Rwanda wants to see Turkey be more active in Africa
by Yusuf Selman İnanç
ANKARASep 03, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Yusuf Selman İnanç
Sep 03, 2016 12:00 am
In a reception given by the Rwandan Ambassador to Turkey, Williams Nkurunziza, he said Rwanda wants to strengthen bilateral relations with Turkey and asks Ankara to take a more active role in terms of investment, as the country, known for its bloody past, seeks to forget the past and look for a brighter future.
Having amazing nature, wild life, national parks and the opportunity to become a tourist hot spot, Rwanda offers investors many encouragements and believes Turkey has a lot to contribute to its economic life. The country's economy is ready to grow more rapidly as agriculture, mining and tourism are the main sectors to be developed. Suffering from the image of the genocide that resulted in the killing of about 1 million people in 100 days, Rwanda believes when investors visit the country, the image in their mind will change now, since it is one of the most stable and secure African countries, the diplomat said.
Starting his words by condemning the July 15 coup attempt, orchestrated by the Fethullah Terror Group (FETÖ), the ambassador said the resistance of the Turkish people against the putschists was very impressive. Defending democracy in Turkey, he said, is crucial for its own people as well as for the world. Touching on the FETÖ school, based in Rwanda's capital Kigali, he said talks with the Turkish government continue and the school will be assigned to the Maarif Foundation. Unlike some other African countries, Rwanda has no intention of defending FETÖ and its members as the Kigali administration believes Turkey has great potential to contribute to Rwanda's development.
Moreover, declaring his admiration of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the ambassador said: "Turkey is such an important country for the region and world politics. I admire Erdoğan's words, saying the world is bigger than five." The ambassador continued: "The U.N. and its peacekeeping mission left us vulnerable and it closed its eyes during the massacres. After the genocide was committed and more than 3 million people were displaced, the U.N. sent its troops. But it was too late."
In spite of the genocide, Rwanda has made great advances in economic fields as well as creating a new society. "Rwanda, in 22 years, namely after the genocide, has become a central country for Africa in the fields of economic development, stability, gender equality, peace keeping and environment-friendly projects,"Nkurunziza said. He added that "Rwanda is the fourth biggest country sending troops to the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission. Sixty-four percent of the assembly is constituted by women and crucial ministries, like the ministry of foreign affairs and agriculture are run by women."
Moreover, the growth rate of the country's economy is around 8.8 percent. Rwanda is asking Turkey to invest in the country, and the ambassador recalled the words of Rwandese President Paul Kagame, saying that, "In Africa and Rwanda today, we recognize that trade and investment, and not aid, are pillars of development."
Rwanda seems to be attracting investors as it is close to countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Burundi. Although Rwanda's population is around 11 million, the total population of the East African Community is 152 million, which is a significant market. Moreover, Kigali keeps income tax as low as 15 percent and abolishes it for investments over $50 million. The ambassador said Turkish investors can go and see Rwanda to analyze what is best to do and the embassy will help in any way possible. The ambassador added that Turkey can be much more active in Africa, has the potential to compete with other investors and is more welcome.