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Rwanda in Fast-forward Mode

Make a mention of Rwanda and the images that flash across one’s mind are that of the horrifying genocide of 1994 where more than a million people from two African tribal communities were slaughtered, But that is not what Rwanda wants Bengalureans to remember; instead it wants the city to learn about how Rwanda did a U-turn in the last 24 years.

Members of the Rwanda Development Board and the Ambassador of Rwanda to India came to Bengaluru on Saturday to invite the state for tourism and investment in the country.

A five-member team which included Linda Mutesi, tourism marketing division manager, and Ernest Rwamucyo, high commissioner of Rwanda, came to Bengaluru especially to seek investment and promote their country as a tourism destination.

Linda said, "There are three simple reasons that will attract you to my country. The safety provided by my country is the best. At anytime of the day or night there is tight vigilance and security at every area.

There is no fear of robbery or any untoward incident. In case of an emergency at any public place, we would airlift tourists using a helicopter. However, the facility will cost the tourist only $20 and will be immediate."

Apart from being a clean, safe country of mountains, Linda urged people from Karnataka to come there for an educational trip. Linda said, "We as a country got a rebirth after the genocide. We have a lot of people who come to Rwanda to see, believe and learn from us on how we have overcome the problems post the genocide.

The reconciliation process of the country attracts a lot of people and we think even people from Bengaluru and Karnataka should come and have a look at the process."

Along with promoting the country as a tourist destination, the delegates also made sure that the ease of business that their country has is highlighted and Indians take advantage of it.

Ernest said, "We have a growing partnership between India and Rwanda. India is one of the largest investors in the country. We are hoping to have more investments in various sectors from India.

We have made sure there is an environment that is favourable for investors. We register a business in one day right from buying land to registration of the firm, all in a single-window process.

We also allow 100 per cent ownership of an investor in the business. To make it even easier for people in Bengaluru, we have set up a Rwanda Investment Centre in Bengaluru itself. One can get all information and help needed from the outfit here."

"While the country is in rebirth mode, investments in any sector are welcome. Rwanda mainly sees investments in five sectors from Indians. These include agriculture, tourism (in terms of big chains of hotels and travel agencies), and food processing, manufacturing and mining sectors. Bengaluru is the Silicon Valley of India.

"We hope there will be investments in IT and communication sectors in Rwanda from here. We have already got investments in agriculture, manufacturing and mining. We want to continue our partnership and make it grow," Ernest said.

Ernest says it is not just a one-way partnership as a lot of students from Rwanda actually benefit from the Indian education system.

He added, "We have a huge data of students who have come to various institutes of India and are studying here. In fact, most people in our government have either a postgraduation or a graduation degree from one of the institutes in India. We continue to encourage students to come to India and study here.

We have scholarships as well. We have kept close contact with the students as well as with colleges where they study and provide them with all the help they need."

Last year, there has been a total of $5 million investments from India in Rwanda.

Some of the big investments from Bengaluru have been by Bhagyalakshmi trading company in the agriculture sector
and Rajesh Exports in the mining sector.

By Robert Muriisa.

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