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Rwanda, Zimbabwe look to strengthen trade ties

Leave a comment / By: manifel / 17 June, 2021 11:41:19AM
Rwanda, Zimbabwe look to strengthen trade ties

Rwanda and Zimbabwe have expressed commitment to double their efforts in order to boost trade between the two countries in an effort to facilitate the business communities to tap into opportunities available in either country

Officials from both countries made the observations on Wednesday, June 16, during the Rwanda-Zimbabwe business seminar which was held virtually. 

This interactive session on trade and investment between Rwanda and Zimbabwe also sought mainly to create awareness of the business opportunities available in the two countries. 

It was attended by about 200 public and private sector players from Rwanda and Zimbabwe. 

According to organisers, this is the precursor of a physical trade and investment conference between Rwanda and Zimbabwe expected to take place in Rwanda in July this year.

Clare Akamanzi, CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), commended the existing bilateral relations between the two countries, which she said forms a strong pillar to stimulate trade and investment between the two states.

She told Zimbabweans that the sectors that are leading in terms of opportunities that Rwanda has for them include energy, agriculture, trade and manufacturing, hospitality and financial services, among others.

Akamanzi said Rwanda continues to offer a conducive business environment, with a high growth rate averaging 8 percent over the last decade. The country registered its highest growth of 9.4 percent in 2019, just before the Covid-19 pandemic which contracted the global economy, she indicated.

"Rwanda continues to position itself as a proof-of-concept country for innovations. This is why we were able to attract some of the investments we have in the country like an assembling plant for Volkswagen and Zipline which is doing delivery of blood using drones," Akamanzi said.

Appalling trade stats

Regarding the two countries’ economic cooperation, Akamanzi said that the trade statistics between them are too low to be comfortable with, citing Trade Map estimates suggesting that Zimbabwe exported goods worth just $3 million to Rwanda in 2019, while exports from Rwanda were estimated at $152,000.

“Assuming that the Trade Map data is most accurate, I think that [the trade between the two countries] is almost insignificant as this is quite too low for very friendly countries that want to build economic ties,” she said, calling for working together to strengthen their trade.

Allan Majuru, CEO of Zim Trade – the national trade development and promotion organisation of Zimbabwe encouraged their companies to take advantage of the opportunities available in the two countries.

He said that they will bring a delegation of about 100 companies to Rwanda for the conference to be held in Rwanda in July this year, indicating that they want to take more but that could not be possible because of the compliance with the Covid-19 preventive regulations.

The delegation is expected to be led by the Zimbabwean Minister of Foreign Affair and International Trade, Ambassador Frederick Shava.

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