Turkey, Rwanda seek greater cooperation in financial sector: Envoy

Turkey is exploring additional cooperation opportunities with Rwanda in the financial sector as it displays great efforts to become a financial hub for Africa, with the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC), according to a Turkish diplomat.

KIFC is an initiative seeking to position Rwanda as a preferred financial hub for investments on the continent and create alternatives for mobilizing capital.

“Turkey’s Aktif Bank is opening a Representation Office in Kigali to cover East Africa pending the final clearance from the Rwanda National Bank,” Burcu Cevik told Anadolu Agency.

Cevik said that DEİK, Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board and Rwanda Finance Ltd -- a company that promotes KIFC -- took an important step to organize a webinar on June 2 to discuss various cooperation possibilities.

The diplomat said despite Rwanda being a small landlocked country, it is party to all regional and continental free trade schemes that also allow potential investors to use Rwanda as a base to reach wider markets in the region.

“Rwanda’s business-friendly environment, political stability, its adherence to the rule of law principle and existence of strong institutions has attracted more interest from Turkey in recent years,” she noted.

Cevik said Rwanda is the second easiest country to do business in Africa according to the World Bank Index. “It is ranked first in East Africa. With respect to fighting against corruption, Rwanda is in fourth place in Africa. Rwanda is also among the most secure countries in Africa,” she said, noting it is worthy of investment.

Trade relations flourish

Cevik revealed that trade relations between Turkey and Rwanda have grown rapidly despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“In 2020 total trade volume between Turkey-Rwanda doubled compared to the previous year, reaching $81.4 million,” she said, adding that Turkey offers a good and reliable supply market for goods and materials for Rwanda.

“Turkey is showing more interest in buying minerals and coffee from Rwanda, whereas Rwanda buys mainly all kinds of consumption materials, including iron and steel products, food items, electronics, medical equipment, construction materials and textiles, among others,” said Cevik.

Trade relations flourish

The diplomat said Turkey’s investments in Rwanda have concentrated mainly around energy, construction, education, health, manufacturing and hospitality.

“The biggest Turkish investment in Rwanda is the Peat Power Plant investment with 80 MGW [megawatt] capacity,” said Cevik.“It is the single biggest foreign investment in Rwanda so far.”

Once construction is complete, the plant in southern Rwanda will be a major input for meeting the country’s energy requirements and targets.​​​​​​​