Global Uncertainty, Ebola Perceptions Hurt Foreign Investment To Rwanda In 2014

Written by Kevin Mwanza

Foreign investment into Rwanda dipped in 2014 due to what the chief executive of the Rwanda Development Board (RDA) says was uncertainty in the global outlook that cut number of business traveler to the tinny east African landlocked country and misconceptions about Ebola spread in Africa.

FDI to Rwanda dropped by 12 percent to $390 million, from $445 million the previous year.

“Global economic trends like reduced commodity prices, rising costs for manufactured products and general global uncertainty” RDA chief executive officer, Francis Gatare told Bloomberg in an interview

“Ebola is an indirect cause due to bad publicity for all of Africa.”

Ebola broke out in West Africa 13 months ago and has spread within the region, killing more than 8,000 people, although countries like Nigeria, Mali and Senegal have succeeded in eradicating it and there are signs other affected countries are making progress.

East African countries including Rwanda have not had a single case of the virus, but negative media coverage of the disease in western nations has hurt investor perception of the entire continent.

Rwanda is one of the fast growing nation in Africa with an average economic rise of 8 percent per annum for over a decade, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The President Paul Kagame led nation usually attracts small scale projects of less than $20 million. These, Gatare told Bloomberg, are expected to create about 10,000 jobs.

The largest investment the country has ever got was  a $157 million commitment by U.S.-based Symbion Power for a 50-megawatt methane-gas project at Lake Kivu, in the west.