Participants attend an exhibition during Rwanda Day in Bonn, Germany over the weekend. Photo/Courtesy.
Besides Rwandans and friends of Rwanda who expressed interest in continuing to support the country’s development agenda, there were many highlights at the just-concluded 10th edition of Rwanda Day.
For instance, the local business community inked a deal to intensify cooperation with the biggest interest group of German small and medium enterprises, known as German Association for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (BVMW).
“Some businesspeople used the opportunity to look for partnerships, and to source materials for their businesses,” said Stephen Ruzibiza, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF).
With more than 300 offices in Germany and 40 offices abroad, BVMW is a powerful network facilitating contacts between its members.
The agreement seeks to promote and facilitate trade and economic cooperation between Rwandan and German enterprises in various fields.
Under the deal, the two private sector umbrellas committed to intensifying their cooperation in providing consulting, marketing, advisory and expert services in areas of mutual interest.
This is in addition to encouraging the participation of member companies in fairs and exhibitions held both in Germany and Rwanda as well as promoting investment opportunities available in their respective countries
Rwanda Day, which was first held on December 4, 2010, in Brussels, Belgium, is a big celebration largely used by the Diaspora community to reflect on how to find solutions to the country’s challenges and advance its development agenda.
This year’s Rwanda Day in Bonn also had a new feature known as Career Speed Dating session, for Rwandans living abroad to hear about career opportunities back home.
Although it is not yet clear how many young professionals within the Rwandan community abroad were connected to the 16 organisations seeking talent, during the main event many people showed intent in supporting Rwanda’s progress.
Fabrice Goffin, a Belgian who has a company specialised in new robotics solutions, said he had been inspired by the “positive energy” he saw and promised to visit Rwanda next month.
“What you are doing; the vibes, the positive energy that you all have in promoting your country, and the ignorance that Europeans have in not knowing your country; I would like to say that I have a lot of respect for you, for all of you, with what I have seen and the enthusiasm I saw in the past four months. I will be visiting next month and I look forward to it.”
When President Paul Kagame asked Goffin if he was ready to come and set up a business in Rwanda, the latter replied affirmatively.
Goffin added: “I wouldn’t choose any other African country after the enthusiasm I’ve seen from the people here.”
Amb. Amandin Rugira, the Rwandan envoy to Belgium, told The New Times that there were several takeaways from the latest edition of Rwanda Day, and singled out the fact that Goffin’s company, Zora Robotics, wants to establish its African offices in Kigali.
“When people are united and work together, anything can happen.”
“Third, Rwandans are free to live where they want but never forget their roots. Four; the Rwandan culture is the foundation of who we are, and we have to preserve it.”
“Rwanda will continue to ease business environment in order to attract more foreign investments in priority sectors,” the envoy added.