Rwanda Overview


Rwanda is in the heart of Africa. It is strategically located in Eastern-Central Africa, with easy market access across the region. Despite a difficult global climate, Rwanda has maintained robust economic growth, averaging more than 8 percent since 2007. The Government of Rwanda is committed to reducing poverty and lifting standards of living though a private sector-driven economic transformation, reducing the country’s dependence on subsistence agriculture. To do this, Rwanda needs to increase levels of public and private investment to build the core and sector specific infrastructure required. This necessitates that capital investment increases to 25% of GDP – of which 15% is private sector – by this year, with the share of private sector investment increasing over time.


Rwanda is a politically stable country with strong institutions, a reliable regulatory framework and zero tolerance for corruption. It has a population of almost 11 million people. The population of the City of Kigali is expected to grow by 80% by 2025 and is listed by the United Nations as the 13th most rapidly growing cities in the world, presenting opportunities to develop urban oriented businesses.


Why Rwanda?

  • Economic Growth: Rwanda has achieved a GDP growth rate of 8.8% year on year since 2004, sustained by a liberal macroeconomic policy.
  •  Robust Governance: Rwanda’s leadership has a clear vision for socio-economic growth through private investment. The growth is guided by the country’s Vision 2020 roadmap.
  •  Investor Friendly Climate: Rwanda was ranked as the second best global reformer in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2012. It is also the most competitive place to do business in East Africa and 3rd on the continent (WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012). The country’s credit rating has been upgraded to a ‘B’ with a positive outlook by Standard and Poors in 2012. It is also listed among the top four African countries in terms of internet connectivity (Ookla), making Rwanda an increasingly attractive destination for foreign investors. It has established a new Special Economic Zone in Kigali and more such zones are planned elsewhere in the country.
  • Access to markets: Rwanda is a market of almost 11 million people with a rapidly growing middle class. Bordering three countries in East Africa, Rwanda is strategically located in a region that is in the progress of economic integration. Rwanda is part of the EAC Common Market and Customs Union that reaches more than 125 million people.
  • Soft assets: There are many special features that are little known outside of Rwanda, where the country is often associated with the genocide of 1994. It offers a clean, safe and peaceful environment, with a very low and declining crime rate.


It also has a development oriented Government, with a coherent policy vision and an unwavering commitment to reform. Rwanda is also an exceptionally beautiful country with a temperate climate which appeals to the growing number of visiting investors and tourists.


Rwanda opportunities:

Infrastructure: There has been public investment in core public infrastructure such as energy, the national fibre optic backbone and transportation which enables competitiveness across sectors. There are many more opportunities in rail and air transportation to further develop Rwanda as the hub of East Africa. Construction of a new airport is underway.

Agriculture: It is the backbone of the economy. Rwanda produces high quality coffee as well as fine teas. Given its favourable elevation and climate, there are more opportunities in this sector, especially in training and quality control. There is a case for further investment in food production in many new areas and there is potential for growth through productivity and value addition.

Energy: The Government of Rwanda has set ambitious targets to increase energy production (1000MW by 2017) and is diversifying sources of energy.  Opportunities for investment in the energy sector include: off grid generation, methane gas production (50to 60 billion m3), hydro and others. There are opportunities in financing to scale up the methane gas plant to 50 MW through an estimated investment of US$106m.  Further opportunities include a second concession at Lake Kivu and conversion of gas to liquid and fertilizer. Opportunities in alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, bio-mass, bio-diesel and waste to energy also exist.

Tourism: This is a major area of past and future growth. Rwanda is home to many well known and unique attractions, such as the rare mountain gorillas, an exceptionally beautiful landscape and a vast and diverse array of animal and plant life. The extraordinary number of bird species is estimated to be 701. These all have created a booming tourism sector but there is wide scope for future investment in hotels and lodges, training services, business and conference tourism, entertainment facilities, eco tourism and bird watching.

Information and Communication Technology: The Government is particularly keen on attracting investors in the ICT sector and is establishing a TechnoPark near Kigali to facilitate such investments. Meanwhile, domestic internet and telecommunications penetration is increasing significantly.

Other attractive sectors include real estate and construction, financial services and mining.

Rwanda is constantly finding creative ways, including providing quality services to boost its economic growth. It is an attractive investment destination that should form part of any balanced holding.


About the Rwanda Development Board

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is responsible for fast tracking Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. RDB’s scope of work involves working with and addressing the needs of companies of all sizes; Large and also Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). It also provides the following services:

  • Investment Promotion: RDB provides information on available opportunities, incentives and any other related investor information. It does this through organising sector specific investor conferences and events, and targeted investor meetings.
  • Investor Facilitation: RDB operates a One Stop Centre for investors, which provides information and services to guide investors through the key steps of starting a business (registration, licenses, immigration, land, utilities, environmental clearances and tax).
  • Policy and Advocacy: Through a public private dialogue process, RDB fulfils a critical policy advocacy role, bringing the investor perspective to government policies.


RDB also plays a critical role in developing strategic economic sectors, including ICT, Agriculture, Services, Trade and manufacturing, and Tourism.

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