Rwanda: five lesser-known business opportunities

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Kigali, Rwanda

By Dr. Harnet Bokrezion

Greetings from the beautiful Rwanda where the return of the rains rejuvenated agricultural activities after a long dry summer. The first quarter of 2023 saw Rwanda’s economy grows by 9.2%, outperforming all other economies in the East African region. In this article, I highlight several business and investment trends in Rwanda that might not be immediately obvious outside the country.

1. Real estate is booming

Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, is currently experiencing a real estate a boom I haven’t seen in the last decade, and secondary cities across the country are following suit. Those interested in real estate investments should really jump on the bandwagon quickly as the trend is still on the rise. Due to increased economic growth and the influx of new industrial players into the country, there are real estate development opportunities for commercial spaces, new family homes, hospitality premises and smaller residential units generating income. income. Residential land prices in some prime areas have almost doubled over the past two years.

Related services such as property management, interior design, landscaping, security, affordable building solutions and furniture are other areas that offer potential.

The particularity of building and buying real estate in Kigali lies in the low risk for investors. The city’s master plan is effective and property rights are simple for both nationals and foreigners.

2. Cater to the high-end market

One of the smartest strategies implemented by the government of Rwanda in this small landlocked country is to go upscale. In other words, Rwanda aims to significantly increase its economic output per square kilometer by increasing the market value of its output. To achieve this, it strategically develops high-end luxury niches in tourism and hospitality, international sports, meetings and exhibitions, real estate, finance and other selected services.

Although the country attracts seasoned businesspeople, high-net-worth travelers and high-net-worth individuals, there remains a limited range of luxury offerings available to this consumer group. This gap represents a significant opportunity for enterprising entrepreneurs to design premium offerings in sectors such as tourism and hospitality, agribusiness, private concierge services, transportation, financial services and retail. .

3. Leverage the green economy

Did you know that Rwanda is one of the most advanced green economies in Africa? Well, now it is. With a pioneering country in green solutions and with rapidly changing global consumer habits and policies, Rwanda is a good market to introduce green products and services. However, it should be kept in mind that the size of the Rwandan market is somewhat limited. Therefore, any green solution must be developed thoughtfully to be profitable. Here are a few tips :

  • Design products and services for a wider region, such as the East African Community, to secure a wider potential customer base.
  • Pilot a lite version of your green product first to assess its viability before investing heavily.
  • Position your green solutions at the premium level to attract regional industry buyers with purchasing power, such as corporations, large manufacturers and exporters, sustainable real estate developers or larger infrastructure projects .

4. Kigali startups need investors and services

that of Kigali technology The startup scene has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. And while it still lags behind cities like Nairobi, it has become a new hub in its own right since Norrsken created an entire startup campus in the heart of the city. Kigali’s new startup scene is attracting young entrepreneurs, accelerators and incubators, creating demands for financing, training and a variety of other services and products.

Additionally, the government of Rwanda recently drafted a new act of starting. If approved, Rwanda will join a handful of African countries, such as Tunisia And Senegal, which adopted similar acts. This bill could offer substantial incentives to tech startups in Rwanda: VAT and corporate tax exemptions for five years, 0% tax on employees (PAYE), no tax on shareholder income for founders, immigration benefits, access to capital and support for intellectual activities. property and patents. Clearly, Rwanda aspires to become a notable technology hub in the East African region.

5. Investments are dynamic around Rwanda’s lakes

Rwanda continues to invest in infrastructure around its beautiful lakes, while ensuring sustainability and economic inclusion for local communities. The majority of these efforts are located in the Lake Kivu and Lake Muhazi watersheds. The development of Kivu Belt, for example, which was designed by the government to attract more tourists to Rwanda and keep them in the country longer, was accompanied by new roads, serviced land and a range of well-designed tourist trails and ‘offers around trekking, water. sport and well-being. Because more and more people around the world are now also appreciating the beauty of nature since facing global pandemic lockdowns, we are clearly seeing a new trend among investors to invest their money in both in private and commercial real estate, hospitality and tourism services around the serene lakes of Rwanda. .

**Join Dr. Harnet Bokrezion’s African Real Estate Network, connecting African investors and the diaspora with trusted real estate deals and industry experts across the continent. How we succeeded in Africa readers are entitled to a special discount. Click for more information. **

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