Rwanda Jumps On Special Economic Zone Plans

Rwanda Jumps On Special Economic Zone Plans

Designating areas where the potential within industries such as manufacturing, tourism and hospitality is bought to the forefront explains the gist of creating a special economic zone (SEZ).

According to Xinhua, Rwanda is planning to further implement The Rwanda Special Economic Zones, a program headed by the Rwanda Development Board, which aims to make industries — and Rwanda as a whole — more attractive to investors.

Skills development and the service industry, the report said, are areas inclusive of the aforementioned which could use the most investment.

“We are planning to construct SEZs economic zones across the country where investors will have the opportunity to explore the untapped potentials in Rwanda,” Francois Kanimba, Rwanda’s minister of trade and industry told Xinhua.

A 2010 government document revealed the country’s SEZ roadmap plan outlining how the move would benefit stakeholders, unemployment, private sector investment and more.

The government document mentioned that while private sector and foreign investment is a big help, domestic investment creates up to 30 percent more jobs and solidifies deeper ties.

“SEZs could be very effective in the Rwandan context as they address key business constraints, including difficulties in accessing land for industrial and commercial development, weak infrastructure, high regulatory burden and high tax compliance costs,” the report said.

“However, SEZs are not a panacea — 30 years of experience have shown mixed results with many successful and unsuccessful SEZs. The success, in large part, is determined by policy choices on the development, operation and benefits of SEZs and the legal and institutional framework.”

Last year Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources reported that SEZ initiatives that were already rolling have bolstered the tea sector. In addition to being named one of Africa’s top reformed countries, Rwanda’s business climate is highly competitive within the global community placing 32nd out of 189 countries, the ministry reported.

Over 13 years, beginning in 2000, Rwanda’s agriculture sector had almost 200 private sector investment projects worth more than $500 million.