Business

Uganda, Rwanda Join Forces To Boost Cross Border Trade

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information pills http://closdescapucins.fr/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-direct.php geneva;”>Held at Kampala Serena Hotel, more about the Rwanda-Uganda Business Forum 2012 focused on the theme “Expanding Business Opportunities Beyond Borders.”

The Forum was aimed at providing a strong platform to promote bilateral relations between the two countries; increase trade and investments; support business and other networking for business opportunities and also facilitate dialogue on best business practices in the region.

The Rwandan High Commissioner to Uganda, Maj Gen Frank Mugamabage said the initiative was also aimed at facilitating opportunities for companies to showcase various services and products to potential clients through exhibitions.

Ambassador Kabonero has promised to hold a Rwanda-Uganda business Summit in Kigali next year

“An important strategic priority for the government of Rwanda is to broaden our bilateral engagement with Uganda and other East African countries. Indeed Rwanda’s exports to the East African Community (EAC) partner states have increased by 68%, from US$14.38m in Q4 of 2010 to $24.19m in Q4 2011,” said Mugambage.

“The Republic of Uganda is a very special country to Rwanda. Many of our citizens have blood relations with the people of Uganda in addition to the historic friendship between the two people. This is a unique asset or resource which our countries can use to promote stronger, political, social and economic ties for the mutual benefit of our two countries. Moreover, we are grateful for the warm hospitality and comradeship of the Ugandan people which we have become accustomed to; each time our people visit Uganda.”

Mugambage maintained that by furthering regional economic integration through trading with other East African Community (EAC) partners, it is Rwanda’s belief that innovation, economic growth and development will be enhanced ensuring the continued economic dynamism of the entire East African region.

Investors listen to speeches at the Forum at Kampala Serena Hotel

He said in January this year, Rwanda held the 10th Joint Rwanda-Uganda joint permanent Commission and agreed to eliminate a range of Non-Tariff Barriers that presently impede trade between the two countries.

Uganda’s High Commissioner to Rwanda Richard Kabonero urged more investments in the banking sector to facilitate transactions between the two countries.

“For example it is not easy for someone to send money from Rwanda to Uganda,” said Kabonero, adding most Ugandan companies, apart from power distributor Umeme, were not listed in Rwanda.

Businessman and CEO Quality Chemicals, Emmanuel Katongole hailed Rwanda for maintaining a clean capital city, robust communication network and vigorous public relations machinery that has enabled the country attract thousands of tourists.

However, Katongole appealed to Rwanda to look at doing business with other countries at a regional or even continental level to broaden market for goods and services.

Moderated by senior journalist Andrew Mwenda, the function gave a platform to businessmen who carry out cross border trade to narrate their challenges to government officials for remedy.

Roofings steel company boss Lalani Sikander explained that a railway network between Uganda and Rwanda would lessen costs of transport thus low production costs which translate into low prices of steel products.

INVESTMENTS IN RWANDA

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) boss Clare Akamanzi made an in-depth presentation on investment opportunities in her country.

They include the ease of opening up a business. “Today, registering a business takes a minimum of 6 working hours from 24 hours last year. If you are connected to internet and have all the requirements before we leave this room, you can walk home with a fully incorporated company in Rwanda,” said Akamanzi, a statement that excited the audience.

Investors consult RDB’s Clare Akamanzi (Centre) after the Summit

She said Rwanda has wide opportunities for investors in several areas such as airport ground handling, waste collection disposal, waste recycling plant, water transport infrastructure, road construction, rehabilitation and maintenance and cargo transportation.

Akamanzi further said businessmen would reap big in investing in new tea plantations and factories, coffee washing and roasting as premium harvest grows, horticulture, grain production and processing, horticulture, silk production, packaging plants among others.

Other areas seeking investment are energy, tourism (construction of five-star hotels, high end themed restaurants in Kigali, theme parks and cultural villages among others), ICT, real estate and construction, financial services, retail industry, transport and logistics, mining, education and health.

Akamanzi assured investors of a stable political and economic climate that boosts revenues and facilitates growth.

Uganda’s minister of Trade Amelia Kyambadde said there was urged need to look at areas of production “not only trade but also industries.”

“We need to invest into bigger ventures like mineral extraction. We have fewer investments in the mining sector because this business is capital intensive. Why don’t we partner under the PPP arrangements to do these projects?” wondered Kyambadde.

“Trading is not sustainable. Let’s invest in production. That’s the future of our two countries.”

Kyambadde’s Rwandan counterpart Francis Kanimba expressed confidence that the Uganda-Rwanda business forum would enhance partnership of doing business between the two countries.

“The languages we speak and our cultures are close which is important to facilitate trade and expand business opportunities between Rwanda and Uganda,” said Kanimba.

He also called agreed with Kyambadde on the removal of non-tariff barriers and expediting the implementation of key provisions in MoUs signed between the two neighbours to promote SMEs, cooperatives and cross border trade.

State Minister for Finance Aston Kajara said the flow of goods from both Rwanda and Uganda had steadily increased in recent years courtesy of the warm relations.

On his part, Kabonero promised to hold a similar forum in Rwanda early next year.

This was the first time such a function is being held in recent history, with many observers concluding that leaders in Rwanda and Uganda are taking correct steps in the right direction to promote economic growth, curb poverty levels and create employment opportunities for their countrymen.

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