By Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome
When the Rwandan business community participate in the upcoming regional trade fair in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, it will be one of several they will attend across the year in West Africa.
Aided by regular flights from national airline RwandAir, which now flies to Brazzaville and Libreville, Lagos and Accra and will launch flights to Douala on March 30, the Rwandan business community has been making use of the cargo capacity available on such flights to export a range of goods to these Western African destinations. At the same time, no trade fair will be complete without The Land of a Thousand Hills showcasing the country’s tourism attractions, investment opportunities and seeking to meet the demand for goods in Rwanda from such countries and it is evident that the decision in late 2012 to stop cumbersome Visa processes for citizens of the member states of the African Union and grant Visa on arrival since January last year has been successful in supporting trade and tourism links.
It is such a holistic approach which has over time increase commerce and travel and is benefitting RwandAir as an airline of choice when travelling to Kigali, or via Kigali to the rest of East Africa and to such places like Johannesburg and Dubai. Said a regular source from Kigali while passing the trade fair participation details on: “We like to leave nothing to chance. When the country attends tourism fairs, everybody on the stand is also an ambassador to promote investments and trade and the same is happening here now. When our exporters attend commerce trade shows, they always use it as a platform to also promote travel, to Rwanda and by RwandAir. We are succeeding because we are united in one purpose, to build Rwanda.”
A statement, not just befitting but also explaining how nearly 20 years after the genocide, which was driven by tribal hatred which the then regime perpetrated and promoted, the country has made such a miraculous recovery by providing that crucially important enabling environment for all Rwandans to prosper in whatever they do. None other than President Paul Kagame in fact earlier this week, while speaking in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum, reaffirmed Rwanda’s secret of success and strength of purpose when he was quoted to have said that a sound national vision, discipline and a resilient mindset were the cornerstones of the country’s rise, often described like that of the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes.