Talking Business: Rwanda positioning itself as a commercial hub

Julie Mutoni, DHL Express country manager for Rwanda

Julie Mutoni, DHL Express country manager for Rwanda

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Just over 20 years after its devastating genocide, Rwanda is generally seen as a development success story. Strong economic growth over the past decade is expected to continue, with the IMF forecasting GDP to expand by an average annual rate of 7.25% from 2015 to 2020. How we made it in Africa asked Julie Mutoni, country manager of DHL Express, about doing business in Rwanda.

Name one trend impacting Rwanda’s business environment.

I would say that Rwanda has consistently implemented bold reforms to improve the ease of doing business over the past few years and this has resulted into more investments by the private sector.

What is the greatest myth about doing business in Rwanda?

I don’t think there are any as the government is doing all in its means to ensure a conducive business environment that will lead to sustainable economic growth.

We as the private sector are doing our best to support that growth by investing in the country, creating job opportunities and connecting Rwanda to the rest of the globe.

Identify the biggest untapped business opportunity in your industry.

I believe the logistics sector has many unexploited opportunities. At DHL, we are working to see that more small and medium industries access logistical services affordably in order to boost their competitiveness in the regional and global markets.

Describe some of the challenges investors can expect to encounter.

Of course challenges always exist in any environment when doing business. In Rwanda, we still have challenges of inadequate electricity and infrastructure but several initiatives by the government and private sector are already in place to address them. In the coming few years, Rwanda is set to become a hub for most business activities.

Name one local business person that you admire.

Sina Gérard is a well-known Rwandan entrepreneur whose agriculture and food processing ventures have seen incredible growth over the past years. His business has benefitted his community as he has employed hundreds of locals, built a school and developed the area.

How do you see the business environment and economy change over the coming years?

With continued good leadership and business reforms by the government, there will be more investments by the private sector. Already, Rwanda ranks among the top three countries for ease of doing business in sub-Saharan Africa according to the World Bank. The country has posted strong annual economic growth, averaging 8%, over the past decade.

What is the one tourist attraction business people shouldn’t miss when visiting Rwanda?

The Volcanoes National Park, which offers gorilla tracking.

[box type=”note”]Meet Julie Mutoni

1. By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk? 7:45am

2. How do you relax? Playing tennis and dancing

3. Best book you’ve ever read? The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

4. Top holiday destination? Zanzibar

5. Favourite quote? “It is better to lead from behind and put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” – Nelson Mandela[/box]