Doing Business in Rwanda

Exporting to Rwanda

President Obama announced the National Export Initiative (NEI) two years ago, with the goal of doubling exports by 2014. The U.S. Embassy is committed to supporting American companies’ efforts to begin exporting or to increase exports to Rwanda. In this section, you will find a brief description of Rwanda as an export market and some suggestions for getting started.

Export Opportunities

The principal drivers of the Rwandan economy are the production of agricultural and mineral commodities, tourism, and construction.  Additionally, the Government of Rwanda maintains a significant focus on improving Rwanda’s energy and transportation infrastructure.  Significant U.S. export opportunities exist for companies producing agricultural inputs (fertilizer, seed), agro-processing equipment, and construction and aviation equipment.  As the Government of Rwanda looks to invest heavily in renewable energy production, producers of equipment used in the production of electricity from solar, hydro and geothermal sources may find significant export opportunities.

Getting Started

Below are several practical steps a potential investor or exporter should follow to make the best use of the Embassy’s services.

  1. Visit the export.gov page on Rwanda to get an overview of economic conditions and opportunities.  The U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library contains more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, authored by our specialists working in overseas posts.The Library Includes:
  • Country Commercial Guides (read the latest “Doing Business In” guides)
  • Industry Overviews
  • Market Updates
  • Multilateral Development Bank Reports
  • Best Markets
  • Industry/Regional Reports
  1. Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center (EAC) for advice and support on exporting to Rwanda.  Visit the following link to find anEAC and Trade Specialist near you.
  2. Contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC).  Starting a business can be a challenge, but there is help for you in your area.  SBDCs are partnerships primarily between the government and colleges/universities administered by the Small Business Administration, and aim to provide educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
  3. 4.    Contact the Commercial Office at U.S. Embassy Kigali for a list of potential business support organizations in Rwanda and the East African Community.

Investing in Rwanda

This section provides information for current and potential investors in Rwanda

Potential Investors: Getting Started

If you are considering investing in Rwanda, here are some steps you may wish to consider as you get started:

  • Register with the U.S. Embassy.  If you are planning a visit to consider investment, let us know by sending an email to the contact addresses on this page.
  • Visit host country resources, such as Rwanda Development Board (RDB), and the Private Sector Federation.  Rwanda Development Board is a government institution charged with promoting investment and facilitating market entry for investors in Rwanda.  RDB offers a range of services to potential investors including assistance in acquiring the licenses, certificates, approvals, authorizations and permits required by law to set up and operate a business enterprise in Rwanda. Visit RDB’s website for further information. Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF) can also provide U.S. businesses with useful information on potential local business partners.  Visit PSF’s website.
  • Subscribe to our embassy Facebook page.

Current Investors: Staying Connected

If you are a current U.S. investor in Rwanda, the U.S Embassy wants to stay in touch. Here are a few steps you can take to keep the channels of communication open:

  • Register with the U.S. Embassy – If you are active in Rwanda, let us know by contacting the Commercial Office of the Embassy.
    • Subscribe to our embassy Facebook page.
    • Set up a meeting with our economic or commercial team to discuss any issues that arise.

Working in Rwanda

In this section you will find information on business visas, travel advisories, and anti-corruption tools.

Business Visas

All U.S. citizens visiting Rwanda must obtain a visa upon entry.  Tourist visas, valid for 30 days, are available for purchase for $30 USD at Rwandan land borders and at Kigali International Airport.  Acceptable forms of payment are U.S. dollars (printed during or after 2006), Rwandan francs, or Visa or MasterCard credit cards.  We strongly recommend that you travel with U.S. dollars to pay for the visa fee in the case that credit card machines are not functional at the time of your arrival.  To extend your tourist visa, you will need to visit the Rwandan Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration, located near the U.S. Embassy in Kigali.
Travel Advisories

Make sure to check the current State Department travel advisory for any potential risks in traveling to Rwanda.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is an important anti-corruption tool designed to discourage corrupt business practices in favor of free and fair markets.  The FCPA prohibits promising, offering, giving, or authorizing giving anything of value to a foreign government official where the purpose is to obtain or retain business.  These prohibitions apply to U.S. persons, both individuals and companies, and companies that are listed on U.S. exchanges. The statute also requires companies publicly traded in the U.S. to keep accurate books and records and implement appropriate internal controls.

More information can be found on the FCPA.

A party to a transaction seeking to know whether a proposed course of conduct would violate the FCPA can take advantage of the opinion procedure established by the statue.  Within 30 days of receiving a description of a proposed course of conduct in writing, the Attorney General will provide the party with a written opinion on whether the proposed conduct would violate the FCPA.  Not only do opinions provide the requesting party with a rebuttable presumption that the conduct does not violate the FCPA, but DOJ publishes past opinions which can provide guidance for other companies facing similar situations.

Please find more information on the DOJ opinion procedure.

 

Article first published on USA embassy website

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