Rwanda wants to become an African hub for foreign direct investment

Import time has reduced by 14 per cent in Rwanda as a result of the removal of key non-tariff barriers (NTBS), according to a survey by TradeMark East Africa.

The report also revealed a 20 per cent decrease in the time it takes to export goods from East African countries, therefore increasing trade in the region.

There is progress to facilitate the fast movement of goods but a key 112 barriers identified, 87 resolved and the remaining 25 still need to be addressed.

"Unfortunately we keep working in them and new NTBS come up, so it is key that we try and prohibit the rise of new NTBS within the region," said Anataria Karimba, Senior Programme Manager at TradeMark East Africa.

"I think for us now it’s going into the next phase of funding for trademark, is to actually make an assessment on how the reduction in time and in cost actually translates down to revenue to the private sector and in the long run to the citizens of each of the EAC countries," Karimba said.

Trademark broke-even, after investing heavily in the reduction of such barriers from some of the savings through course and time reduction, now it’s going into a new phase.

"That’s why we find it relevant to actually invest more because we have seen that the actual reductions that cover the rate of investment that we have put in."

The organisation has also been looking at a way to harmonise the tax regime of the countries in the region but Karimba says that will take a long time but is an ongoing avenue - this will help Rwanda attain its goals to become the destination in Africa for foreign investment.

"I think the biggest selling point for Rwanda is the business environment here, a lot of changes going on here, a lot of political wield from the government to make Rwanda the best destination within the region for FDI.

Karimba says that what the country has to do is maintain aftercare with investors once they come into Rwanda so that it is easier for them to operate within the different countries.

At the World Economic Forum in a few weeks, investors can look forward to Trademark showcasing the Rwanda Electronic Single Window which has contributed a lot to the reduction in time to export and import.

"We’ll be showcasing that with a lot of different stakeholders for them to actually see how you move along the chain of logistics and how long it takes now to move goods along the different corridors," said Karimba.

Source: CNBC Africa Online