Rwanda and Kenya have launched a joint forum that seeks to strengthen business and investment opportunities between two countries.
The forum launched on Saturday by the Rwanda President Paul Kagame will lay a foundation for members of the private sector to explore business opportunities between two countries that enjoy cordial diplomatic ties.
The event dubbed “Expanding Business Opportunities beyond borders” held in the Capital Kigali, brought together more than 200 top executives from the private sectors of Rwanda and Kenya
Speaking at the meeting, President Kagame called on members of the business community from both countries to use the opportunity created to expand business horizons.
“The relationship between two countries has grown stronger and we have already opened up our borders for more trade and investment,” he told Rwanda-Kenya business community.
The head of state noted that East Africa is more visible and relevant to the global economy than ever before, and this is the time the East African Community business community members need to strengthen its business acumen.
He challenged the participants to stimulate the intra-Africa trade and make Africa a strong economy where by African brands can compete at global level.
Kenya is the East Africa’s largest economy and the leading source of foreign direct investment to Rwanda with an estimated more than 440 million U.S. dollars in registered businesses in the past decade.
Both Rwanda and Kenya are part of the Northern Corridor Integration initiative that includes Uganda and South Sudan. The initiatives aim at easing trade on the route that connects Kigali to the Kenyan port of Mombasa, where over 40 percent of the country’s imports are received.
“The joint forum as a great step toward actualising the desire for a more active regional private sector to work closely with governments and enhance benefits from the existing political will of the current governments,” Kiprono Kittony, the chairperson of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) told reporters shortly after the meeting.
He noted that leaders of Rwanda and Kenya have shown political will to expand trade and remove barriers to trade and Rwanda has been at the forefront of good governance systems in the region and Kenya has a lot to learn from the post- genocide country.
The Rwanda Development Board statistics indicate that Kenya is Rwanda’s top investor and trading partner. A total of 1,302 Kenyan companies have been registered in Rwanda, the direct employment from these firms stand at about a quarter million Rwandans. Enditem