The Golden Business Forum (GBF) kicked off in Kigali, Rwanda amid a debate on the benefits of implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Over 1,000 delegates from 40 countries attended the opening ceremony of the Golden Business Forum which is set to run until August 19.
Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF) is the convener of the forum that seeks to catalyze business development in Africa and between Africa and the world.
In his speech, Rwanda’s Trade Minister Jean-Chrysostome Ngabitsinze who spoke on behalf of President Paul Kagame underscored the importance of the AfCFTA in promoting cross-border trade.
Golden Business Forum addresses role of Private Sector
While insisting that the private sector was well-placed to reap benefits from the trade agreement, the Minister challenged private sector players to take the lead in the implementation and execution of the tenets agreed in the AfCFTA.
He noted that the Rwandan government was keen to adopt the required legal and regulatory frameworks to enable mutual trade and investment.
“First and foremost, let us all agree that the AfCFTA belongs to the Private Sector,” Minister Ngabitsinze noted.
“To advance the continent in taking advantage of this opportunity, we require conversations such as these that reaffirm the role and responsibility of the private sector.”
The Minister further highlighted that Rwanda is now able to export goods to countries including Gabon, Ghana, Togo, Botswana, and South African duty-free while also allowing service providers from select countries to venture into its market courtesy of the AfCFTA.
Also present in the forum was Juliana Lindsey, the Representative of UNICEF in Rwanda, who spoke on the time of the private sector in promoting equality in Africa.
Lindsey stated that “businesses can create products that provide water, sanitation, hygiene, healthcare, and education services and use their core assets for social purposes while still making a profit”.
In a bid to strengthen trade ties with South Korea, Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation and a delegation of Korean private sector leaders signed an MoU that is expected to outline strategies on the best way of doing business and investment partnerships.
Speciality Contractor Financial Cooperative CEO Dr. Eunjae Lee, as well as Mr. Wangsub Shin vice president of Hyundai Devt company, and Mr. Myoungsoo Kang ED. Korean chamber of commerce were part of Korean delegation.
Throughout the three days-duration, GBF will provide a platform for businesses in Rwanda to showcase their investment potential to international investors and create meaningful connections to enable more foreign direct investment in the country.