Rwanda's Gov't Welcomes U.S. Investment Pact

The Permanent Secretary in Rwanda’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, Emmanuel Hategeka, has welcomed the approval of the U.S. bilateral treaty, saying that it will play a significant role in the economic development of the country.

Last week, the US senate approved the Rwanda Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) that aims at establishing rules that will protect the rights of US-investors abroad and provide market access for future US investment.

“It’s important in terms of investment confidence not only for Americans but also the Rwandans who will need to invest in United States. Rwanda and USA already enjoy a good relationship so the treaty is an instrument that comes to cement the relationship in bilateral investment,” he said.

The treaty will provide legal protection for U.S. and Rwandan investors that underscore the two countries’ shared commitment to open investment and trade policies.

The protection include nondiscriminatory treatment, free transfer of investment-related funds, prompt, adequate, and effective compensation in the event of an expropriation, and transparency in governance.

The BIT also gives investors the right to bring investment disputes to neutral, international arbitration panels.

According to a statement from the US State Department, the treaty signifies the country’s commitment towards development and opportunities for the two countries.

“The Department of State applauds the Senate’s approval of the treaty and is pleased that the Senate’s longstanding tradition of bipartisan support for these treaties has been upheld,” the statement reads.

“This treaty demonstrates Rwanda’s commitment to the economic reforms that will help enable sustainable economic development and opportunity. Since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda has made remarkable progress in implementing economic reforms that have helped rebuild the Rwandan economy and society.”

The statement also reads that Rwanda has opened its economy, improved its business climate, and embraced open trade and investment policies as a means to boost economic development, job creation, and poverty alleviation.

Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Operating Officer of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), on Sunday, said the RDB welcomes the ratification as it will boost the confidence of American investors in Rwanda.

“The BIT offers a protection framework for investors from either country investing in the other. It provides assurances such as equal treatment and a dispute resolution mechanism that makes the country predictable.”

This, reportedly, is the first BIT that the US has concluded with an African country in nearly a decade.