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President Kagame and Tony Blair promote Rwanda as place for business

22nd September 2008

His Excellency President Kagame and Tony Blair met today in New York to discuss private sector investment and the business climate in Rwanda, and to review the progress made in Rwanda since their last meeting in May.

Tony Blair today congratulated President Kagame for Rwanda's successful business reforms, making it one of sub-Saharan Africa's top five performers according to the recent World Bank "Doing Business 2009" global report, and looks forward to the next steps in their joint work.

In July 2008, Tony Blair sent a team of eight experts to help build capacity in the Rwandan Government, strengthen Rwanda's think tank, the Institute for Policy, Analysis and Research (IPAR), and draw private sector investment into the country.

The President was pleased to inform Mr. Blair that his team are now fully embedded in Rwanda, and working closely with their Rwandan counterparts in several institutions including the presidency.

President Kagame said: "The support and advice provided by the Blair team has been invaluable. In particular, I want to commend their efforts in training Rwandans rather than just gap filling in order to strengthen the capacity of my government and other institutions."

Mr. Blair expressed how happy he was with the work of his team and praised the Rwandans for being open and collaborative. He emphasised that his staff were in Rwanda to build the capacity of the Rwandans, so that Rwanda could drive her own development and become less dependent on aid. He welcomed the creation of the Rwanda Development Board, saying that this would be crucial to helping Rwanda secure investment, alongside the work already done to improve the business climate, which was now paying dividends with the Rwanda's recent rise in the Doing Business rankings.

Tony Blair said: "I am extremely happy to be working with President Kagame. As I have said before, I have great admiration for the way he has led Rwanda. The World Bank Doing Business indicators, which show that Rwanda is open for investment and one of the fastest reformers in the region demonstrate the success of business reforms he has spearheaded. My team and I will be working over the next few months with the Rwandans to harness the investment potential of Rwanda. I believe that this, along with the work we're doing to improve the systems and processes of government, will enable Rwandans to drive forward their own future"

The World Bank and IFC have hailed Rwanda's reforms, saying that Rwanda "was the fastest reforming economy in a region that is increasingly of interest to investors seeking opportunities in emerging markets."