Having never been to a developing country in Africa, the Rwanda experience was eye-opening. The people were amazingly friendly, proud, and determined to grow and succeed in business in the future.
There is a lot of development taking place right now in Kigali. Aside from the normal influx of non-profits and aid organizations, the government is doing a good job in promoting the city as a destination. There is a convention center that will be completed soon, along with a series of new high-end hotels. Some criticize the pace of this development, saying that it is growing too fast and is not yet supported by the volume of business activities in the country. I disagree, and based on what I have seen Kigali definitely has potential to get put on the map as a city of commerce. The government is exploring new avenues such as being an East African conference destination and also enhancing its revenue from additional types of tourism.
In our recommendation to the Rwanda Development Board, we talked about finding a more defined means of attracting investors to Rwanda. In the agribusiness sector, we recommended agricultural tourism – a way for people to get to know how coffee or tea or wine production is done. We think that a more personal approach will yield a higher number of investors and will help them understand the reasons behind their funding, not just the financial rewards. Additionally, we recommended an enhanced web presence under the slogan of “Choose Rwanda”. What we saw during our time in-country was a great deal of potential, something that could not be easily seen from the other side of the Atlantic. So, in turn, we’d like for everyone to see this.