Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente has touted private investments as a key driver for recovery of small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and other global challenges.
Ngirente was addressing a business forum on the sidelines of the ongoing Dubai Expo 2020, where Rwanda is showcasing its investment opportunities and tourist attractions.
The two-day forum, which opened Wednesday, comes hot on the heels of what was dubbed Rwanda’s National Day at the international expo, held on Tuesday.
Ngirente’s audience included business and government leaders from around the world who are taking part in the exhibition.
With respect to recovery from the effects of the pandemic, Ngirente said the focus is to attract anchor investments that will create industry ecosystems and new market opportunities for SMEs to empower and prepare them to withstand future shocks and quickly adopt global trends.
“The pandemic has taught us that we are all in this together. The same applies to business, we cannot rely only on big businesses or national champions only,” he said.
He noted that, “For most of our economies, small and medium businesses are the engine of the economy and they will continue to drive inclusive and sustainable growth post-Covid.”
Ngirente also observed that, in regards to the vital role of digital technologies in ensuring business continuity, Rwanda had made smart investments in building ICT infrastructure and human capital.
Rwanda is committed to continuing its digital transformation, he said.
“It will be important to mobilise resources, especially private investments, to further investments in developing the required infrastructure and future skills that will secure our digital transformation while bridging the critical digital gap in digital access and literacy,” the PM added.
Delegates follow the discussions of panelists during Rwanda Business Forum.
Investments, including Foreign Direct Investments, he said, will play an increasingly important role in sustainably bridging the financing gap for Rwanda’s development through targeted, productive sectors of the economy, which are expected to be showcased at the forum.
The meeting was attended by notable speakers from Rwanda, including; Cabinet ministers Paula Ingabire (ICT and Innovations) and Beata Habyarimana (Trade and Industry); as well as Pascal Murasira, Managing Director, Norrsken East Africa; and Alain Ebobisse, Chief Executive, Africa50.
Others include Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board; Nick Barigye, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Finance Limited; Ashish J. Thakkar, Founder, Mara Group and Mara Foundation; and Yamina Karitanyi, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board.
Rwanda’s economy contracted by 3.4 per cent in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a far cry from the growth rate of 9.5 per cent in 2019.
However, it was expected to rebound in 2021 at 10.2 per cent growth rate having posted double-digit growth in Q3.
The economy is also projected to further grow at 7.2 per cent in 2022 and 7.9 per cent in 2023.
Hosted by the United Arab Emirates, the expo – which opened on October 1, 2021 and is set to run until March 31, 2022, is viewed as a strategic platform for governments to pitch investment opportunities, exchange ideas and build relations.
The Rwandan pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai has since managed to attract 300,000 visitors, serving over 70,000 cups of coffee, according to official statistics.
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