Rwanda today bears very little resemblance to the country that emerged from the genocide 12 years ago, and it deserves a new look by investors. Rwanda has made remarkable socio-political progress and implemented wide-ranging structural reforms in its economy. It has established a stable government and political structure under a new Constitution, secured peace and safety, and made strong progress towards national reconciliation. Rwanda has also begun restoring and reforming its economy, and the Government has articulated an inspiring vision of the country´s future - Vision 2020 - that sees per capita GDP quadrupling over the next decade and a half. Private investment is placed at the centre of this strategy, and the government is strongly committed to providing a favourable and enabling environment for investors.
A new look by potential investors is warranted, as investment opportunities abound in all sectors of the economy:
In agriculture, there are opportunities in coffee and tea, Rwanda´s primary exports. There are also opportunities in the nearly unexploited fields of horticulture, floriculture and herbal products.
In tourism, Rwanda´s best known asset is the mountain gorillas. Although tourist numbers are low - mainly on account of the country´s misleading image as an unsafe place - opportunities for investors are many and varied: hotels and lodges, entertainment facilities, restaurants, tour operations, and training services.
The Government is particularly keen on attracting investors in ICT-related activities and is setting up a TechnoPark near Kigali to encourage this. The Government itself is taking the lead in the computerization of services.
Some critical challenges remain, including the availability of power and the shortage of skilled labour, but the Government is taking measures to tackle them. Rwanda´s ´soft assets´ - a secure environment with very low levels of crime, a very low incidence of corruption, a committed and development-oriented government, and a mild and pleasant climate - could also be powerful attractions for many foreign investors, if they only knew about them.
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