iSQI was on information tour in Rwanda, Kigali
Here in Rwanda Stephan Goericke, CEO of iSQI met Michael Kleinbub, the GBN Coordinator. The Global Business Network (GBN) Program supports the development of business and cooperation in selected countries of Africa and Asia for a responsible involvement of German companies. The program is implement by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
The CEO of iSQI and the GBN Coordinator discussed about the economy and future of Rwanda.
Stephan Goericke: Michael, a very warm Welcome! Could you tell us in a few words what your exact position and title is here?
Michael Kleinbub: I am working for the Global Business Network (GBN) Programme that the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implements on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The GBN Programme implements Business & Cooperation Desks in Africa and Asia, one of which is in Rwanda.
My main tasks as a GBN Coordinator are to convince more German and European companies to establish trade relationships and open businesses here in Rwanda and, eventually, even invest. At the same time, I am also advising Rwandan companies on cooperation and financing options offered by German development cooperation partners.
Stephan Goericke: I understand you have a profound interest in trying to get German companies to Rwanda. In order to invest here, engage with the local market or get involved with international projects. Could you describe what Rwanda stands for and why is it such a promising market to invest in? What would you say is a unique selling point for to encourage German investments in Rwanda? Please highlight some key characteristics that entrepreneurs and companies should know about Rwanda.
Michael Kleinbub: Rwanda wants to become a hub for digitalization and strives to host international conferences on current business and development-related topics. It provides many opportunities to companies that come and invest here. This is also applicable in topics such as digitalization as an example. If you come here to Rwanda, it is very easy to establish your business: The Rwandan environment is extremely secure with a stable government and a low corruption rate. In terms of safety and stability, you could even compare it to German or European standards. There is a strong support from the government. It is easy to start a business or project here. From that point onwards, you can up-scale within Rwanda or even expand your business to other countries which are easily accessible from here. You could describe Rwanda as a hub from where to connect with partners in other East African countries.
Stephan Goericke: For us, it was surprising to learn that Rwanda is well known here in Africa for the development of their own laptop, among other things. Is this right? Why is this outcome specifically from Rwanda, what makes it different from other countries?
Michael Kleinbub: Yes, this is correct, this has been one of the past projects. Rwanda has not only produced their own laptops, but also their own smartphones.
In addition, Volkswagen is located here as well. VW implements the ‘Move project’, which mainly aims at mobility solutions. The idea is to scale successful solutions to other countries here in Africa.
Stephan Goericke: We got the impression that the GIZ here in Kigali is one of the key players in all of these projects. So, the GIZ is starting a lot of different initiatives locally and internationally, Germany for example; among other countries. Could you describe a bit more precisely your daily business? Why is your organization involved here in Rwanda and also establishing the Digital Transformation Center? Which is very modern, some cities in Germany would be very jealous to have such a modern transformation center. Why is the GIZ having such a strong presence here?
Michael Kleinbub: My role as GBN program Coordinator involves cooperating closely with the private sector here in Rwanda, but of course also in Germany. From my perspective, this is a vital topic: development cooperation can achieve a lot of progress, but it is the private sector that creates jobs. We have approximately 25 German companies already located here in Rwanda, such as Volkswagen, Siemens, DHL and The German Butchery (so you do not have to be without German delicacies in case you come to Rwanda).
The Digital Transformation Center is in operation for nearly a year now. It is a very ambitious place, which we also use for events. We support young companies here. We invite companies to come here.
Stephan Goericke: For us as a German company coming for the first time to Rwanda, GIZ was a starting point of contact. You know about our project, introducing qualification standards for the young IT-talent which we are trying to implement here.
From your perspective, as you have the best overview about the economy and the master plan the Rwanda Government has: How important is our project or such kind of projects focusing on the professional qualification of people?
Michael Kleinbub: I think this is a very interesting project and it is getting here at the right time, especially with respect to the training and certification of staff in the field of digitalization. Digitalization is a topic of great interest to all stakeholders here. As I mentioned already we have the Digital Transformation Center here in Kigali, but also other programs here in Rwanda implemented by GIZ, the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) support IT solutions. It is a topic which is incredibly important and also the Rwandan Government takes a lot of effort in supporting Digitalization.
As you have experienced with the stakeholders you met here you are very welcome. We are very interested in such projects starting here, to also take a step which is not a usual one in a country such as Rwanda for example. Setting Rwanda off as a special example among other countries in the region once again.
Stephan Goericke: So, your advice to our German companies would be to meet here in Rwanda?
Michael Kleinbub: Yes, of course! As soon as you are here, you will be convinced that this is a place where you can stay in the long-term: it is very secure, there are friendly people, and Kigali is a place that is well-developed, economically advanced and progressive. So please come here and feel welcome!
Stephan Goericke: Thank you very much for this short introduction, and we wish you the best for your upcoming projects in Rwanda.
Michael Kleinbub: You are very welcome, thank you very much.