Giving something back
In light of this country’s development, opportunities for investment abound in industries like tea, coffee and fruit © Ariadne Van Zandbergen, Africa Image Library
You may leave Rwanda without a backward glance, or you may find that it has affected you more than you realised. It’s an amazing country. Many visitors feel that they want to remain – or become more – involved in its people and development. Most of the large mainstream charities have activities there, but those listed below are just a few of the many smaller ones for whom even one new supporter can make a difference; their websites give more details of their work. New ones are appearing all the time: ask around when you’re in Rwanda. Also see Cards from Africa and the Meg Foundation, Imbabazi and the Ubushobozi Foundation. Several guesthouses and/or local tour operators also support specific causes. It’s worth remembering – although this is in no way a ‘charity’ – that 10% of the fees you pay for national park permits are earmarked for development in communities living around the parks. This is known as the ‘tourism revenue sharing rate’. During the past 12 years, more than 400 community projects have been funded in this way, from schools, clinics and water supplies to mushroom growing, market gardens, brick kilns and beehives; so rural Rwandans you will probably never meet can benefit directly from your visit.
The ultimate involvement in Rwanda is to invest in one of the many opportunities that the country’s rapid development has created. The Rwanda Development Board can provide full information, including the generous incentives and concessions available. The mechanisms are straightforward and investor-friendly, with a minimum of red tape. Openings exist in many sectors; for example food processing (tea, coffee, fruit, vegetables…), financial services, ICT, mining, tourism and hospitality, solar installations, telecommunications, medical services, construction and transport. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of opportunity. And remember that the 2017 World Bank ‘Doing Business’ Report named Rwanda as the second easiest African country in which to do business, after only Mauritius.