Yesterday, January 28, 2016, the Rwanda Development Board’s CEO, Honorable Francis Gatare, hosted the US Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, and her delegation comprised of senior executives of leading American companies including GE, McKinsey, and the renowned Carlyle Group. The main intention of the visit was to experience key aspects in the development of Rwanda including trade, business, and tax collection.
During the meeting, CEO Gatare highlighted investment opportunities in Rwanda and the incentives offered to investors. He also pointed at Rwanda’s recently updated investment code and the simplified tax regime. ‘We have made great progress in building Rwanda as a preferred investment destination and instituted several initiatives to reform the doing business environment’ he said
The head of the delegation of American investors, Secretary Penny Pritzker, who had previously visited Rwanda as a member of the private sector, said that it was terrific to watch the evolution of Rwanda. ‘We are very impressed by the remarkable progress made in the economic and social sectors’ said Commerce Secretary Pritzker.
Rwanda Revenue Authority Deputy Commissioner General Bizimana Pascal added that the institution’s growth and the increasing role of tax revenues in national development was very clear. ‘We will soon establish a special desk for VAT refund to investors to addressing tax-related concerns of foreign investors’ he noted, pointing out that investors will be taken through the new investment code to achieve clarity.
The delegation was briefed on the ongoing regional integration efforts in East African Community, and particularly within the Northern Corridor framework. They were impressed with the various common projects and initiatives already implemented, including the Single Area Network, the Common Tourist Visa, as well as various infrastructure projects in transport, energy, and ICT. The American business leaders expressed strong commitment to explore partnership in many of these projects. Progress will be assessed during a planned US-Africa Business summit later this year.
This is the Council’s first trip to the African continent. Notably they chose Rwanda and Nigeria as two destinations because over the past 20 years, these two countries have been a remarkable success story. Much of this positive progress is the result of a concerted and focused approach to economic and commercial policymaking.
Specifically, the Council members wanted to develop a deeper understanding of what Rwanda has done that has worked, and how Rwanda’s progress can serve as an example for other countries in the region and across the continent.