The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is currently Rwanda’s leading trade partner. Over the last 10 years, trade between the two countries has grown ten-fold to reach US$1.09 billion in 2022 from US$100.4 million in 2012, according to Rwanda Development Board (RDB) numbers.
The Emirates follows DR Congo and Kenya. Rwanda Exports to Congo was US$587.37 million during 2021. In 2020, Kenya exported $237million to Rwanda. The main products that Kenya exported to Rwanda are Soap ($15.9M), Raw Iron Bars ($11.6M), and Corn ($8.56M). During the last 24 years the exports of Kenya to Rwanda have increased at an annualized rate of 7.83%, from $38.8million in 1996 to $237million in 2020.
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In 2020, Rwanda exported $18.7million to Kenya.
RDB says in 2022 Rwanda’s exports to the UAE accounted for 53% and investments have equally grown at a tune of US$248 million and more are in the pipeline.
Rwanda mainly exports minerals and agricultural products. The UAE earns from export of construction materials, equipment and machinery.
“Rwanda and the UAE enjoy excellent bilateral ties, with trade and investment growing over the last seven years,” RDB CEO, Clare Akamanzi said at the UAE-Rwanda Business Forum organised by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce.
Dozens of Rwandan business executives attended the forum in Sharjah to discuss ways of shaping future collaboration between the two countries.
This forum is organized at a time when our countries are recovering from the effects of the pandemic but also facing other global shocks impacting growth prospects. The African continent has registered an impressive recovery with Rwanda among the ten fastest growing African economies having registered GDP growth of 10.9% in 2021.
“Rwanda’s economy further grew by 6.8% in 2022 and is projected to reach 7.5% by 2024. We need extra hands by way of Abu Dhabi business partners on this journey. Be part of the Rwanda story,” said Rwanda’s Ambassador to the UAE, Emmanuel Hategeka.
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Akamanzi echoed his call and added that, building on the existing partnership, it is important to continue creating platforms such as this forum to collectively share insights and opportunities that will enhance trade and investments between our two countries.
She said that Rwanda’s business climate continues to be favorable to investments offering stability and transparency and The Government has put more efforts in attracting Foreign Direct Investments to contribute to the capital formation.
Rwanda has been undertaking reforms to attract foreign investors; especially in improving policies, pro investments. The 2020 World Bank’s “Doing Business” report, ranked Rwanda the 38th out of 190 economies in ease Doing Business and 2nd in Africa.
“Our investment code provides an attractive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for potential investors in priority sectors including manufacturing and agro-processing,” Akamanzi added.
In addition to that, she noted, “UAE investments are already supported by the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTA) signed between the two countries which creates more confidence in accessing Rwanda market as UAE investment destination.”
Rwanda’s enabling investment environment offers business friendly regulation, an efficient supported process, commitment to foreign ownership and multiple incentives for exporters and priority sectors.
She encouraged UAE investors to consider investing in Rwanda in sectors of their choice.
UAE envoy to Rwanda, Hazza Mohammed Falah Kharsan AlQahtani, who also attended the forum, told participants at the investment roadshow that Rwanda is a “very safe, very clean and a very low corruption place to do business.”
Akamanzi noted that she believes “these are the values that have served our working relationship in the past as they will in the future.”
Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi Chamber and Rwanda Private Sector Federation signed an MOU that will increase partnership and facilitate the two business Communities. The two partners also agreed to establish a joint business council, enhance cooperation among women entrepreneurs in both countries and too collaborate with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and industry.
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In his remarks, H.E. Masood Rahma Al Masaood , Treasurer and Abu Dhabi Chamber board member in the presence of Fouad Darwish, Board Member and H.E. Mohamed Helal Al Mheiri, Director General of the chamber, expressed their Keenness to expand UAE- Rwanda investment and trade.