20 leaders of major Indian companies met with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) officials yesterday to discuss available investment opportunities in the country, with special emphasis on the Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
They were part of the business delegation that accompanied Preneet Kaur, the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, who is in the country on an official visit.
The government wants to create a fully functioning Special Economic Zone by 2015, where traders within that location can enjoy economic policies and laws that are more free-market-oriented than the typical national laws that govern trade.
SEZ is based in Gasabo District and several national and international corporations have already set up shop in the area.
With the first phase of the Nyandungu-based SEZ set to be operational this year, as announced early this year by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, foreign investors have shown significant interest with 100 hectares of land already reportedly booked.
“A non-refundable booking fee of US$10,000 is required; a square metre of the land goes for Rwf 20,000, and an investor is required to pay at least 30 percent of the total amount before they can begin construction,” Zephania Niyonkuru, a Strategy Expert at RDB explained, in response to queries from the Indian entrepreneurs.
The leader of the mission, Jagtar Singh, who is also the Senior Vice President of Airtel Business Solutions-Africa, said that Rwanda’s rate of infrastructural growth and efficient registration methods provide sufficient evidence to prospective investors.
“I have travelled throughout Africa, but the opportunities in Rwanda are immense and more attractive; we have come as a group today but each represents a different company. With what we have seen so far, I am more than certain that we shall approach RDB as individuals concerning real investment,” Singh disclosed in an interview with The New Times.
Airtel, the world’s fifth largest telecoms company, became Rwanda’s third mobile operator after MTN Rwanda and TIGO when it was awarded an operating license in September last year to operate mobile telephone services.
Head of Investment Promotion at RDB, Vivian Kayitesi, told the Indian delegation that infrastructural projects were being fast-tracked to reduce economic challenges the country faces due to its land-locked status.
“Foreign direct investment in Rwanda is made uncomplicated by many factors, including the zero tolerance to corruption, political stability and the easiness to register business companies,” Kayitesi noted.
“We are putting in place infrastructure to reduce the heftiness associated with the cost of doing business; together with enormous efforts from both the public and private sector, the sustainability of Rwanda’s economic growth is ensured.”
Some of the Indian companies that were represented include Jain irrigation Systems, which is already operating irrigation systems in Nyagatare District, Eastern Province, Angelique International, Fedders Lloyd Corporation and Lucky Exports.
Source: All Africa.Com – 16 Feb 2012