More industrial parks expected to boost economic growth

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More industrial parks expected to boost economic growth

The Kigali Industrial Park

Rwanda seeks to set up industrial parks across the country in a bid to accelerate the growth of the manufacturing sector.

Rwandan minister of trade and industry, Francois Kanimba stated that despite poor performance of the sector, he was confident the country’s manufacturing sector will catch up by 2015.

“Manufacturers are better off organized in industrial parks than when scattered, this is already evident in existing industrial parks in the Kigali Special Economic Zone,” he said.

“When we look at new industries that are coming up in the country, with some that have started operations, though not to 100 percent full capacity, we believe that production from the industry sector is increasing,” the Minister said.

Minister Kanimba, said industries in Rwanda still face lots of challenges starting with the ones he visited especially the infrastructure challenge such as electricity, water and good roads.

“Such challenges affect the good performance of the industry sector but as government we are looking into these,” he added.

He also revealed that the government’s new initiatives to set up industrial parks with good designs and planning will help solve the infrastructure issue.

According to the recent GDP figures from the National institute of statistics of Rwanda, manufacturing sector contributed only 14 per cent during the third quarter of 2014.

Augustin Habimana, a legal advisor at master steel industry in Bugesera district, Eastern Rwanda, cited inadequate water as one of the major challenges facing the firm, adding that the firm needs at least 600 cubic meters of water to generate air pressure needed for the industry to operate efficiently.

“The industry also needs four megawatts of power for its operation but only 2.5 megawatts is available,” Habimana said.

There is a sense of optimism with 30MW of power expected to be generated from Kenya by June this year and another 400MW from Ethiopia the following year.

Anne Rwigara, the Secretary General, Rwanda Association of manufactures (RAM), is confident, the future is bright for sustainable industrialization.

“It is obvious the sector grows, more employment opportunities will be created which will ultimately increase house hold incomes and purchasing power will in turn benefit industrialists.”

However, according to business experts, investments in the manufacturing sector must be supported by sustained purchasing power.

“It’s important that government makes investments in those areas that will increase people’s purchasing power to create market for its growing manufacturing sector.” Charles Nizeyimana, an importer and business expert said.

Phases one and two of the zone cover a surface area of 277 hectares, while the third phase will cover approximately 134 hectares.

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About the author

Olive Ndaka is the Junior Editor for RwandaEye. An investor and young entrepreneur, she is a quick learner and has contributed many articles for RwandaEye in Kinyarwanda.

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