The MoUs expected to promote trade relations have been signed today at the inaugural Rwanda-Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Conference.
The Conference, which will include business-to-business meetings between Zimbabwean and Rwandese private sector comes at a time when the country is diversifying its export markets.
Speaking at the event, the Deputy CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Zephanie Niyonkuru has said that the agreement will further strengthen existing cooperation.
“Rwanda works closely with Zimbabwe in different areas of mutual interests. These include trade, investment, infrastructure, energy and air transport among others,” he noted.
Niyonkuru also expressed optimism that signed MoUs will take cooperation to greater heights.
"Rwanda as a land-linked country at the heart of Africa will continue to seize Intra-Africa trade and investment opportunities through participation in the value chains connected to the African market. I wish to reiterate the shared values of our countries. Rwanda and Zimbabwe share a deep commitment to excellence and I believe these are the values that have served our working relationship in the past as they will in the future,” he said.
The conference that kicked off today in Kigali will end on Thursday.
It will be held in each of the two countries every year on rotational basis.
The Conference follows the resolution to intensify cooperation between Rwanda and Zimbabwe that saw several Memoranda of Understanding signed in March this year to cement bilateral relations at the inaugural virtual session of the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC).
The signed agreements include the Rwanda Development Board and ZimTrade cooperation whose objective is to promote mutually beneficial trade between the two countries.
Other agreements signed in March cover the General Cooperation Agreement on the Establishment of a JPCC, Diplomatic consultations, cooperation in the Field of Media, Information and Publicity, collaboration in legal and criminal matters.
To unlock opportunities presented by some of these agreements, the trade and investment conference that started today will unpack sector specific opportunities, compliance needs as well as route to market that will help Zimbabwean companies land products and services with ease in Rwanda, as well as attract foreign direct investment from the country.
Currently, Rwanda is a hub for a rapidly integrating Africa and with its central location in the region, is part of the East African Community Common Market and Customers Union which has a market potential of over 132 million people.
Increasing trade with Rwanda will open further markets to the EAC, and in turn increase Zimbabwe’s exports to the region.
ZimTrade Chief Executive Officer, Allan Majuru, said the trade and investment conference was organised to explore best approaches to unlock trade and investment opportunities in the continent and will create direct networks between the businesses in the two countries.
"The conference will unlock strategic partnerships between businesses in Zimbabwe and those in Rwanda, which will go a long way in growing the nation’s foreign currency earnings as well as improve investment. So, what we are doing through this programme is to provide a platform where businesses can engage meaningfully and take advantage of all available opportunities," said Majuru.