Ease of doing business in Rwanda on the upswing

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“Rwanda is one of the countries that have been implementing reforms to improve the business environment. This has been a long-term process and [it] continues,” Rwanda minister of trade and industry Francois Kanimba told CNBC Africa.

“The areas where we have implemented reforms, for example, all the procedures around facilitating a business to start up in a company. Rwanda has been able to cut down the cost for a company to establish in the country. Now you can register your company in just six hours.”

Plans are also in place to further establish a credit reference bureau and acquire comprehensive information on borrowers.

The initiative is expected to facilitate more economic growth in the country. This process has so allowed for Small to Medium-sized Enterprises and individuals access to credit.

“The legal framework to register the collateral, or to administer the security systems, has been among a number of reforms which have allowed the country to improve on getting a credit indicator,” Kanimba explained.

The reforms have also improved foreign direct investment, which is expected to increase as Rwanda improves its financial systems and frameworks.

“Based on the recent numbers, last year we had been able to reach 1.4 billion dollars, which was the biggest number we have been able to achieve so far. The trend had gone up over the years. We see more and more foreign investors coming from different parts of the world, expressing their interest in Rwanda,” said Kanimba.

According to the World Bank rankings, however, the one area Rwanda has not been performing particularly well in is cross-border trade.

Methods and policies will have to be implemented to improve the ease of cross-border trade in Rwanda.

“This has something to do with the land-locked nature of this country. Rwanda has to go a long way to cross a number of countries to reach the sea. The cost of shipping a container from Rwanda to the port of Mombasa or Dar es Salaam, without accounting for the non-tariff barriers we met on the corridors, already it’s a long distance and it has a cost,” said Kanimba.

“What Rwanda is really doing now [is] implementing a very proactive campaign. [This is] to try to engage in discussion with our partners in the East African community, to come to see how to address at least some of the constraints.”