President Paul Kagame has said that Rwanda’s ‘zero’ tolerance to corruption, good investment policies have been the secret behind more foreign investments into the country.
“If we allowed corruption to thrive in our country investors may go to a bigger economy with bigger corruption and we lose out,” Kagame said.
The President was this evening participating at a panel discussion on Maximizing Finance for Development at the ongoing World Bank/IMF annual meetings in Washington DC.
Kagame said Rwanda’s market is small, but corruption would still push back investors from tapping into opportunities in the country.
“We are fully aware that corruption does a lot of damage to everything we want to achieve for our people.
By fighting corruption and establishing conducive doing business policies, Kagame said that: “What started as ‘not a viable market’ has become a market where many key players come to invest.
It takes less than 6 hours to register a business in Rwanda – a policy key players in the doing business sector say has triggered more investors and in return yields more Foreign Direct Investment receipts.
According to Rwanda Development Board (RDB) government projects to attract foreign direct investments worth about $1.5 billion projects this year.
As of May, 49 investments had brought in about $500 million, while another 33 projects in the pipeline are expected to bring in about $1 billion, according to available data from RDB.
With continued flow of foreign investments, Kagame said, “we had to create that uniqueness for ourselves to make ourselves attractive so investors choose Rwanda.”
“Rwanda’s specificity as a small economy constrained in many ways. There are certain things we cannot afford to do or ignore,” he added.
Then tapping into African diaspora, Kagame told participants at the session that Rwanda has also considered attracting nationals living abroad to invest back home.
“Many have come back to the country and have formed the backbone of the human capital in Rwanda. We connect with the African diaspora and want them to contribute to the country,” he said.
The President told participants that his government has been a key player in increasing investments in the country.
For instance, he said, “Rwanda in partnership with private sector had to create and invest in a telecom company that grew and later attracted investment. In the areas of tourism we invested in hotel, conference facilities and an airline and have seen that these attract investment.”
The President told participants that for the world to sustain finance for develooment, “We also have to deal with humanitarian situations and globally you find this requires a lot of resources.”
Since the last 23 years, Rwanda put in place a robust audit system which helps to efficiently use available resources.
“We have found investors by putting to good use the money that we have received and money that we have mobilized internally,” the President said.