Rwanda safe for women, investment

By Shingirai Vambe

Ranked number five globally as a safe investment destination where women are safe to walk at night and do business, Rwanda’s reform policy is paying dividends, head of investment on Rwanda Development Board Louise Kanyonga has said.

Addressing delegates at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) annual congress in Victoria Falls on Wednesday, Kanyonga said her country’s reform policy, which promotes ease of doing business, is attracting international investment.

“Rwanda was ranked number five in the world (by Gallup International) as a safe destination, where women can walk in the middle of the night, and get to their destination safely,” Kanyonga said.

“Not only walking around, but those who are doing business feel very safe due to transparent ways of doing business, having most of government ministries on an online activated system.”

Gallup International surveys look at the safety of women and their activities within an economy or country.

She said women and girls around the world, who are often marginalised and do not feel safe as they are at a higher risk of physical assault and falling victim to robbers, are being empowered to be entrepreneurs to ensure no-one is left behind.

Kanyonga said most businesspeople in her country have registered their companies through an online system that Rwanda has set up which has a six-hour turn-around. This includes land issues, where one can access information on who owns which land and size.

Rwanda was recently named as one of the drivers and leaders of information communication technology in Africa.

The Zimbabwean government, through the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and ZNCC, is engaging countries on the continent, including Rwanda and Kenya, to foster growth in the private sector.

Speaking at the same event, Industry and Commerce minister Mangaliso Nqobizitha Ndlovu said government had put policies in place to encourage inflows of foreign direct investment as the country aims to become a middle income economy by 2030.

Rwanda began a comprehensive and ambitious campaign in 2000 to rebuild, foster national reconciliation and drastically reduce poverty. The Rwandese government prioritised health, education, infrastructure, private and financial sector development, commitment to improving citizens’ living conditions and building a solid foundation for reconciliation.

“Rwanda has implemented many business regulation reforms through the aid of World Bank, and has transformed the life of the private sector and made it noticeably easier to do business. The country has achieved much success in its reform agenda since the early 2000s,” Kanyonga said.

Rwanda’s experience may provide useful lessons for other nations seeking to improve their business climate, particularly for those countries still having economic and industrial challenges.

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