The final week of the CAP was turning out to be really hectic as we had five more meetings lined up apart from our consultancy work. Monday was a quiet day as every team was giving final touches to its project deliverables.
As our client had invited us to his office for a short meeting, we missed out trip to Bridge2Rwanda – an educational initiative geared towards creating opportunities for higher education of Rwandan youngsters. We drove to Masaka village – outskirts of Kigali to meet our client and visited a bull station and Masaka dairy apart from our client. After our brief meeting and some field research, we met the rest of CAP group to visit School of Banking and Finance (SBF).
SBF was the best higher education institution in the country which catered to more than 7000 students in various programs including BBA, MBA and MS. We met Reid Whitefield, the President of the institution who spoke in great detail about his experiences in Rwanda. It was interesting to know that faculty to student ratio at SBF was 1:700, and we definitely felt privileged for a moment.
The discussion with Mr. Whitefield was more focused on the economic development and the vision of prosperity of Rwanda. He shared some great insights about the functioning of Government of Rwanda – with whom he works very closely. Our curiosity levels brought up plenty of questions, which were answered very profoundly.
The next day was intense with 3 back to back 1.5 hour meetings (sounded like Business Policy lecture for a moment) lined up for us. The first meeting was at Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning where we met Mr. Rugwabiza Leonard, Director General of Planning, Government of Rwanda. He re-emphasized the importance sustainable solutions and emphasis on exports to reduce trade deficits of Rwanda. The BDF team had most number of questions pertaining to economic landscape of the country.
Mr. Leonard talked about the evolution of Rwanda post genocide and stressed on improving GDP as his major goal in coming few years. He shared an interesting trivia that in 2003, Coca Cola Company with 5000 employees was generating equivalent amount of revenue as Rwanda with a population of 10 million. He said it made us realize we need to improve our productivity and it was a great indicator of the challenges of a post conflict nation.
Our next meeting was at MTN – Mobile money where we met Mr. Albert Kimuma, Country Head MTN Mobile Money. The telecom company is one of the biggest service providers in Rwanda and employs close to 5000 people. The first corporate meeting of our CAP was very informative as Mr. Kimuma detailed the entire process of wireless transaction of cash. We were surprised to know that close to 3 million were using mobile money for various business and banking activities after it was initiated in 2009.
The last meeting (no more company visit forms, yeah) for our CAP 2012 was at Rwanda Development Board. RDB is unique institution which not only provides permit for gorilla trekking but also regulates FDI in Rwanda. We were amazed to know about the plethora of activities undertaken by RDP. Its focus area included export development, agri-business promotion, providing one stop solution to foreign investors, identification of new development avenues and infrastructure development.
The head of Investment, Mr. Joseph Munga shared that actually RDB was formulated by combining 8 different Government institutions in 2003 to create a feasible investment atmosphere in Rwanda. The vastness of RDB now made much more sense and we could relate it with Rwanda’s 2020 vision. My last question brought some smiles when I asked Mr. Munga which country is the biggest investor in Rwanda – To everyone’s surprise (except me) it was India.