THE Zimbabwe trade promotion body, ZimTrade, has urged local business to tape into the existing relations with Rwanda to look for investment opportunities ahead of the Rwanda-Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Conference to be held in two weeks.
ZimTrade Chief Executive Officer, Allan Majuru said the conference to be held from the 24th to the 26th of this month in Kigali offers an opportunity for further economic cooperation between the two countries.
“Rwanda has been enjoying a strong economy, which has grown at an annual GDP average rate of eight per cent for the past decade. Zimbabwe and Rwanda relations are at an all-time high as the two countries are planning to set up a Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation, which will strengthen economic and political engagements.
“One of the areas which the Joint Permanent Commission is expected to focus on is trade relations, in the context of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which seeks to make it easy for African countries to trade with each other,” said Majuru.
He said the services sector in Rwanda contributes about 48 percent to GDP, followed by agriculture at 29 percent and the industrial sectors at 16 percent.
“This strong economy, therefore, offers opportunities for Zimbabwean businesses and access to the market can be easily realised if local companies focus on areas they enjoy comparative and competitive advantages.
“Rwanda is currently developing its skills base and this has opened opportunities for local businesses to supply an array of services, including labour to the country. There are supply opportunities for services in almost all sectors, but easy wins are in tourism, education, construction and agriculture,” he said.
Local firms can utilise the highly skilled human capital base to come up with creative offerings that can appeal to a young generation who make up the bulk of consumers in Rwanda.
“Zimbabweans have a strong command of English and have a deeper understanding of the tourism sector, thanks to programmes offered by local learning institutions. Knowledge of operations of the tourism sector is a skill that is in demand in Rwanda and local consulting firms can consider tapping into this sector by offering skills training to personnel in the Rwanda tourism sector.
“Local human capital development consulting firms can offer training such as etiquette and grooming to the Rwandan tourism sector,” said Majuru.
Riding on daily flights between Harare and Kigali, there is room to boost tourism in the two countries by focusing on improved engagements at a company level.
Majuru said Rwanda is a hub for a rapidly integrating Africa and is part of East African Community Common Market and Customers Union with 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. The EAC has combined Gross Domestic Product of more than US$177 billion. Rwanda and Zimbabwe are both members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, a free-trade bloc involving 19 countries,” he said.
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