The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) Tuesday, August 25, conducted a Rwanda-focused webinar to explore business opportunities in Rwanda, attracting business leaders and top executives from both sides.
The virtual conference attracted over 40 Singaporean firms and more than 190 viewers via a live broadcast on Facebook.
The federation provided an overview of the Rwandan economy, as well as business and investment opportunities for the Singaporean business community.
Organised as part of the Global Connect, an initiative of SBF, the webinar intended to scale up SBF’s capabilities beyond Singapore.
SBF Africa Business Group Vice Chairman Neal Chandaria expressed optimism in the new platform, saying it will benefit the “Singaporean business community as well as friends around the world who are interested in learning about the latest developments and opportunities in Rwanda.”
The event was graced by Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Singapore Amb. Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) chief executive Clare Akamanzi.
“We hope it [Global Connect] is going to be another platform where companies in Singapore will find their trading partners and investment opportunities in Rwanda,” Amb. Uwihanganye noted.
As the High Commission of Rwanda in Singapore, he added, “We welcome all of you with interest in Rwanda and shall do all best to facilitate both trade and investment.”
Rwanda and Singapore have signed several bilateral cooperation pacts including in aviation, investment, and public service management.
According to recent figures, Rwanda’s exports to Singapore are valued at $31 million while Singaporean exports to Rwanda amount to $5 million.
Total investments by the Asian state in Rwanda amounted to $145 million in 2018.
Akamanzi noted that both countries draw a lot of economic inspirations from each other.
“The Government of Rwanda, just like Singapore, very much prioritizes economic development and improvement in the standards of living of its people,” she said.
“We are committed to private sector growth, accelerating economic growth and poverty reduction, and are committed to an excellent business environment that makes the Private Sector Federation and those who do business in Rwanda very competitive.”
Speaking of investment opportunities, Akamanzi cited Visit Rwanda, Made-In-Rwanda, and Start-In-Rwanda as three major areas foreign investors can tap into.
Through Visit Rwanda, which has partnerships with two global football giants (Arsenal and PSG), the RDB boss said the country seeks to lift its tourism to a recognized global brand.
“It is no wonder that over the last five years, with all the infrastructure we have put in place, Rwanda is ranked the third country that has received the most conferences and events in Africa,” she said.
“With Start-In-Rwanda, Rwanda is a place where people can come and start their business, develop their products and once they are successful here, they can expand to the rest of Africa. That is already happening in many ways,” Akamanzi observed.
Faustin Karasira, the Chief Operations Officer at Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF), noted that the ‘Global Connect’ platform “comes as one of the easy ways to enhance our working relationship”, hence setting a conducive stage for businesses from both Singapore and Rwanda.”