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Mining, energy sector players keen to seize CHOGM opportunities

Business operators in the local mining and energy sectors are gearing up for opportunities that the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be bringing to Rwanda.

The meeting is scheduled to take place in Kigali in June.

On Thursday, March 3, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) met with several actors in the two sectors and tipped them about the opportunities that they can tap into during the summit.

In an interview with media, Philip Lucky, the Head of Investment Marketing at RDB, said it is important for the local private sector to prepare well for CHOGM, since the meeting will attract many dignitaries, among whom are investors looking for investment opportunities in Rwanda.

“We are looking at how we can encourage Rwandans, especially the private sector to prepare to make the most out of it. We want to give them enough information about the CHOGM business forum and what opportunities they can have from it,” he said.

He noted that energy and mining sectors are important for the country’s economy, and the CHOGM summit presents an opportunity to boost their development.

“We want to advance our mining industry from artisanal to semi-mechanized, and then to fully industrial. For us to be able to achieve this, we need to find ways of connecting our local companies with international partners and companies,” he said.

He added that RDB is also looking at connecting local companies with good technology providers, financers, as well as business partners.

“We will be having various people from 53 different countries, including company CEOs, business executives, officials from private equity funds, investment banks, and so on,” he said, adding that they are looking forward to see local business people ink tangible deals with their foreign counterparts, which will be impactful for Rwanda’s economy in terms of providing employment among other things.

Leonidas Simpenzwe, the Vice president of the Rwanda Miners’ Association said the CHOGM is a great opportunity for making partnerships for improving the mining business in the country in terms of the professional know-how and increase of exports.

“We are going to prepare for it. We have more than 105 members. 12 of these are able to export minerals to foreign countries. We hope there can be improvement in our sector so that more miners can be able to export,” he noted.

Josephine Mbabazi, an official from Private Energy Developers, a solar energy firm, looks forward to financing opportunities and Business to Business partnerships.

“As the private sector, we look at this as a great opportunity because we will meet with people from various sectors from foreign countries. We will hold Business to Business discussions with them for partnerships. Also, we have challenges related to financing, so meeting with various businesses or investors can assist us in this regard so that we can grow our projects,” she said.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent and equal countries. Representing a third of the world it is home to 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries.

It is expected that more than 8,000 guests will be in the country for the summit and the several meetings organized on its margins.

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