The delegation brings together 18 Dubai-based companies operating across eight diverse sectors to explore expansion opportunities in the region….reports Asian Lite News
Dubai International Chamber, one of the three chambers operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers, has successfully coordinated more than 130 bilateral business meetings between companies from Dubai and Rwanda during the first leg of the chamber’s trade mission to East Africa.
The delegation brings together 18 Dubai-based companies operating across eight diverse sectors to explore expansion opportunities in the region.
During the first day of the roadshow, the chamber arranged a special business forum in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city. Titled “Doing Business in Rwanda”, the event was organised with the support of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Kigali in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Private Sector Federation of Rwanda (PSF).
The gathering attracted more than 150 participants including senior figures from the Rwandan government, business leaders, and local companies interested in exploring potential partnerships with members of the chamber’s delegation.
The trade mission was organised as part of the “New Horizons” initiative spearheaded by Dubai International Chamber, which is aimed at driving the international expansion of Dubai-based businesses in targeted priority markets. The initiative enables companies to join international roadshows and trade fairs to gain first-hand experience in new territories. The trade missions will play a vital role in achieving Dubai’s goal of increasing non-oil foreign trade to US$ 544.5 billion (AED 2 trillion) by 2026, in line with the emirate’s five-year trade plan.
The forum featured speeches by Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers; Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Rwanda; and Jeanne Francoise Mubiligi, Acting Chairperson of the Private Sector Federation of Rwanda. The event was also attended by Mohammed Alkaabi, Head of Support Services and Consular Affairs at the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Kigali.
During his opening remarks, Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, who headed the trade mission, highlighted the shared focus on innovation and the digital technology sectors among the dynamic business communities in Dubai and Rwanda. He described Rwanda as one of the key markets in the chamber’s plans to diversify trade with the African continent in line with the ambitions of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33). Lootah stated that the trade mission will contribute to achieving the chamber’s strategic priorities by supporting the expansion of 100 companies from Dubai into international markets by the end of 2024.
Lootah added, “The number of companies from Rwanda registered as members of the chamber and operating in Dubai can still be improved – we see strong potential for growth. Currently, we have 26 active companies, including eight new companies that joined between January and September this year. We are also looking forward to increasing the value of bilateral trade with Rwanda, which reached a total of US$ 653.4 million in 2022. Our visit is aimed at helping our members expand into the Rwandan market, attracting more African companies to the emirate, and boosting bilateral trade and investments – goals we are confident we can achieve with the support of our distinguished partners in Rwanda.”
Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Rwanda, said, “The Republic of Rwanda and the United Arab Emirates are two countries that enjoy good bilateral relations, and this forum is another indicator of how our two countries are continuing to increase cooperation. During the first quarter of 2023 alone, exports from Rwanda to the UAE were valued at US$ 211.5 million, accounting for around 50% of Rwanda’s share of exports. In the same quarter, imports from the UAE amounted to US$ 87.3 million. These are substantial numbers, but nonetheless, there is room for more growth.”
Ngabitsinze continued, “Rwanda is one of the fastest-growing economies in the region. It has a low-risk profile for investors, is one of the safest countries, and is business-friendly in terms of governance, as well as being highly ranked in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report. There are multiple reasons why it would make sense to expand operations to Rwanda.”
Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice President of International Relations at Dubai Chambers, delivered an informative presentation on Dubai’s economic landscape and outlined the numerous competitive advantages the emirate offers for African companies and entrepreneurs in Rwanda.
The chamber has identified a number of promising sectors for Dubai-based companies in Rwanda, including opportunities to increase imports of cereal products; flour; fats; wax; vegetable and animal oils; and coffee, tea, and spices. High-potential sectors for investment in Rwanda include transportation and warehousing; software and IT; and business services.
According to fDi Intelligence data, the cumulative value of investments from Dubai to Rwanda between January 2018 and June 2023 amounted to US$ 211.1 million (approximately AED 777 million). These were mainly concentrated in the transportation and warehousing, communications, business services, and electrical components sectors. Dubai also accounted for 77 percent of the UAE’s total investment in Rwanda. The number of companies or franchises from Dubai that are currently registered in Rwanda is estimated at eight.
A panel discussion was held as part of the forum, which brought together expert speakers in the fields of logistics, customs legislation, and the investment and financial sectors in Rwanda. The panellists explored the advantages of doing business in Rwanda and shared their knowledge of the local business landscape with the visiting delegation from Dubai during an interactive QA session. This was followed by a series of bilateral business meetings between representatives of companies from Dubai and Rwanda.
A broad range of sectors were represented by the companies comprising the trade mission including construction; electrical; energy and renewables; food and beverages; hospitality and furnishing; information technology; retail; and trading.