Swedish investors explore the Rwandan market
The Rwanda investment and export promotion (RIEPA) last week hosted a group of Swedish investors who were in the country to inspect the investment opportunities available. The delegation was comprised of senior members of prominent companies.
According to the director of Riepa, Francis Gatare, the trade mission was organized by the Swedish embassy in collaboration with Riepa. He said that so far, there has been no business relationship existing between Rwanda and Sweden. The only relationship existed through Swedish aid grants.
“There is a need to develop a business-oriented relationship with Sweden,” the director said. He said the most companies that were represented in the trade mission are strong and well-developed, and are looking at the opportunities available and potential links with partners.
Niaz Nathoo the chairman and managing directors of the Kenya Grange vehicle industries, a Scania trucks assembling company, said that his company is in the process of establishing itself in the country. The company, which plans to invest up to 1 million dollars in the process, is still facing a problem of land.
“We want to be established as soon as possible, but we must find a proper plot where we can locate the company,” Mr. Nathoo said. He added that they are negotiating with the government to help them acquire the land.
The company also plans complementary services such as a Scania garage, spare parts and also small trucks and minibuses. “We expect Kigali to become a hub for the region, especially the Eastern DRC and Burundi,” Mr. Nathoo explained. Among the companies that were represented are also two major energy conglomerates which operate in Europe and the Americas.
The Swedish Ambassador to Rwanda, Anna Brandt, said that the trade mission was intended to increase trade between Sweden and Rwanda and to promote business partnerships between the entrepreneurial communities from both countries.
She added that the Swedish businessmen are still learning about Rwanda, and looking for possible ventures to invest in.
“There are a number of companies that would be interested in investing in Rwanda. For instance, the electricity company ABB and the Scania assembly company are willing, since their field of business corresponds with the country’s development needs,” she said.
Ms. Brandt further pointed out that the business partnerships would create opportunities for Rwanda to export its products to Sweden, and at the same time Sweden could help Rwanda to add value to its products so that they would generate more revenue on the world market.
“Sweden is among the European countries that consume lots of coffee, so I believe Rwanda can gain from the Swedish market,” the Ambassador remarked.
The investors inquired about various issues, ranging from how long it would take for their companies to be registered to the insecurity with in the neighboring DRC, to which the Minister of State in charge of export promotion, Vincent Karega, replied that the issues in Congo cannot hinder the development in Rwanda, and encouraged the entrepreneurs to invest in the country.