PUBLISHED ON November 17th, 2023

Rwanda’s Rubavu Port: A catalyst for economic development & enhanced regional trade dynamics

Rubavu Port, Rwanda’s largest port, is nearing completion at 96%, and its launch is slated for December. According to Déogratias Nzabonimpa, the Acting Mayor of Rubavu district, despite ongoing finishing works, the port is expected to be handed over this month, with the possibility of the first ship gaining access by December 1.

Situated in the Rubavu District along the shores of Lake Kivu, the port spans two hectares. Its completion is anticipated to enhance cross-border trade between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and stimulate tourism in the region. Managed by Société centrale pour l’équipement du Territoire (SCET-Tunisie), the port comprises two sections—one for cargo and another for passengers—serving both business and tourism purposes. The project, developed by Rwanda’s government through the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA), received support from TradeMark Africa and Invest International. The port is designed to accommodate 1.4 million passengers annually, with a projected completion cost of $7.8 million.

President Kagame has actively promoted private sector engagement as a catalyst for economic development. The government has implemented business-friendly policies, streamlined bureaucratic processes, and provided incentives to attract foreign direct investment. The goal has been to create an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and economic growth. Also, one of his key priorities has been the development of the tourism sector as a means to boost the economy and showcase Rwanda’s rich cultural and natural heritage.

Rubavu Port is not just a maritime gateway; it’s a catalyst for economic growth, job creation, and enhanced regional trade dynamics. Here are some economic benefits Rwanda stands to gain:

Trade facilitation: Rubavu Port serves as a vital link in Rwanda’s trade network, facilitating the seamless movement of goods between Rwanda and neighbouring countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Its strategic location offers landlocked Rwanda direct access to maritime routes, reducing transit times and transportation costs for both imports and exports. This improved connectivity positively impacts the efficiency of the supply chain, benefiting various sectors of the economy.

Diversification of trade routes: By utilizing Rubavu Port, Rwanda diversifies its trade routes, reducing risks from disruptions and creating new opportunities for collaboration and trade with other nations. Consequently, the port strengthens Rwanda’s position in the global marketplace.

Job creation: The development of Rubavu Port stimulates employment opportunities, ranging from skilled labour involved in port infrastructure to administrative and operational roles. The ripple effect extends to ancillary industries, generating jobs in transportation, logistics, and trade-related services. The port also inspires skill development initiatives, fostering a more competent and specialized workforce.

Revenue generation: Rubavu Port will also help the Rwandan government generate revenue through taxes, tariffs, and other levies associated with trade activities. The increased economic activity driven by the port contributes to the nation’s GDP growth. The strategic positioning and efficient operations of the port attract foreign direct investment, further boosting economic development.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.