Belgium is a major international partner for Rwanda. Arnout Pauwels, Ambassador, discusses ties between the two countries.
European Times: Can you describe the relationship between Belgium and Rwanda?
Arnout Pauwels: For well know historical reasons, the links between the two countries are broad and deep. These relations are the foundation for cooperation in the field of commerce, investment and development cooperation. Belgium is Rwanda’s top European trade partner .Belgium’s embassy is among the largest in the country. Belgium is providing major support for Rwanda’s energy and healthcare sectors as well as the government’s decentralisation initiative and Trademark East Africa, which focuses on promoting regional trade and the integration of Rwanda into the East African community.
European Times: Why should European investors and companies target Rwanda?
Arnout Pauwels: In addition to its domestic market of 11 million, Rwanda offers a strategic location in East Africa as well as safety and stability. A stable and predictable investment climate is essential for investors. Rwanda offers that. Trade companies can access the Democratic Republic of Congo, and as transport-infrastructure projects move forward, particularly new rail links, Rwanda will be even more attractive as a logistics hub.
European Times: What are Belgium’s goals for Rwanda?
Arnout Pauwels: Belgium will continue to serve as a voice for Rwanda in the EU. Rwanda is making great progress. If the present speed of change is maintained, it will be a very different country in a few years. Its government has demonstrated leadership and vision, and Rwanda offers great quality of life as well as quite a few tourism attractions, most famous of which are the mountain gorillas.