UK-Rwanda relationship continues to go from strength to strength

Lord Dolar Popat, Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Uganda, Rwanda and DRC Tuesday 16th May 2023 06:56 EDT

Last week, I was fortunate enough to return to Rwanda in my capacity as the UK Prime Minister's Trade Envoy. I had visited the country in 2019 and again during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), and I was excited to see the progress made by Rwanda despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and Russia's war in Ukraine. Rwanda's resilience and determination to succeed is truly admirable.

As a country committed to promoting sustainable development globally, the UK is proud to support Rwanda's efforts towards achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Our partnership with Rwanda is based on mutual respect, accountability, and shared expertise aimed at tackling global challenges such as climate change, poverty reduction, financial reform, and gender equality.

During my visit, I had the honour of meeting His Excellency President Kagame and various ministers including the Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs. We had a fruitful discussion on areas where the UK and Rwanda could work together to foster trade, investment, and prosperity. I also met with the CEO of Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi who is doing a great job of supporting business that are investing in Rwanda. I am optimistic that the opportunities ahead are vast, and the UK is ready to partner with Rwanda in this journey.

One of the key pillars of the UK's International Development Strategy is British Investment Partnerships. These partnerships facilitate high-quality investment in developing countries, and Rwanda is a prime beneficiary. Development finance institutions such as British International Investment (BII, formerly known as CDC) and InfraCo Africa are working closely with Rwanda Finance Limited to attract more investment to Rwanda.

UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK's export credit agency, is also ready to provide up to £2bn investment to Rwanda, supporting projects that contain only 20% UK content. This financing option covers most economic sectors, including capital goods, services, and intangibles, and can benefit both the public and private sectors. UKEF's long-term financing solutions such as direct loans or unconditional guarantees to banks allow buyers to spread the costs of capital goods and services, providing a much-needed boost to Rwanda's economy.

Looking forward, the next major event on the agenda is the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London on 23-24 April 2024. The 2020 Summit marked an important milestone in our partnerships with African countries and announced over £6.5 billion of deals, plus a further £8.9 billion of investment commitments. The next Summit will build on this success by supporting job creation, economic growth, and promoting British and African talent in sectors such as finance and technology.

As the UK Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Rwanda, I am proud of what we have achieved so far, but there is still much to be done. Rwanda has established itself as a great destination for UK investment, and I will continue to advocate for the opportunities available to investors. I look forward to my next visit to Rwanda and hope to see significant progress in delivering clean green infrastructure and investments that will benefit all Rwandans. Together, we can build a brighter future for Rwanda and strengthen the ties between our two countries.

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