Rwanda taps India for food security, investment




By IANS,

New Delhi : Rwanda, a rising economy located at the crossroads of Central and East Africa, Tuesday pitched for greater trade with India and sought this country's expertise in bolstering its food security and infrastructure sector.

"India is an important opportunity and a growing market. Africa is also on the path of growth. The opportunities are immense," Rwandan Agriculture Minister Agnes M. Kalibata told Indian businessmen and investors at a trade roadshow that kicked off here. The minister focused on food security as a potential area of cooperation.

"Rwanda has been chronically food insecure. We are looking to India which launched a Green Revolution and has managed to create food security for its 1.2 billion people," she said.

Kalibata is leading an 11-member trade delegation to India that includes Clare Akamanzi, chief operations officer of the Rwanda Development Board, Emmanuel Hategeka, permanent secretary in the trade ministry, and chiefs of private companies.

Alluding to the transformation of Rwanda from a nation racked by violence and genocide nearly two decades ago into an investor-friendly vibrant economy, Kalibata underlined key priorities of nation building and invited Indian companies to participate in business and development of her country.

She said there was enormous scope for investment and cooperation in an array of areas, including agriculture, education, health, infrastructure, IT and knowledge industries.

"India has been a preferred partner in capacity building and skill development. We encourage more Indian investment," she said.

The two sides are also seeking to firm deals in agro-processing and packaging, construction, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing of textiles and garments, banking and financial services.

The trade roadshow has been organised by the Rwanda High Commission in India and the Rwanda Development Board in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises.

The World Bank's Doing Business Report (2010) ranks Rwanda as the top pro-business reformer in the world. It also ranks Rwanda top in East Africa in terms of ease of doing business.

Building upon President Paul Kagame's pro-reforms policies, Rwanda has projected itself as a the strategic launching pad into the East and Central African market of nearly 200 million people with a combined GDP of over $100 billion.

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