Investment Missions



After much planning and preparation, an impressive programme of speakers were lined up and various social events arranged for this joint EU Trade and Investment mission in October 2017. However, the postponed Kenya presidential re-run election scheduled for October 26th, the very day the main mission meeting was due to be held, meant that no less than twenty one confirmed participants pulled out at short notice, some because of security concerns about leaving their families/businesses and others, the Kenyans, because they wished to vote. In the end, the total number was ten delegates, including the UK CEO, who was the mission leader.

Thanks in part to the generosity of various sponsors and hosts, the mission was a great success, despite the smaller than expected number of participants. Briefings were provided by the EU Head of Delegation and British High Commissioner, largely focusing on the political situation in the country and the region, whilst the IMF Country Manager and World Bank/IFC senior economists provided economic and business overviews. The Rwanda Development Board also played an active role, outlining the numerous business opportunities the country has to offer and helping with arranging various one on one meetings with domestic investors/business people, including the Executive Director of the Rwanda Private Sector Foundation.

The mission also provided an opportunity to get out of the capital, Kigali, to see more of the countryside, culminating in a very pleasant stay and lunch at the famous Virunga Lodge (see below) and also the opening of a new cricket pavilion, although this was marred by heavy rainfall on the day.


Leaving Kigali city and the quite stunning Serena Hotel, the vehicle slowly grinds its way up a steep and winding road. On one side, there are craggy rocky outcrops the reds, maroons, pinks, purples, blacks and beiges glistening from the recent rain, the grey lichen and small green ferns providing a gentle contrast. On the other, a steep slope down to the valley below. Eucalyptus trees, tall, straight and upright, cling on to the thin stony soil, about the only thing that will grow there. They are not wasted, however, because the wood is used extensively in the building and construction sector, for scaffolding, roof supports and beams. It is much valued.

When eventually reaching the top, the road winds pleasantly along the ridge, spectacular hills and valleys on either side. It is no wonder Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills, they are visible in every direction, stretching far into the distance. The most striking feature of the landscape, however, is how incredibly cultivated it is, with virtually every square centimetre growing one crop or another. The iron roofs of dwellings glint in the sun surrounded by the different hues of green, of maize and bananas, beans and potatoes, groundnuts and on the higher parts, the ubiquitous Eucalyptus. The rain feeds the lush valleys and streams abound; it is a memorable sight.

Then there are the people. Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and you can hardly drive fifty metres without seeing someone – sometimes walking on their own, more often in groups, going to or coming from markets with their purchases perched high on their heads. Others are tending and sweeping the verges, the recently-planted variegated-leaf bushes and hibiscus plants soon to become features beautifully lining the road in a country that takes huge pride in being neat, clean and tidy – there is virtually no rubbish in sight. Then you notice – why would you, unless you had been told – that everyone is wearing something on their feet, usually flip flops of some sort, because walking outside barefoot is strictly forbidden.

Turning off the tarmac road after around an hour and a half of enjoyable driving through the fascinating countryside, with exciting and tantalising glimpses of the Muhabura volcano peeking through its clothing of morning cloud, the journey changes suddenly as the vehicle twists and turns along a stone and murram track, past small villages and the usual array of crops all the way. There is a sense of being more in Africa after the earlier drive and then the VIRUNGA LODGE suddenly comes into view. The beating drums and singing voices of a “Royal welcome” break the silence as the manager offers a warm welcome and a tour up the path to the main building of the Lodge.

The views all around are stunning – five volcanoes’ peaks stretch away into the distance and the crater-lake Burera glistens in the sun way below. The quiet and peace is pierced by birdsong and the first cold beer is most welcome. The site has been chosen well and it took vision by someone, plus a good deal of courage and faith, to have embarked on such an ambitious project some fourteen years ago when Rwanda was a very different country, recovering as it was from the horrors of the genocide.

The owner and founder of this beautifully designed eco-Lodge is Praveen Moman, who, as a child growing up in Uganda in the 1960s, was inspired by early efforts with gorilla tourism.

The separately-spaced private bandas, all ingeniously equipped and tastefully decorated, and the main building means there is plenty of room to relax over a drink and read about the surrounding volcanic countryside. The new Diane Fossey map room is a fund of information for those at the beginning of a gorilla-trekking tour in the nearby national park. Where Praveen led, others have followed and there are now a number of luxury lodges to choose from. A visit to Rwanda should if possible include getting out of the city of Kigali and a trip out to his unique site in an area of great natural beauty. A truly memorable experience.


On October 28th, President Kagame presided over an opening ceremony for a new cricket stadium and pitch just outside Kigali, in pouring rain unfortunately, so no play was possible. It was Rwandan refugees that brought the game to the country after the genocide 23 years ago after seeing it played in camps in British-influenced Kenya and Uganda. This was a momentous day, a project at a place called Mahama, the culmination of efforts by the Rwandan Cricket Stadium Foundation that raised the £1 million sterling to build the stadium, largely from the UK.

The facility will double up as a community centre and HIV clinic, but the essential aim is to use cricket as a vehicle for social change and to bring hope, so that people can forget the traumas they have faced and put a smile on the kids’ faces.

It has not been easy to reach this stage as it took five years and much hard work to raise the funds. The next step is to build the social and educational programmes through a game that is unfamiliar to most Rwandans but one that is growing rapidly in popularity. The initial focus will be on disadvantaged women, to help them to build confidence, skills and leadership qualities, so that girls can stand up in a community of men and feel their input matters.

The hope is that now they have a proper ground and facilities, the game will boom, using it to reintroduce women into an orderly society and to improve their lives.


The “building blocks” for a joint-EU trade and investment mission to Ethiopia, from October 24th – 28th next year have been laid following a recent visit to the country by the EAA UK CEO. Expressions of support for the mission have been received from the EU and British embassies, the World Bank/IFC and the Ethiopian Investment Commission. Various social events have provisionally been planned and an optional visit to the historic city of Gondar, once the country’s capital, is also on the cards.



Africa Matters Ltd (UK)
Amec Foster Wheeler (UK)
Boskalis East Africa Ltd (Nairobi)
Bowman Associates (Nairobi)
Castor Vali Africa Ltd (Nairobi)
Channoil Consulting Ltd (UK)
Control Risks East Africa Ltd (Nairobi)
David Stogdale (Nairobi)
Dawood Shah (Nairobi)
Diccon Wilcock (Nairobi)
GT Bank Kenya Ltd (Nairobi)
Haussmann Group Ltd (Nairobi)
Heineken East Africa Ltd (Nairobi)
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Ltd (Nairobi)
Martin Oduor-Otieno (Nairobi)
Menas Associates (UK)
Neville Davies (Mombasa)
Ole Sereni Hotel Ltd (Nairobi)
Patrick Grant (Nairobi)
Peter Gray (UK)
Petrolube (K) Ltd (Nairobi)
RentCo East Africa Ltd (Nairobi)
SMS Smart Management Solution (Nairobi)
Sentinel Group Ltd (Nairobi)
Sumitomo Corporation Office (Nairobi)