French investors target EAC market through Rwanda

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Staff writer

KIGALI-RWANDA-A French business delegation has returned to invest in Rwanda with a vision of making Rwanda a spur to penetrate the East African market.

French businessmen in Rwanda for four day visit to study the Rwandan business viability tending a move aimed at venturing Anglophone countries’ market.

Seven French companies are in the country for a week long market feasibility study in sectors such as energy, ICT, water and sanitation among others. The delegation in Rwanda from Lyon, say they are now ready to use a bilingual country like Rwanda as a stepping stone to invest in the whole Eastern region.

Marc Schneider, Head of Novafrica, a company that operates throughout Africa, with specialist expertise in east African markets, has said that French people had a negative image of Rwanda, saying it is a struggling country that tries to cope with the genocide consequences.

However, now, some people like businessmen have understood the change Rwanda has made so far and are ready to venture in the country.

“When you talk about Rwanda in France, people think it’s a struggling country from war and genocide and they don’t really know what is going on and the change that has been there for many years now.

This what I try to explain to them; that the economic growth is there and it’s a great opportunity for them not only to invest in Rwanda, but also to gain the whole east African region”. Marc Schneider told the journalists.

RDB officials say, the Rwandan government is doing its utmost to insure all the requirements are in place to help business people for their investments. “We are doing our best to help all the investors in infrastructures, harmonised business regulations etc. and what we see now is a result for our job”. For the first time since the genocide in Rwanda, a French business delegation has returned to invest in Rwanda with a vision of making Rwanda a springboard to penetrate the East African market.

In 2010 Rwanda and France decided to re-establish diplomatic relations and both countries have resent their representatives to Kigali and Paris respectively.

“This is the first French business delegation we are receiving since the formation of Rwanda development Board (RDB) and we hope France starts investing in Rwanda for the benefit of our economy,” said Tony Sanganira, the Chief Operations Officer at RDB.

RDB has this year registered over 900 business projects worth $710 million, with an expectation of $835 million at the end of this year. All the seven French companies that have shown their interests in investing in Rwanda say to be determined to remain in the region for many years to come. The companies are: NOVAFRICA, AAI, STRACAU VALVES, NOTINKA, DIFFUSELEC, APITECH, and APPROTECH.

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