Kigali, Rwanda, Host of the 2016 World Economic Forum on Africa

Every year, the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa changes location. Why was Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, chosen to host the 2016 edition?

Following civil unrest and genocide in 1994, Rwanda has transformed itself to become a model for other countries in Africa in terms of good governance, low levels of corruption and crime, personal safety and security, improved healthcare, and an efficient bureaucracy. Additionally, the government strongly supports businesses to expand in Rwanda; for example, companies can be set up directly on-line.

Combine the above with the lavish green landscape, clean streets and organized cities, towns and villages, Rwanda has gained the reputation of being the Switzerland or Singapore of Africa. This is what brought “Davos” to Kigali.

The government has also pushed for more business-friendly moves, including replacing French with English as the official language for teaching, business and government affairs, and joining the Commonwealth. This aimed to attract more foreign investors, as well as adopt the common language of its neighbors, furthering trade and exchange between the countries.

Rwanda is also known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, including around Kigali. The population of 12 million still largely works in agriculture, and live in an area about a third that of Ireland.

A series of unique, social measures have also contributed to making Rwanda a model for Africa.

Rwanda was the first country in the world to ban plastic bags back in 2006. Anyone who has travelled in Africa knows that plastic is the bane of the landscape, and this measure has removed the problem. Maybe something Western nations can learn from?

Rwanda Kigali

The Bank of Kigali

The genocide mainly targeted men, so to recover, Rwanda has promoted and protected women, and encourages them to further their education equally to that of men. In politics, 64% of Parliament members are women, more than any other country in the world, which has lead to Parliament being nicknamed “the House of Ladies” by the locals.

Finally, the entire country, president Kagame included, spends the last Saturday of each month cleaning the streets and public places, giving an order and cleanliness to the country that is unique in Africa.

These are just some reasons that made Kigali as the destination of choice to host the 2016 WEF on Africa. KPMG has four Delegates present in Kigali who will share insights and trends they have observed while in Kigali. For more insights and details on the 2016 WEF in Kigali, please visit the event section of our blog here: World Economic Forum on Africa 2016

Written by Alix Dyer, Sr Associate Advisory, Financial Management
David Okwara
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