Rwanda is hoping to position itself as a regional financial hub with its Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC), and this has caught the attention of Turkey, which is keen to explore additional cooperation opportunities with the African country in the financial sector.
KIFC is an initiative seeking to position Rwanda as a preferred financial hub for investments on the continent and to create alternatives for mobilizing capital.
“Turkey’s Aktif Bank is opening a Representation Office in Kigali to cover East Africa pending the final clearance from the Rwanda National Bank,” Burcu Çevik, Turkey’s ambassador to Rwanda, told Anadolu Agency (AA).
Cevik said that Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and Rwanda Finance Ltd – a company that promotes KIFC – took an important step to organize a webinar on June 2 to discuss various cooperation possibilities.
The diplomat said despite Rwanda being a small landlocked country, it is party to all of the regional and continental free trade schemes that also allow potential investors to use Rwanda as a base to reach wider markets in the region.
“Rwanda’s business-friendly environment, political stability, its adherence to the rule of law principle and existence of strong institutions have attracted more interest from Turkey in recent years,” she noted.
Çevik said Rwanda is the second easiest country to do business with in Africa according to the World Bank Index. “It is ranked first in East Africa. With respect to fighting against corruption, Rwanda is in fourth place in Africa. Rwanda is also among the most secure countries in Africa,” she said, noting it is worthy of investment.
Trade relations flourish
Çevik revealed that trade relations between Turkey and Rwanda have grown rapidly despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“In 2020 the total trade volume between Turkey-Rwanda doubled compared to the previous year, reaching $81.4 million,” she said. She added that Turkey offers a good and reliable supply market for goods and materials for Rwanda.
“Turkey is showing more interest in buying minerals and coffee from Rwanda, whereas Rwanda buys mainly all kinds of consumption materials, including iron and steel products, food items, electronics, medical equipment, construction materials and textiles, among others,” said Çevik.
The diplomat said Turkey’s investments in Rwanda have concentrated mainly around energy, construction, education, health, manufacturing and hospitality.
“The biggest Turkish investment in Rwanda is the Peat Power Plant investment with 80-megawatt capacity,” said Çevik.”It is the single biggest foreign investment in Rwanda so far.”
Once construction is complete, the plant in southern Rwanda will be a major input for meeting the country’s energy requirements and targets.