Twenty-eight young African entrepreneurs and business owners are in Rwanda to learn from what the country has achieved and tap into investment opportunities available.
The team arrived in Kigali from 26 to 27 July, and visited different places and had discussion with diverse individuals from government as well as the private sector.
The members are from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cyprus and UAE-Dubai.
According to Raymond Okpani, Founder of Youth Spark Pan Africa, an organisation which organised the visit, the initiative has been happening since 2019.
He said that they bring different entrepreneurs and business owners to Rwanda to interact with the country’s leaders and citizens, hear their stories about what happened in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and how the country has been able to develop 28 years later and become one of the fastest growing in the world.
“We are super proud of what Rwanda is doing and we believe that what it has achieved can be replicated anywhere in the world. We believe that other people can learn from it and leverage to build big businesses, communities and fantastic organizations that can help to solve more problems Africa is facing,” he said.
Okpani also tackled the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) framework and declared that it’s going to open up more opportunities for businesses and allow Africans to work together as well as eliminate visa and transportation issues.
To him, young people need to amplify their voices to make that work and by doing so, they will also be pushing forward the entire Pan African Movement.
Twenty-eight young African entrepreneurs and business owners are in Rwanda to explore the business opportunities .They are from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cyprus and UAE-Dubai. Photo by Dan Nsengiyumva
Mike Nyarwaya Shyaka, Commissioner for Political Integration and International Relations at Pan African Movement – Rwanda declared that with young African entrepreneurs, the movement is looking at how they can engage all Africans in building the continent and remove regional blocks so that they can work closely without any boundaries.
“When we do business with a Pan Africanism spirit, I look at an investor from Africa as my brother. When they establish business here, I know it’s beneficial because my children and friends are going to be employed by fellow Africans,” he said.
He noted that the entrepreneurs are ready to invest in Rwanda in real estate, tourism, health, agriculture, cinema, among other sectors, adding that it’s a great opportunity for Rwanda and Africa as well, as its people come together, connect and tackle issues the continent is facing.
Gift Mbwe, a Zambian agriculture entrepreneur who owns Toya Entreprises that processes products that contribute to promotion of health and nutrition across Africa, said she has identified opportunities in Rwanda and want to scale her business in the country.
“The Rwandan community is encouraging Pan Africanism spirit of cooperation for Africans to develop together. I believe that my products will also benefit Rwandans,” she said. “I also believe that people shouldn’t worry about food because getting food is a human right. As Africa battles malnutrition issues, I want to contribute to solving that. Food is holistic and so it contributes to not only body but also mind. When people get food, they will be able to work and go for development.”
Robert Agufana Belle from Kenya is the Acting Presidential Advisor of AfCTA Young Entrepreneurship Federation (AfYEF) and is passionate about helping African youth to rise.
He is aware that the challenge African youths have is not helping each other and choosing to look for solutions outside the continent instead.
He said he volunteers to help them share ideas and also learn from them, adding that he is planning to partner with people doing business in Rwanda in terms of capacity building and professional development to help them improve.
Tackling Pan Africanism, he said his contribution to make it work is to raise awareness across the continent that Africa is open for trade.
Joyce Idun from Ghana, owns a social entreprise called Girl Support Movement and is into health and skin beauty — making cosmetics.
Throughout Youth Spark Pan Africa, she has been able to connect with other young African youth from diverse disciplines, has built network as well as exchanged experience with them.
She said she is planning to launch her products in Rwanda as the country develops at a fast rate and believes her products are needed not only in the country but also across the entire Africa.
She added: “It is time for Africans to come together and patronize Africa. We should patronize made in Africa products because that’s how Africa is going to boom like other developed continents.”Mike Nyarwaya Shyaka, Commissioner for Political Integration and International Relations at Pan African Movement – Rwanda addresses the group in Kigali
The team arrived in Kigali from 26 to 27 July, and visited different places