Rwanda is reaping the rewards of its targeted and meticulously planned economic reform and national re-branding strategy. Investments in manufacturting and industry have increased while tourist arrivals have surged. The goodwill seems organic but most of it has to do with visionary planning and unrelenting investment in infrastructure and the country’s image.
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) registered investments worth US$ 2.46 billion in 2019, an increase of 22.6% from the previous year. The investments are expected to bring with them 35 715 new jobs.
This jump follows two massive investments by Rusizi III Energy (US$ 613 million) and Gasmeth Energy (US$ 442 million), Ampersand (US$152Million), Remote Estate (US$ 145Million) and Nots Solar Lamps (US$72Million).
RDB Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi, said;
“This is a sign of continuous investor confidence in Rwanda by both local and foreign investors. The increased investment figures will help curb our balance of trade deficit by promoting the production of locally made goods for the local and regional market. Last year Rwanda exported goods worth US$ 1.021 billion, up from US$ 995 million in 2018. As a result, we have seen Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grow by 11.9% in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the same quarter in 2018.“
Rwanda has also seen major growth in other sectors in particular, the tourism industry where arrivals are reported to have topped 1.4 million in 2019. This is three times the annual volumes recorded in 2005.
The country has been on a positive growth trend since it started opening itself up to the world. While some may view the recent good numbers as a trun in good fortunes, they are a real testimony of how visionary leadership can change a country.
In 2007 Rwanda officially shifted from being a Francophone country to one that uses English for communication. The country also undertook major structural reforms of the economy including deliberate rebranding.
The rebranding drive has been bearing huge profits as seen my increased arrivals and tourist spending. As part of the same drive Rwanda’s entered into a £30m deal with Arsenal to promote tourism.