Monday, 11 November 2013

South African investors eye infrastructure sector

South African investors eye infrastructure sector

Meijer (R) listens as Pichette Kampeta Sayinzoga, PS in the Ministry of Finance, briefs the media. Left is Denis Karera, Ghana’s consul to Rwanda.

A delegation of business leaders from South Africa has expressed interest in investing in various sectors in Rwanda, especially in infrastructure development.

The 30-member delegation, led by Klaas Meijer, the managing director of Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), is in the country to attend the second edition of East African Investment Business Summit.

The two-day conference in Kigali is aimed at giving firsthand information to investors regarding opportunities in Rwanda and the wider East African region.

“Rwanda is a good place for investment; we encourage South African businesses to consider investing in Rwanda. We invested in Cimerwa, Rwanda’s cement factory, and it has resulted in huge dividends,” Meijer told The New Times on the sidelines of the meeting.

Past shares venture

In December, last year, Meijer’s PPC, South Africa’s largest cement firm, bought 51 per cent of Cimerwa’s equity at a tune of $69.4 million.

The PPC boss noted: “We are delighted to get involved in infrastructure development in East Africa and we hope to invest in other areas apart from cement. We wish to invest in infrastructure development because we have seen a gap in that area.”

Meijer said PPC’s venture will play a key role in attracting South African firms to Rwanda for possible investment opportunities.

“Cement is our core business but this won’t stop us from investing in other areas like roof tiles. We have been able to make significant contribution towards Cimerwa operations.  I cannot divulge more details but I can tell you that there has been major improvement in terms of value added,” he said.

Cimerwa currently produces 100,000 tonnes per year, but the plant’s production capacity is expected to increase to 600,000 tonnes per year once a new plant is completed in 2014.

Xolani Qubeka, the South Africa Black Business Council chief executive, said Rwanda’s economic progress is amazing and presents an opportunity for investors to explore possible investments.

“We are impressed by Rwanda’s stable economy and vast opportunities that are presented to us. I encourage our members from the Council to come and discover exactly where they would invest. Infrastructure development is one of the key areas members could explore as well as consumer goods,” Qubeka said.

Rwanda’s rise

At the summit, Pichette Sayinzoga, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, highlighted Rwanda’s transformation process over the past 19 years.

“We are focusing on increasing private sector investments in our country. We want a private sector driven economy. Rwanda’s business environment is conducive and we have been able to perform well when it comes to the World Bank Doing Business reports,” Sayinzoga, also the Secretary to the Treasury, said.

The World Bank’s Doing Business Report 201 4 ranked Rwanda second-best place to do business in Africa after Mauritius.

The annual World Bank report, which assesses country-by-country performance in ease of doing business, shows that Rwanda moved 22 places, to 32nd out of 189 countries globally.

Vivian Kayitesi, the head of investment promotion and implementation at the Rwanda Development Board, said the meeting provided a platform for investors to explore potential areas of investment.

“When we invite private investors from South Africa to come and see opportunities available and invest, we looked at the success of Pretoria Portland Cement because they are key investors,” Kayitesi said.

“They have a good story to tell other investors. Doing business with Rwanda is really doing business with the region. It’s a good chance for them to discover the opportunities available in Rwanda,” she added.

The investment summit was organised by Rwanda and South Africa in partnership with Rwanda’s High Commission in South Africa and sponsored by PPC.

South African investors eye infrastructure sector


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