As a developing country, Rwandans have seen an ongoing change in regard to their living standards since the early 2000s. Rwanda has continually been trying to rebuild itself over the past 25 years since the 1994 Genocide which left the country completely destroyed; the main driving forces being the export of coffee and tea as well as tourism and foreign aid.
Given the size of Rwanda and its population, the business market is highly competitive. Both local and international corporations hire the best local talent, and sometimes even international talent, in strategic positions to help with success. Rwanda was ranked at number five for women’s participation to the economy, as well as their health, educational achievements and political involvement. The country was also ranked globally at number five for gender equality with women occupying more than 50% of seats in the parliament in Rwanda. Despite all of this, patriarchal traditional culture is still a big challenge to the promotion of feminism.
The World Bank’s “Doing Business index” lists Rwanda in 29th place in the world for the easiest place to do business in the world and was the only Low-Income Country to feature in the top 30. This is down to Rwanda making starting up a business less costly, replacing electronic billing machines with free software for value added tax invoices, as well as the country reducing the time taken to export and import through putting in place the Single Customs Territory, risk-based inspections and online certificates.
According to the 2019 index of economic freedom, Rwanda ranks as the 32nd freest country. The country’s overall score increased by 2.0 points, which is mainly down to the high scores it achieved for government integrity, the tax burden, fiscal health, and judicial effectiveness. Out of the 47 countries in the Sub-Saharan African region, Rwanda is ranked 2nd and when this score is compared to both regional and world averages, Rwanda comes out above average.
Despite all these obvious improvements to the country and their facilities, it does not mean doing business in Rwanda is without its challenges, as the biggest challenge that western people face managing Rwandan teams and clients are cultural differences.
From learning that Rwandans are not generally outspoken, to finding out that maintaining good relationships is more important than their own personal goals, World Business Culture provides invaluable information and expertise for doing business in Rwanda.
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This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Rwanda only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.