000 hectares that had formerly comprised the national park.

Home of the critically endangered Mountain Gorilla, the Volcanoes National Park has decreased by 54% since its establishment in 1925. Due to conservation efforts by the Government of Rwanda, as well as its conservation partners, mountain gorilla numbers are recovering. The population has increased from a low of 285 in 1978 to 480 in 2010. Between 2003 and 2010, gorilla numbers have increased by 26.3%. This represents an annual growth rate of 3.7%. The increase in the mountain gorilla population has led to a major challenge, adequate habitat.

Recognizing the need for additional land, the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi, expressed her appreciation to African Wildlife Foundation for the land donation.

“Today’s donation to the Volcanoes National Park is a major step in the consolidation of Rwanda’s conservation gains for the benefit of communities today and future generations. Through gorilla conservation and tourism, we are directly benefitting from these wonderful animals.  Over the last nine years, revenues from mountain gorilla conservation and the resulting tourism has brought $ USD 107 million to the national coffers.

Last year over Frw 531,466, 921 was distributed by RDB to more than 158 community-based projects through the revenue sharing program. This support will increase this year following the Government’s decision in 2017, to increase the revenue sharing program from 5% to 10% of all tourism revenues.

In addition, in partnership with fellow conservationists, over 700 community-based projects providing housing, schools, health clinics, water tanks have been provided for the communities living in the twelve sectors and four districts surrounding Volcanoes National Park”, she said.

Since 2006, over 298,000 tourists have visited the Volcanoes National Park.  An average number of 29,000 tourists have visited the Park between 2011-2016.

AWF President Kaddu Sebunya said Rwanda had distinguished itself as a leader in conservation following the most remarkable great ape recovery.

“I am excited by the great strides Rwanda is taking to develop its natural heritage sustainably and guarantee long-term socio-economic stability for its people. Through proactive government policies, community involvement and open governance, Rwanda is demonstrating that development and conservation are not mutually exclusive. Such a win-win approach to conservation suggests that there is nothing inevitable about conservation challenges in Africa today,” Kaddu said.

He said Rwanda and RDB had provided a template for sustainable development.

“With support from the Annenburg Foundation, AWF bought 27.8 hectares of land directly adjacent to the Park to donate to the Government of Rwanda to be incorporated into the Volcanoes National Park. AWF recognizes that if mountain gorillas are going to survive in the long-term, this park must be strategically protected and we are committed to supporting RDB in this endeavour,” he said.

END

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Sanny Ntayombya

Head of Communications,

Rwanda Development Board

sanny.ntayombya@rdb.rw

Follow us on Twitter: @RDBrwanda

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With the support of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Cooper Pharma, a leading African pharmaceutical, has today launched the construction works of a $USD 6 million pharmaceutical plant at the Kigali Special Economic Zone.

RDB helped the Morocco-based firm to understand the internal market structure together with regional one which will impact the firm business and people in the region. The Board helped as well to secure two hectares at the Kigali Special Economic Zone as a site for their factory and facilitation in fastpacking the process of initial work of establishing the plant. The factory, expected to be completed in 2019, will produce beta-lactam antibiotics in the short term and then expand to non-beta lactam antibiotics depending on local and regional market demand.

In her remarks, the Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi, said:

“This groundbreaking event is in perfect coherence with the Government of Rwanda’s policies, which aim to encourage local production and the promotion of foreign direct investments.

In the 2015/2016 Financial Year, we spent Frw 74.2 billion to import drugs. We believe that the Cooper Pharma plant will help reduce the amount of foreign exchange we use to import drugs while at the same time creating more job opportunities for the youth in the country. In just Phase 1, about 40 well-paying jobs for local pharmaceutical professionals will be created. Employment opportunities will increase further down the line.

In addition, we strongly believe this new development will reinforce the country’s position as a medical export hub in the region.

The private sector is important to Rwanda’s economic development and in enhancing productivity. In view of this the Government of Rwanda continues to place significant importance in engaging with investors to attract innovation, development and long-term growth in the country”, she concluded.

In his address, the Chief Executive Officer of Cooper Pharma Mr. Ayman Cheikh Lahlou, said:

“We are pleased to be part of this landmark initiative in which the Rwandan government played a big role. Rwanda is the second best place to do business in Africa and has a very conducive business environment, most importantly it provides a strategic position in the regional market”

The ground-breaking ceremony follows the visit of His Majesty King Mohammed VI and his delegation to Rwanda in October 2016, where total of 23 bilateral agreements were signed with the Government of Rwanda.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Maurice TWAHIRWA

Events Coordination Specialist

Maurice.twairwa@rdb.rw

Follow us on Twitter: @RDBrwanda

Like us on Facebook: Rwanda Development Board

Today marked the second successful road show under the the investor dialogue campaign by Rwanda Development Board in deepening domestic investments in the country.  Over 250 local investors from Eastern Province came together in Gatsibo District to engage with the public sector on the investment potential in Rwanda.

The Chief Operating Officer at Rwanda Development Board Mr. Emmanuel Hategeka during his key note speech commented, “This forum provides a great opportunity to share more about the investment services offered by the Government of Rwanda in promoting a conducive business environment, and it is also a chance to thank local investors for their contribution towards national development even as we explore new opportunities.”

The Chief Operating Officer also highlighted that Rwanda Development Board has registered 2000 businesses from Northern Province in the past three years in all the cross cutting economic sectors, and he encouraged local investors to consider strategic reinvestments in the region.

Ms. Winifed Ngangure the Head of Investment Promotion at Rwanda Development Board during her presentation focussed on the fiscal & non-fiscal incentives by the Government of Rwanda in order  to boost the industrial and service sectors.  She encourages the private sector to also consider customer care and quality service provision as an important element in generating a higher return of investments in their businesses.

The Investor Dialogue campaign that is expected to run until January through town hall sessions in all the four provinces is in partnership with the Private Sector Federation, District officials and other Government stakeholders.

The  Vice Chairman PSF in Eastern Province Mr. Charles Gasana  expounded on  the investment oppurtunies in the area and emphasised on establishment of universities & professional training facilities, healthcare services , agriculture & tourism sectors amongst several others.

Rwanda is currently the 2nd easiest place to do business in Africa according to the World Bank Report and the campaign continues to encourage local investors to take advantage of the conducive business environment and  proper services already in place to accelerate business growth.

The campaign also encourages open dialog between the public and private sector nationwide in a bid to promote sustainable investments in the country by  sensitizing business owners about policies & opportunities in Rwanda’s investment sector and strengthening awareness about business registration and aftercare services by RDB.

The Executive Secretary in Eastern Province Mr. Habimana Kizito in addressing local investor queries at the forum said that, “We anticipate that this initiative by RDB will enable our private sector to increase productivity countrywide. Eastern province especially has all it takes to be one of the major investment hubs in the country, therefore as the Government of Rwanda through RDB continues to support the private sector  it’s up to our investors to take advantage of this opportunities and invest in businesses that will continue to improve the livelihoods of Rwandans and transform the country into a middle income economy.”

Plans by Rwanda Development Board in partnership with other Government stakeholders are underway for the next visit to Western Province on 7th December for an even more engaging day with the private sector in the region, including field visits to 2-3 companies.

RDB’s Investor Dialogue campaign enhances public & private sector partnerships in Northern Province

Musanze, Northern Province, November 9, 2017 – was a successful day for public and private sector officials in Northern Province as Rwanda Development Board initiated the outreach campaign to enhance a domestic private sector led economy.

Top of the discussions were presentations by RDB and PSF officials about the existing business opportunities in the country, the fiscal and non- fiscal incentives provided by the Government of Rwanda in promoting an enabling business environment. This was later followed by an interactive Q&A session where a number of questions and challenges were addressed and a few others were taken into consideration.

Rwanda is now ranked as the 41st easiest place to do business globally, 2nd easiest in Africa and the 1st in East Africa according to the World Bank Doing Business report, and business stakeholders in Northern Province were therefore encouraged to also take advantage of the favorable business environment in the country in order to expedite growth in all the key economic sectors.

Speaking at the forum, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Development Board, Hon. Clare Akamanzi thanked the investors from Northern Province for their contribution to the overall national economic growth by having registered 1500 companies at RDB within the last three years and a total of 211 million of investment in tourism, manufacturing and agriculture

“Through this campaign initiative we plan to interact with business leaders and investors across the country in order to attract substantial domestic investment flows that will help the country be one of the most competitive economies not only in Africa but the entire globe

In his opening remarks, the Governor of Northern Province, Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi expressed his gratitude to Rwanda Development Board for this initiative that will benefit many business owners, and pledged to fully support investors within the region in promoting and improving the investment environment in all the key economic sectors. Besides this, he stressed the importance of empowering youth as they form the backbone of future investments in the country.

“Our province has plenty of investment opportunities in all key economic sectors, mainly in tourism. We are also planning on engaging and equipping youth with entrepreneurial skills to make sure that our investment climate is sustainable.”

The RDB Aftercare program that seeks to enhance investor feedback is among the services that investors within the Northern Province were encouraged to resort for support during the implementation processes. The Investor Open Day that takes place every Friday at RDB headquarters is also part of this docket and all business owners were urged to attend frequently.

“We would like to support more domestic investments in the country because this is an important drive in creating more jobs and fostering a dynamic and vibrant private sector that plays a critical role in achieving Vision 2020’s goal of transforming Rwanda into a middle income country.” Ms. Clare Akamanzi added.

This campaign will continue in all the  4 provinces that make up Rwanda, as follows; November 23rd, 2017 in Eastern Province, 7th December in Western Province  and in January 2018 in Southern Province. The awareness campaign also targets registered investors in Districts, cooperative societies, small & medium enterprises, district opinion leaders, business development centers like BDF, among others.

Kigali – Rwanda, October 31, 2017 – Rwanda is ranked the 2nd easiest place to do business in sub- Saharan Africa after Mauritius, the 1st in the East African region and the 41st globally out of the 190 economies assessed in this year’s World Bank Doing Business report.

The 15th edition of the World Bank Doing Business report that was released today showed that the country has made significant improvements in a number of growth indicators compared to the pervious year. Rwanda is now among the top 50 charts with a commendable distance to frontier (DTF) of 73.01 out of 100.

According to the report, Rwanda recorded its biggest step in the area of property registration where it is now ranked the second in the World, as it takes only 7 days to transfer property at a cost of only 0.1% of the property value. Rwanda has also earned a good ranking in the area of getting credit as the country scored the 6th position globally.

According to the Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Development Board, Ms. Clare Akamanzi, ease of doing business is aligned with the Government Rwanda’s policy of transforming Rwanda into a middle income country by 2020 and these business reforms are a significant tool in improving and promoting the business environment in the country through the shared effort of all institutions involved.

We need to continue working harder to improve our business and investment climate so that Rwanda continues to register remarkable progress in the World Bank Doing Business rankings. In this regard public private partnerships remain a priority in promoting a private sector led economy in order to achieve all the set targets that will maintain Rwanda’s competitive position globally.”

As the chief guest during the release of the report at World Bank Rwanda headquarters, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Vincent Munyeshyaka expressed his gratitude for the estimable ranking and improvements in this year’s World Bank Doing Business report.

First and foremost, we are very much pleased with our county’s performance in the World Bank Doing Business report 2018 as this report is an important tool in improving investor attraction in the country. The Government of Rwanda encourages all stakeholders to maintain momentum in promoting Rwanda as an investment destination. I also take this opportunity to invite the World Bank Group to Rwanda so that we can discuss the next action plan.” Hon. Munyeshyaka added.

Rwanda has implemented the highest number of reforms in sub- Saharan Africa in the past 15 years totaling 52, followed by Kenya (32) and Mauritius (31), which gives the country the a manner of consistency that needs to be applauded as Yasser El-Gammal, the World Bank Rwanda Director said during the launch of World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2018. “I congratulate Rwanda for the encouraging results and for maintaining consistency in improving the doing business environment every year.

Kigali, October 25, 2017 – The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) officially announced the introduction of the tourism-operating license to support the regulation of tourism entities while at the same time grant grades to hotels that have already filled all the required procedures.
During the ceremony 67 tourism entities including 50 hotels, 8 tour operators and 9 tour guides were awarded with a tourism operating license, a tool that will now be used by consumers and policy makers to define quality standards of facilities and services.

The law regulating the tourism industry in Rwanda officially came into force on 28th July 2014, while the Ministerial order regulating tourism operating licenses and the grading of tourism entities came into effect on 3 October 2016.

In this regard the tourism operating license regulatory system is anticipated to improve quality of service, build the capacity of the private sector and improve the marketing efforts of stakeholders in the industry in favourably positioning the destination.

Hon. Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Development Board during the occasion said that, “We are convinced that this new development will warrant a more vibrant industry, enhance stakeholder competitiveness and widespread success. The tourism operating licenses will also enhance transparency, accountability and proper standardization of the industry, maintaining the country’s front row position as a desirable tourism destination.”
Rwanda’s current ranking as the leading tourist destination in Africa as awarded by the World Travel Awards calls for actions such as this in order to maintain this providential position.
All tourism entities in the country, including accommodation establishments, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, tour operators, travel agencies, tour guides, tourism information offices, cultural tourism entities (cultural villages, private museums), and any other entity as determined by Order of the Minister are required to obtain an operating license.

This will also enhance Rwanda’s product positioning in line with the East African Tourism Marketing Platform as both the law and the ministerial orders were developed in accordance with East African Community (EAC) standards and were subject to technical review.

The application process leverages on technology to enhance efficiency and tourism entities are now expected to submit an online license application, upload a series of supporting documents on the tourism regulation website www.tourismregulation.rw and pay an application fee of 80,000 RWF. After the above steps have been achieved the entities are entitled to physical inspection where they must demonstrate that they have fulfilled all license requirements before being awarded a certificate.

Rwanda’s tourism industry has grown rapidly in the past few years, as the number of hotel rooms and tour operators have grown from 680 hotel rooms and 5 tour companies in 2003 to about 10,000 rooms and 63 tour companies currently registered with Rwanda Tours and Travel Association(RTTA).

Mrs. Belise Kariza, the Chief Tourism Officer at Rwanda Development Board while talking about the significance of this process said that, “Through this law, industry leaders anticipate to support stakeholders by ensuring that they maintain high quality standards, consistently improve quality of service and enhance efforts in training private sector stakeholders.”

Kigali, October 19, 2017 – In the continuous effort of the Government of Rwanda to increase the use of renewable energy in the country, the Energy Private Developers (EPD) organised and hosted the Renewable Energy for Sustainable Growth Matchmaking Conference and Exhibition in conjunction with Rwanda Development Board (RDB), ERF and The Renewable Energy Cooperation Program (RECP) today.

The event serves as a platform for key energy players to share ideas on how to increase off grid connectivity across the country and achieve 100% universal access to electricity by 2024.

Delivering her remarks, the Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Development Board and Member of Cabinet, Hon. Clare Akamanzi stressed the importance of the forum in promoting renewable energy in Rwanda through the contribution of the private sector. Indeed, she reminded the attendees that there are some incentives in place to facilitate investors within the energy sector.

This forum is crucial in attracting more investments in order to increase accessibility, affordability and availability of electricity in Rwanda as per our Government’s seven year program.  So far RDB has signed 40 Public Private Agreements within the energy sector, proving our country’s business friendly environment in providing affordable frameworks for investors.”

As the Guest of Honor, Rwanda’s Minister of infrastructure, Hon. James Musoni said that the Government is committed to working closely with the private sector in increasing off grid connectivity in remote areas of the country and scale up the current demand.

It is important for us as the Government of Rwanda to make sure that energy is granted for all. We are currently focused on promoting off grid power connections in the country for the simple reason that it is more affordable and sustainable, this is why we also encourage more innovative economic models as we are more than ready to facilitate private sector developers in Rwanda

This two day forum that has attracted more than 200 participants including international, regional as well as local energy players to discuss renewable energy for sustainable growth.

Dr. Ivan Twagirashema the Chairman Energy Private Developers talked about Rwanda’s current national strategies and the need for more private sector innovations in the country. He added that, “There are two main objectives for this forum, one, to promote inward investments and two discuss challenges in the industry and address them with a clear road map.”

Dr. Ivan went on to add that, “Thanks to the business friendly environment in Rwanda, public and private sector leaders are able to engage in dialogue and solve issues intertwined within the energy sector and ensure that products & services are more affordable to consumers.

Power generation in Rwanda stands at 210.9 MW installed capacity. Hydro power accounts 48%, thermal 32%, PV 5.7% and methane to power 14.3%. As per Rwanda Energy Group Report in August 2017, Rwanda has achieved 40.5% access rate, of which on grid access represents 29.5% while off grid represents 11%.

Rwanda looks forward to achieving universal access of electricity (100%) by 2024, with on grid connections representing 52% and off grid 48%.

For more information please send an email to maurice.twahirwa@rdb.rw

Kigali, October 13, 2017 – In the spirit of creating a better business environment for public and private sector stakeholders within the tourism industry, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in partnership with Private Sector Federation hosted the 2nd CEO’s forum that brought together key tourism industry players including bankers, hoteliers and industry leaders.

This premier business-to-business event was organized in light of increasing awareness of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for investors within the industry, promoting a better understanding and relationship between investors and financial institutions as well as discussing other sector specific issues within the sector that will ensure continuous sustainable growth.

The forum came a few weeks after the celebration of the World Tourism Day 2017 under the theme: “SUSTAINABLE TOURISM – A TOOL FOR DEVELOPMENT” and it is in perfect alignment with the Government of Rwanda’s 7 year program that aims to double the annual tourism revenue, from USD 400 million as per 2016 figures to USD 800 million by 2024. This will result in bigger contribution of the sector to the country’ economic growth and continue the industry’s fast paced development.

Speaking at the forum, the Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Development Board, Hon. Clare Akamanzi stressed the importance of the event in promoting public – private dialogue and providing a unique platform for potential tourism players to share their experiences and ideas.

This is an excellent opportunity for us to hear from the key players within the tourism sector. We are committed to working constructively with tourism-based investors and ensuring a sustainable favorable business environment. In this forum I would like to therefore encourage you to openly discuss some of the challenges you are currently facing as we also discuss how best we can address them.

I would like to assure all of you accountability in following up on the issues raised because only by doing so shall we also find ways of increasing revenue within the industry together. Currently tourism plays a very significant role in the country’s economic growth and it is considered the number one foreign exchange earner in the country.” Added Hon. Akamanzi

One of the contenting issues discussed at the forum was on interest rates in micro financing, and the deputy Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa during the plenary session said “As a regulator, BNR is currently in discussion with all banks operating in Rwanda to regulate interest rates in addition to some policies that are already in place aimed at justifying the criteria while calculating interest rates.

On the behalf of Rwanda Revenue Authority, the Commissioner General, Richard Tusabe pledged good collaboration with investors within the tourism sector and urged them to work as a team in addressing all challenges.

All members of the Private Sector Federation are welcome to discuss with us any challenges they have in regards to tax.  Tourism remains at the backbone of our country’s development and therefore we are ready to help grow your businesses.”

Tourism in Rwanda is among the fastest growing sectors and contributes massively to the national economic growth, embedded on the increasingly enhanced public-private partnership. Statistics show that the tourism industry’s annual revenue has doubled from USD 200 million in 2010 to USD 400 million in 2016.  The Government of Rwanda has revealed plans to increase revenue within the next couple of years by allocating more funds towards the development of infrastructure, including the implementation of Kivu Belt Tourism Master Plan and continuously marketing the country abroad with the aim of making it a high-end destination and MICE tourism hub.  

Kigali, 11 October 2017: The Rwanda Social Security Board signed a Hotel Management and Marketing Agreement with one of the African leading hotel management and marketing firms, Mantis Collection, headquartered in Queen Elizabeth Park, South Africa.

The purpose of the 10 years management and marketing agreement is to boost revenue performance of the facility while attracting and retaining global clientele. The Mantis has a highly demonstrated capacity and systems for management and marketing of such facilities. The Akagera Game Lodge itself, located in one of the Rwandan most attractive and strategic tourist sites, Akagera National Park, provides high potential for profits and would highly contribute to tourism development and leisure in Rwanda.

The RSSB is the sole proprietor of the Akagera Game Lodge, being a limited liability company that has 100% shares and operates the beautiful Akagera Game lodge. Outsourcing Mantis shall help to mainstream the lodge into its African collection of hotels and lodges managed and marketed globally. At the moment, this is the only accommodation facility inside the Akagera National Park boundaries, except a couple of tented safari camps.

The game lodge is less of a traditional safari-lodge but more of a hotel. The Lodge is located on the shores of Lake Ihema hence offering beautiful view of the Lake.  It is not a seasonal accommodation facility; it opens all year round and offers a total of 64 rooms.  It also offers a splendid relaxed atmosphere that is ideal for a quite gateway, a conference, as well as an uninterrupted wildlife encounter. It has a variety of rooms ranging from Singles, Doubles and Twin rooms. There are also Family plus Executive suites, as well as luxury in cottages. Each of rooms has its private veranda that offers breathtaking views over Lake Ihema. Guests can enjoy the beautiful sights of the sun setting over the distant horizon, in the comfort of their rooms.

Akagera Game Lodge rooms are beautifully decorated with an African style touch and each room has beds, satellite TV, a desk and chair. The interior décor of each of the rooms has been carefully done and follows an African theme with nice lighting.

The paths to the rooms are well lit consequently enabling the guests to easily walk to their rooms at night.

A highly qualified and skilled firm is now sourced to manage and market this attractive facility and for the next 10 years the investor(RSSB) shall remain assured of commensurate returns.

Rwanda Development Board reiterates its commitment to catalyse tourism development in Rwanda. The success in this deal will add to the existing strategy into the Rwandan travel, tourism and hospitality value chain.

We are glad to embark together with Mantis Group in this ambitious and strategic plan for Akagera Game Lodge, an important step in demonstrating the Government of Rwanda’s expansion plan within the tourism industry and it’s potential to grow even further in the near future. It is also very substantive that Mantis Group’s principles are aligned with Rwanda’s development objectives in the industry” Ms. Belise Kariza Chief Tourism Officer Rwanda Development Board.

Against this background the road to further growth of tourism has been paved. Rwanda tourism development is on a steady growth path.

For more information please send an email to maurice.twahirwa@rdb.rw

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