Minister's speech during the Golden Circle Gala Dinner
BY HON. AMB. VALENTINE RUGWABIZA, MINISTER-MINEAC
ON BEHALF OF THE RT. HON. PRIME MINISTER
SERENA HOTEL 30th January, 2015
- HONOURABLE MINISTERS HERE PRESENT;
- CHAIRMAN OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR FEDERATION;
- BOARD MEMBERS OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR FEDERATION;
- GOLDEN CIRCLE MEMBERS;
- DISTINGUISHED GUESTS;
- LADIES AND GENTLEMEN;
It is my great pleasure tonight to participate at the 2nd edition of the Golden Circle Gala Dinner 2015. I want to thank you for your warm welcome and for your kind invitation to this exciting event. I am informed that you held fruitful and engaging discussions during the afternoon sessions that yielded tangible outcomes. I look forward to hearing more from you all.
On behalf of the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda, I wish to extend his gratitude for your invitation and to convey his sincere appreciation of the role that PSF has been playing in the ongoing socio-economic transformation of our beautiful country.
I particularly want to extend my appreciation to all the Golden Circle Members. Today, in your diverse sectors of our economy, you stand as a united, stronger, healthier, and vibrant club that is significantly contributing to the development of Rwanda. You are, indeed, the captains of industry and the true champions of our economy. Your commitment to PSF is synonymous to commitment to Rwanda’s socio-economic transformation and growth agenda.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Government of Rwanda is proud and happy to partner with an organization like PSF; an organization that is strategically mobilizing our business community to ensure a responsible private sector, well governed, and a private sector that can effectively compete with other responsible investors, manufacturers, exporters and service providers here, within the region and world over.
Tonight, I see the faces of many committed investors. I also see the brands and logos of responsible investors committed to the sustainable development of Rwanda. I thank and applaud you. Please, keep the candle burning and I encourage others to emulate you.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Government remains and stands fully committed to play its part – to ensure peace, security, and a more conducive business environment for private sector development to be the engine of social-economic transformation of Rwanda. More importantly, the Government is increasingly relentless in partnering with you – captains of industry to unlock existing challenges and to facilitate you deliver on your investments. Once again, allow me to acknowledge PSF’s role in mobilizing private sector players, who have partnered with Government, through MoUs – aimed at facilitating and accelerating private sector delivery in order to boost export competitiveness. I encourage you, the investors in all sectors, to embrace this and other innovative initiatives.
The business climate is increasingly becoming more favorable for investment growth owing to various interventions to enhance the legal, regulatory, and the general business environment such as: institutional reforms; tax reforms and friendlier regulations; deepening and acceleration of regional integration; investments in infrastructure including energy through hydro, peat, methane.
Today, Rwanda is ranked as the best performing country in the EAC, the third easiest place to do business in Africa after Mauritius and South Africa, and 46th worldwide. The Government of Rwanda strives to surpass this performance and is committed to deepening the reform agenda in order to continuously support private sector to thrive.
While we have made important gains in the ease of doing business, the costs of production and trade, including cross-border trade remain high in EAC. This is why our Government, led by His Excellency Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, working very closely with our sister countries of the Northern Corridor of EAC (Uganda and Kenya) – is spearheading efforts to accelerate the implementation of EAC projects, which have already started to make an impact on the costs of doing business and increase business opportunities.
There are a few projects that deserve mentioning, and these include: the implementation of the Single Customs Territory, on both Northern and Central Corridors; the One Network Area; full operationalization of a number of One Stop Border Posts; Free Movement of ordinary citizens and business people with IDs, etc. All these projects are already making a significant impact to our businesses and citizens.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Allow me to also make a few remarks on the theme tonight, which seeks to find solutions to access to finance. Firstly, access to finance remains a critical challenge: the proportion of investments financed by banks is extremely low, around 20%, and there is also the high cost of capital among others.
The positive news is that there is always a silver lining, and solutions abound to address the challenges related to bank lending and financing problems in Rwanda. Let me highlight a few: We must increase the effectiveness of collateral registries for movable assets to increase firms' access to finance, especially so for smaller firms which are credit-constrained; Increase competition both within the banking sector and between banking and non-banking financial sectors (e.g. by allowing non-banking firms to offer to some types of financial services) so as to facilitate the expansion of the range of alternative sources of credit to the private sector.
In addition, I wish to encourage the golden circle members to actively participate in the Bond Market and other emerging money markets in Rwanda. The capital market is a long term solution with regards to access to finance. I would like to also urge the private sector to explore financing options beyond our borders. We have to actively engage and use the EAC market we are part of to our fullest advantage.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
As you are all aware, our EDPRS II envisages the private sector as instrumental to creating sustainable economic growth and employment. Without private sector-driven growth, we cannot be successful in eradicating poverty or mobilizing the necessary domestic resources for education, health and other social services.
Tonight, as we unveil the 2nd edition of the Golden Circle Profiler, the Government of Rwanda takes great delight in seeing our private sector promisingly take shape and demonstrating a greater sense of ownership, leadership and responsibility.
It is therefore, my great honor to launch the 2nd edition of the Golden Circle Profiler. This is more than just a book, but also a tangible fact that Doing Business in Rwanda is a reality.
As I conclude my remarks, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and productive New Year. Let us celebrate our achievements to date, but also reflect and strategize for a brighter future. I wish you continued success.
Thank you and enjoy the rest of the evening!