UAE companies eye Rwanda as a gateway to Great Lakes region

By: Hudson Kuteesa
Published on: 2019-08-30
Visits: 896

Business executives from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and their Rwandan counterparts are mooting a “hub to hub” connection with Rwanda where Rwanda is looked at as a window for them to reach the Great Lakes region markets; and the UAE can serve as a window for Rwandan businesses to reach the rest of the world.

A delegation of over 17 senior executives from about eight sectors of the Middle East country is in Rwanda yesterday on a trade mission and held business-to-business discussions with the Private Sector Federation on what can be done as they aim to reach wider markets in each other’s region.

Dubai the most important city of the UAE has emerged as a global hub for financial services, logistics, hospitality and trade and is steadily growing in other sectors including healthcare, technology and clean energy that make it ideal for business.

On the other hand, Rwanda is continuing to position itself as an ideal place for doing business in the region.

The country is ranked 29th among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to World Bank ratings; Kigali city is among the safest cities in the world, and the GDP of the country has been on the rise.

It also has taken on a visa on arrival policy for foreigners, a move meant to ease business as well, among other things.

Omar Mohammed Al Ghfeli, the Senior Specialist for Export Market Development in Dubai Exports (the promotion agency of the Department of Economic Development of Dubai) painted out the importance of the UAE hub, urging Rwandan businessmen to look at it as a place that will open markets for them not only in the middle east but the rest of the world.

“With airlines like Etihad, Emirates, Air Dubai and a number of seaports, our connection with the world is very huge. So, you need to look at it from a strategic point,” he said.

Mohammed Al Kamali the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Exports echoed similar sentiments concerning e-commerce,

“Ecommerce is all about how to get your goods to the customer immediately and that is why a hub to hub context works very well. This way you reach one-sixth of the world’s population through the simple connectivity between Kigali and UAE.”

Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ambassador of the UAE to Rwanda tipped Rwandan businessmen on the UAE as a big market with 11 million who have a very strong purchasing power,

“I know that many Rwandan companies would like to expand into global markets especially the Middle East and Asia. They should look at the UAE as a base to enter.”

“UAE has excellent infrastructure and facilities to assist the Rwandan companies to benefit from the available opportunities,” he added.

Diane Sayinzoga, the Head of Exports at the Rwanda Development Board told the UAE traders about Rwanda’s business-friendly policies including zero tolerance to corruption, the ability to register a business in about six hours, security, among others.


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