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PEACE AND STABILITY; predictability of political leadership; firm commitment to democracy and good governance as well as faith in private sector development ? these are the defining pillars of Rwanda’s investment climate.

Rwanda has fully embraced the principles of free market economy. Since 1994, the government embarked on a comprehensive liberalisation of its economy, initiated appropriate legislative reforms, promoted free trade and pursued regional integration targets as set out under the Cross-Border Initiative (CBI) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Apart from its COMESA membership, Rwanda has also been invited to join the Commission for East African Community (EAC). In keeping with its regional integration commitments, Rwanda has reduced its tariff rates and eliminated all export taxes and other no-tariff barriers.

As a developing country, Rwanda also has duty and quota free access into the USA and EU markets in line with provisions of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Cotonou Arrangement, respectively. AGOA opens the lucrative USA market to over 6,500 products from deserving African countries, Rwanda among them.

The combination of political commitment to free market economy, the
privatisation programme, good governance, an attractive investment code
and appropriate institutional reforms to support private sector

development make Rwanda’s investment environment the equal of any in the region and continent. And the rest of the world is taking notice: A recent World Bank Doing Business survey ranked Rwanda as the best country in Africa in terms of economic reforms and the 11 th in the whole world. Similarly, a study by the same institution estimates that it takes only 21 days to open a business in Rwanda, well ahead of a first world economy like Japan at 32 days. A 2004 IMF business survey ranked Rwanda as one of the top “three lion cubs” in Africa on account of its strong economic growth measured by steady and robust GDP growth rate.

According to the September 2005 edition of the IMF World Economic Outlook Database, over the last five years Rwanda also registered the third highest Purchasing Power Parity in Africa at 27% after Botswana and Mauritius. Equally, a 2003 report by the World Bank ranked Rwanda as one of Africa’s top performers in terms of good governance and least levels of corruption. On the ground, the country’s investment promotion agency, RIEPA, runs a One-Stop-Center that provides efficient immigration, customs, labour and company incorporation facilitation services to investors.