Turkish investors should take stronger steps to develop economic relations between Turkey and Rwanda, Rwandan Ambassador to Ankara Williams Nkurinziza said.
Speaking to media and tourism sector representatives at the embassy in Ankara Tuesday, Nkurinziza said it is necessary to develop better bilateral engagement between Rwanda and Turkey, concerning mutual interests in tourism, trade and other areas. Ankara should also boost its engagement with the entire African continent that "has a market of nearly 1.3 billion people."
Despite suffering a genocide that resulted in the death of about 1 million people in 1994, Rwanda quickly healed its wounds and became an exemplary state in terms of stability, gender equality and welfare in a volatile region.
While the country's growth rate stood at nearly 8% in the last decade, it is also regarded as one of the best places for investment with low corruption and business-friendly laws, according to international investment reports.
Besides business prospects, Rwanda offers various tourism opportunities with its great nature, wildlife and national parks. The country also has a significant place in the world in terms of women participation in the public sphere, as 64% of parliamentarians, more than 40% of the cabinet and 50% of judges are women.
Turkish investors have already undertaken some substantial construction projects, including a $300 million convention center, a $350 million power plant and a sports arena in the capital city of Kigali.
Stressing that Turkish people and businessman have a lot of engagement with North African countries due to the historical heritage of the Ottoman Empire, Nkurinziza said the sub-Saharan part of the continent also offers great opportunities in terms of investment in many areas, including housing, energy and tourism.
"We spoke with very successful Turkish business people who do business with Europe, the Americas and other parts of the world. But they are hesitant to come to Africa due to prejudices regarding the continent. We are here to change this perception," the ambassador said.
The declaration of 2005 as the year of Africa gave significant momentum to political and commercial relations between Turkey and countries on the continent. Turkey's improving relations with African countries have also been reflected in the growing trade volume.
Between 2009 and 2018, the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and the African continent stood at $179 billion. Trade with North African countries totaled $117.5 billion, accounting for 66% of total trade with countries on the continent.