As Nile Basin countries, Egypt and Rwanda have very close cooperation, especially since both are members of various trade unions such as Comesa, SADC and EAC Community. As the youngest female Egyptian Ambassador, Namira Negm, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, promises to dedicate her energy to improve the relations between the two countries.
European Times: What are the milestones of the diplomatic and economic relations between Egypt and Rwanda?
Namira Negm: 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the residing of the Embassy of Egypt in Rwanda. To celebrate the anniversary of the excellent bilateral relations, we hosted an event attended by most of the representatives of the diplomatic core in Rwanda as well as Rwandan government and business representatives. Furthermore, several bilateral high-level visits between the two countries significantly boosted the development and enhanced the excellent bilateral relations.
European Times: What are the specific sectors of cooperation and the trade volume between the two countries?
Namira Negm: First and foremost, we aim to be of assistance to the people of Rwanda. We have provided assistance in the health sector by supporting experts in different medical areas, donating dialysis machines, sponsoring physicians from Rwanda to study oncology in Egypt, trying to be active in the pharmaceutical sector etc. Within the Nile Basin cooperation, we assist in capacity building by offering our expertise. Other fields where we offer assistance include irrigation, tourism, countering terrorism and trade.
In the last couple of years, the trade volume between the two countries has increased by 50%, mostly due to the fact that both are members of COMESA. We have some private investors as well, mostly in the health and mining sectors. More and more business people are interested in investing in infrastructure, such as low-end housing projects, agriculture, food&beverage and tourism, as well as the textile and leather industry. We are constantly informing our investors on Rwanda’s potential and we expect an increase in investments in the near future.
European Times: Which challenges do investors face in Rwanda?
Namira Negm: Challenges are standard for all investors and business people and they include high shipping costs, lack of electricity and high cost of production. However, the government is exceedingly open to investors. Since my arrival in 2015, the number of potential investors has doubled in only 1.5 years.
European Times: What is your personal message?
Namira Negm: Rwanda is a very promising country with bright future. The government’s dedication and hard work have enabled political and overall stability, which gives the country an edge compared to other countries. Zero tolerance for corruption is another reason to consider Rwanda as an investment destination. I invite all investors and business people to come and explore Rwanda for its opportunities, they will not regret it.