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How Can a Foreigner Start a Business in Rwanda?

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The nation of Rwanda under her charismatic leader Paul Kagame has done a good job marketing herself as an attractive economic zone. Good economic policies have set the right environment for investment. Its strategic location and reputation of stability in a troubled region have seen multinationals use it as a haven to reach other regional markets. 

Are you a foreigner considering starting a business in Rwanda? This article is meant for you. We outline a seven-point guide for you. Before you continue, be kindly reminded that we have a business club and you can take a look at our amazing content.

Do your groundwork

It is important to carry out the right investigations of your intended investment option before you make formal moves to commence operation. Do apt market research and get the requisite insight on things. 

Your findings will help you know how feasible your idea is. Make sure you also investigate if the sector you intend to invest in is eligible for tax breaks and other government incentives. When you are done, draw out an excellent business plan. This will give your ideas organization and direction.

Source for capital

You must make sure you get your capital before you commence any formal process for your business. After drawing up your business plan you should have an adequate idea of the finances you would need. It is really important though to have enough working capital to cater to your operations for at least a year. This is because it takes quite a while for any business to break even.

There are a plethora of financial sources you can engage if you already don’t have the requisite finances. You can apply to banks in your home county and also engage the services of venture capitalists. The economic standing of Rwanda and the potential she has should be enough to convince most creditors.

Get your immigration documents in order

It is vital to get all the necessary and appropriate clearance to do business from the Rwandan immigration and emigration department. This will legalize your operations and save you from abrupt stoppages and even possible prosecution.

If you intend to conduct business in Rwanda you can apply to the above-mentioned body. This costs RWF150, 000(USD 158). Documents included valid travel document( with not less than six months validity, business registration certificate, police clearance certificate( from the country of residence for the past six years), detailed curriculum vitae, photo ( with white background), completed application form, and application letter to the director of Immigration and emigration.

Register your business

Registration of your company with the Rwanda Development Board is mandatory before you commence operations. This process is one that simultaneously gives you official registration documents on three different fronts. You are given a certificate of incorporation (business registration). You are also given a tax identification number (tax registration). Lastly, you are availed of social security registration for employee pension submission.
The document you will need is just an ID (Preferably your passport) and two properly filled copies of the memorandum of Association Art 14. There are no charges for this procedure.

Get an EIA certificate

There is a reason Rwanda is one of the cleanest nations in the world. The government takes sanitation and the environment seriously. This is such a key element of the Kagame government that there are bans on the production and use of certain materials. The most notable one is that on polythene bags.

If you intend to set up a business in Rwanda, the first thing to do is to verify if your project is exempted from an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The Ministerial order No 001/2019 of 15/04/2019 and Article 30 of the environmental law establishes the business projects that must undergo an EIA. You will need an EIA registered expert to make the application for verification on your behalf.

Work on getting Business location(s)

With the right documents in place, you are set to acquire properties in the name of your business. It is important to source for locations that are vantage to the efficient conveyance of inputs and products. 

You may opt to get land to build from scratch. The Rwandan Development Board provides such land leases on a 49 years basis. This is enough time to help establish your company in Rwanda and see it make gains. Based on law, if the leasee develops the land as per legal stipulations, he/she may be given the option of buying off the property.

Recruit the best options

Rwanda has made great strides over the years in enhancing the literacy of its population. There is now a youthful well-educated subset that is well skilled to contribute their quota for the development of their nation. The peaceful nature of the country has attracted immigrants to the sub-region; further enhancing the pool.

You can go about your recruitment virtually. If anything COVID-19 has provided us with swift convenient ways to go about things. If you would want to be certain of the best pick, you can engage the services of recruiting agents. You can then be actively involved in the process with them to be sure you are getting the right choices.

The economic status of Rwanda and the peace she has enjoyed over the years has made her a thriving option for investment. Despite the geographical location of the nation, the government has done an excellent job in encouraging and facilitating investment. The choice is now down to you. We encourage you to make the move. Do kindly remember to comment on posts on our Facebook page. It is a lively engaging forum to find like minds and edifying content. Do not forget to share posts you have enjoyed.


How easy is it to do business in Rwanda?

Rwanda is actually ranked eighth in the world when it comes to ease of doing business. This says a lot about how efficient and convenient the entire business establishment process is. All you have to do is possess the requisite documentation.

Are there sectors foreigners are restricted from investing?

The answer is no. There are no restricted sectors for investors. In fact, the government will even provide investors that are coming to set up businesses in earmarked industries with so many incentives. These include tax breaks, financial backing and the facilitation of the acquisition of properties

Why should I invest in Rwanda? 

There are three main reasons to do so. Firstly, Rwanda is one of the safest places in the world. Secondly, the economic status of Rwanda is positive and certain to even get better in the future. Thirdly and most importantly, there are so many opportunities. These include many unexplored or fledgling ones. 

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