Zimbabwe-Rwanda Collaboration Key to Economic Development

President Emmerson Emmerson Mnangawa has called on stakeholders to accelerate the implementation of mutual programmes and projects toward improving the standard and quality of life of the people of Rwanda and Zimbabwe with a view to fostering economic development.

He made the remarks at the Zimbabwe-Rwanda Trade and Investment Conference in Harare today held under the theme “Explore, Invest, Export” which was organised by ZimTrade and the Rwanda Development Board.

“The conference gives impetus to our quest to strengthen our commercial ties and accelerate the implementation of mutual programmes and projects toward improving the standard and quality of life of the people of Rwanda and Zimbabwe,” President Mnangagwa said.

He said the visit by the Rwandese delegation demonstrates a commitment to broadening trade and investment partnerships. Trade and investment efforts are key drives for economic development in pursuit of realising sustainable economic growth and improving health services in light of emerging global pandemics.

The President pledged to create an environment conducive to business and opportunities for trade and investment and commended the cordial and fraternal excellent relationship between the two countries that he said was a harbinger to spur business growth.

He urged Zimtrade and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to increase trade flow volumes between the two nations with an emphasis on trading particularly goods made in Rwanda and Zimbabwe. He said the two governments should improve the ease of doing business environment for economic players.

Allan Majuru, the Chief Executive Officer of ZimTrade said the conference is in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS1) with one of its key deliverables based on diversifying exports.

“We target to grow exports by 10 percent every year until 2023 in pursuit of reaching US$7 billion through trading services and value-added goods and services. In Rwanda we generated business of up to US$10 million last year. We signed an MOU last year in March that has culminated in this conference. Other are MOUs coming. In 2021 we got deals to export chilli to Rwanda. Zimbabwean small-scale farmers are set to benefit. On the other hand, a local electrical company, CAFCA, is exporting cables to Rwanda. Teachers’ Furniture is also ready to export furniture to Rwanda,” Mr. Majuru said.

He alluded to a partnership between Zimtrade and the Dutch Embassy in Chimanimani in which the latter certifies pineapples grown organically by smallholder farmers for export to the Netherlands. Initially, the pineapples were sold at 20 cents per kg but now costs 70 cents per kg when exported.

The Government of Rwanda works very closely with Zimbabwe on a range of opportunities that are mutually beneficial for both countries. These areas include trade and investments, infrastructure, energy, civil aviation among others.

From the visit by the delegation of Zimbabwe held in Kigali back in September last year; several activities were rolled out to implement the MoUs that were signed. In addition, new areas of cooperation were identified, and members of the private sector concluded several business deals.

Zephanie Niyonkuru, the RDB Deputy Chief Executive Officer said his organisation received companies from Zimbabwe that registered their businesses including one that is involved in manufacturing of irrigation equipment.

“Our Ministry of Educaton has registered tangible progresses regarding recruitment of teachers, and a coffee roasting company from Rwanda started exporting roasted coffee to Zimbabwe.

“On the side of services, a specific case includes a film production company from Zimbabwe called Meso Maviri, led by Ms Tariro Washe, and the company is currently collaborating with Rwanda Development Board, and other partners across Africa in the production of Africanda, a multinational collaborative film project with a three -pronged objective, namely: to promote Pan African ideologies through intentional storytelling, to showcase Africa as a film and tourism destination, and finally to showcase the skills of African filmmakers,” Niyonkuru said

From the RDB perspective, Africanda not only resonates with that country’s vision and engagements across the continent but also aligns with its strategy to position itself as a leading continental film destination. 

Rwanda is a growing market of about 13 million people and a member of the East African community of more than 170 million people.  Rwanda has enjoyed strong economic growth, averaging around 8% GDP growth annually over the last two decades and currently standing at 10.9% in 2021 recovering from the aftermath of COVID -19 Pandemic.

In addition to the companies that are exploring, and in other cases strengthening business ties in areas related to manufacturing, agro-processing, general trading, mining, education, tourism, and financial services, Rwanda presented to the companies from Zimbabwe additional investment opportunities available in Rwanda including notable upcoming events they may participate into.

In June this year, Rwanda will host the CommonHealth Heads of Government Meeting commonly known as CHOGM. It will have different sessions and forums. It is inviting members of the private sector from Zimbabwe to join the Commonwealth Business Forum which will be held from June 21st to June 23rd. Key themes of the forum will include Innovation and digital economy, sustainability, open markets, financing growth, health, skills, and the future of work. The business forum will feature participants including heads of state, business leaders, private equity firms, venture capital funds, banks, among others.

The registration starts soon, and through the Rwanda High Commission in Zimbabwe, ZimTrade and ZIDA, they shall share the link and provide the required facilitation for members of the private sector from Zimbabwe to participate.

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