Leading Lebanese entrepreneurs are set to visit Rwanda later this year to explore investment and trade opportunities in one of Africa’s fastest growing economies.
The announcement was made by the Chairman of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Lebanon (FCCIAL), Mr Mohamed Choucair, at the closure of a Rwanda Trade and Investment seminar at FCCIAL’s headquarterss, in Beirut, on Monday, 8th May 2017. MrChoucar, a leading business man in his own right, undertook to lead the delegation from 8th to 11th October 2017.
MrChoucair who co-chaired the seminar wirh Rwanda’s Ambassador to Lebanon, Williams Nkurunziza, welcomed the new engagement with Rwanda and expressed a desire to see more trade and investment flows between the two countries. Last year, Lebanese exports to Rwanda amounted to $281,000 while it imported nothing from Rwanda, he noted, adding that this pointed at the need to do more, in both directions.
Speaking to the seminar which was attended by some 30 of Beirut’s major business houses, Ambassador Nkurunziza not only highlighted Rwanda’s readiness for business, but also the fact that it was a virgin economy and an excellent launch-pad for discerning entrepreneurs keen on building an enduring business presence in Rwanda.
He shared with participants benefits for industrial investments presented by the flagship Made in Rwanda campaign as well as opportunities for investments in agro-industry, including large scale prodution of fruits, vegetables and poultry. Lebanon is a major producer and exporter vegetables and fruits such as table grapes and apples. In response to questions, the Ambassador also provided information on issues of land ownership, capital repatriation, labour skills and costs, purchasing power and industrial protection under the made In Rwanda Campaign.
In selling Rwanda to the participants, the Ambassador was assisted by Rwanda’s Honorary Envoy in the Middle East, Mr Tarek Ragheb, and Ms Hana Hallaj, Managing Director of the Kigali-based INTech Investments Ltd and Mr William Saad, a leading Lebanese businessman and partner in ISH which owns 26,000 telecommunication towers across, including Rwanda. All three have business experience with Rwanda and told participants the country was like an efficient European economy operating in the heart of Africa.
Some of the companies that expressed interest in the Rwanda proposition operate in sectors like furniture and paint manufacturing, agro-industry including coffee and nut growing and processing, micro-finance, motorcycle manufacturing and petroleum goods’ trading. All these indicate they would be part of the Chamber business delegation to Rwanda later in the year.