Rwanda hosts the 3rd virtual Business to Business webinar between Italy and Rwanda to discuss vailable opportunities for private sector to enhance green growth and sustainable development in both countries

15th Oct 2020 , Kigali Rwanda, the Global Green Growth Institute-Rwanda in collaboration with Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) organized the 3rd virtual Business to Business (B2B) webinar. Rwanda and Italy Business to Business exchanges are to enhance green growth in both countries , with over 240 participants it was a successful online discuss. The virtual meeting was hosted by the Italian business magazine Africa&Affari and attracted all major stakeholders who have a key role in green private sector engagement in Italy and Rwanda such as institutions, entrepreneurs, investors and developers.

Participants included the Embassy of Italy to Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi (based in Kampala) ,the Italian Trade Agency ( ITA-ICE) ,Private sector federations ,Italian entrepreneurs ,Universities and Research Institutes ,Media , Embassy of Rwanda in Italy (based in Paris) ,Ministry of Commerce ,Ministry of Environment , Ministry of Infrastructure , Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN) ,Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Centre, Rwanda (CPCIC), National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), Rwanda Development Board , TMEA, Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA), The National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA), locally based entrepreneurs.

The objective of these on-line workshops was to explore Rwanda’s potential investment climate, promote green technology transfer and create business platforms and matchmaking between Italian and Rwandan private companies in the most relevant areas of intervention. By targeting all major stakeholders with key role in the green growth and sustainable development of their country’s economy in both Italy and Rwanda such as institutions, entrepreneurs, investors, developers etc.
Sectors involved in the webinars included renewable energy, agri-business, eco-tourism, textile, construction and green building and more.

His Excellency the Ambassador of Italy to Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi Mr Massimiliano Mazzanti gave his opening remarks and said “ Rwanda is a very ambitious country that has set national and international targets, to adopt green growth policies in a harmonizing a path with economic development. For example in 2008 Rwanda banned biodegradable plastic bags ; reforestation and tree planting campaigns that distinguish Rwanda from any other country in Africa  ; investing in restoration of degraded ecosystems such as wetlands ; the Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA) with its unique mandate for Rwanda to become a climate resilient economy and having raised 100 mill dollars which demonstrates the commitment from the international community in Rwanda.” He mentioned that Rwanda has a very balanced approach towards economic development with green growth and a green economy. This type of business environment makes Rwanda an attractive country to invents in , ensuring effective partnerships for Italian companies to bring their expertise and technology that Italy can provide.”

Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA)- Deputy Director General Faustin Munyazikwiye – welcomed all the participants and expressed his appreciation for their availability to discuss and exchange on available opportunities for private sector to enhance green growth and sustainable development in Rwanda and Italy. He reiterated that the ultimate objective of those webinars is to raise awareness on market expectations in green growth enabling participants to share their knowledge in doing business in Rwanda highlighting challenges, risks and opportunities.

He added that “this important event comes at a right time where countries are struggling with economic recovery after COVID-19 situation, therefore countries must consider post COVID-19 green recovery plans. In May 2020 Rwanda submitted to the UNFCCC its enhanced climate action plan known as Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to affirm the commitment of Rwanda to walk the talk. The implementation of Rwanda NDC will require the efforts of everyone and we want Private Sector Federation- Rwanda (PSF) to be part of this process as it plays a critical role as the main driver of the economy.”
Recently REMA and PSF_Rwanda signed an MoU which was officiated to strengthen the cooperation between PSF members and REMA as a government agency in charge of environment protection and Climate Change.

Claudia Berettea , the webinar moderator added that Rwanda has a unique position as it is used as a model in other countries, and globally for their best practices and policies in climate change and environment.  She informed the participants that the expected outcomes of the workshop was the introduction to joint ventures and partnerships ; matchmaking between entrepreneurs in both countries ; increased awareness on the needs of more sustainable patterns of investments in light of the COVID-19 crisis and the situation in Rwanda and increased awareness on market expectations in Rwanda.

The B2B webinars are organized as part of the 5 year MoU signed in 2016 between the Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea Protection of Italy  and Rwanda Ministry of Environment. The MoU was signed to coordinate efforts to combat global climate change and address its adverse effects to support mechanism to reduce climate change vulnerability and stimulate the transition towards a sustainable low carbon economy. On 3 and 10 June 2020, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) held two webinars on the engagement of the Rwandan and Italian Private sector to enhance green investments and trade in both countries. These activities and the broader relations with Italy in the area of Climate Change, Vulnerability, Risk Assessment, Adaptation and Mitigation are framed within the Contribution Agreement signed in 2016 between the Italian and Rwandan Ministries of Environment, with the support of REMA. GGGI has been acting as implementing partner.

Robert Bafakurera Chairman Private Sector Federation in Rwanda spoke about the challenges and opportunities within the private sector, stating that government has built a good environment for business. As PSF is working to grow its members in terms of capacity and develop partnerships with Italy and other developed countries to gain their expertise and technology. He mentioned Rwanda is progressing in its efforts to attract more investors for example the regional banks and Rwanda banks are growing to the point where Rwanda banks can now finance projects of 40 mill USD. He encouraged the Italian investors and entrepreneurs to study the markets and invest in Rwanda.

Marco Versari- President of Assobioplastiche, an Italian Association for Bioplastic gave a detailed presentation on the model and approach on Italian bioplastic supply chain, and their biodegradable and compostable plastic standards and norms. He mentioned that the association with its 54 members promotes the production, distribution and use of compostable plastic, and dissemination of good practices (separate collection, food waste treatment) , knowledge of standards and norms, information dissemination to citizens. Bioplastics value chain in Italy represents more than 200 companies with more than 2000 employees. He further explained the characteristics of biodegradability under composting conditions.

Samson Twiringire ,Chemical and Pollution Officer -REMA ,talked about experience of Rwanda on the banning of carry bags and single-use plastics. The single-use plastics are mandated by the law N° 17/2019 of 10/08/2019 relating to the prohibition of manufacturing, importation, use and sale of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items. He encouraged Italian investors to support Rwanda local entrepreneurs looking at the opportunities and challenges. For example some challenges are the limited technological capacity to recycle most of the types of plastic (wastes); lack of alternative packaging material for many types of items and plastic wastes that are not separated from other wastes at source. Some opportunities are to explore and invest in alternative to prohibited plastics ; import alternatives; locally manufacture alternatives; the political will to regulate and monitor plastics management (collection, recycling and disposal)/business and help investors in the sector.

Alain Doricyusa- Climate Finance Specialists -Rwanda Green Fund spoke about opportunities for green private sector investments. He mentioned several opportunities such as in the transport sector with e-mobility which is an opportunity for charging infrastructure to be set up in Rwanda ; another opportunity is in urbanization and housing sector in the use of low carbon materials, construction and design with the Green Building Minimum Compliance System as good example. Rwanda’s Vision 2050, GGCRS, NDCs & NST1 highlight opportunities for private sector development as a central stakeholder to economic growth. The sustainability & resilience of that growth requires businesses to “go green” especially in post COVID-19 recovery.

A Rwandan based in Italy Mr Roland Ruhumuriza who is the Area Manager for Africa for De Lorenza Spa presented on the development of human capital for the green economy , focusing on Renewable Energy and food processing , skills development and vocational training. He emphasized that it is important to develop the relevant human capital working towards 2030 strategy and beyond. He added that new skills will contribute to enhancing productivity by increasing efficiency in the use of natural resources. Reducing waste and energy consumption, while unlocking opportunities for innovation and value creation, and allocating resources to the highest value use. This is in line with GGGI Strategy 2030. that looks at a Low-Carbon, Resilient World of Strong, Inclusive, and Sustainable Growth. Meaning when you invest in a specific sector you will find relevant skills with right labour force.

Janvier Gasasira, Managing Director YAK Fair Trade Ltd gave a brief presentation on project design of an upcoming eco-lodge in Rwanda in Nasho in Kirehe District , in the eastern province called the Rocky Mountain Resort. With a cost for the whole project development at 3 millions Us Dollars (3,000,000 USD), therefore encouraging investors and partners in Eco-tourism.

Florence Uwimana – Co-Founder and Manager of Tea House Bed and Breakfast ,said she set up the establishment in Rwanda when she realized several challenges in hospitality such as lack of a high standard of service , unskilled, unexperienced staff and management ,poor hygiene and average customer care. Their solution is delivering a customized Five-Star Service by understanding the customers needs, culture and expectations with skilled staff and management. The boutique is locally designed and furnished, promoting Made in Rwanda products.

GGGI Lead, Rwanda Program Coordinator, Mr Okechukwu Daniel Ogbonnaya gave the closing remarks and thanked all the speakers and participants and said “GGGI aim is to facilitate this project where business can come together to support the growth of the country. GGGI appreciates the efforts from all the partners and stakeholders and is looking forward to taking the ideas and project forward to reach concrete investments that will benefit both Italy and Rwanda”

After the closing remarks 35 meetings between investors and entrepreneurs were set up as seperate business to business sessions for the participants to discuss further their interest and an opportunity to match the companies and entrepreneurs, which will allow for matchmaking exercise and possible partnerships.

Watch the full webinar online: