In February Deloitte officially launched their office for business in Rwanda; another office in neighbouring Burundi is scheduled to be operational before the end of 2014. The openings are an important step to Deloitte, with 5,000 employees already deployed in 34 countries across the African continent. Deloitte Rwanda Country Leader Norbert Kagoro elaborates.
“Rwanda is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and Deloitte wants to be part of its push upstream”, says Norbert Kagoro, who is a partner in the company’s audit function, and responsible for timely and cost-efficient service delivery to all of Deloitte’s clients in Rwanda and neighbouring country Burundi. Deloitte, a prominent among the ‘Big Four’ by the names of EY, KPMG, PwC and Deloitte, offers auditing, tax advisory and compliance, consulting, financial advisory services and enterprise risk services. The Deloitte Rwanda office, currently with a staff of 20 stationed in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, becomes an addition to Deloitte East Africa.
Ease of doing business in Rwanda
“In ease of doing business in Sub-Saharan Africa”, Norbert continues, “Rwanda ranks second. The Rwandan government created an environment for investors that is unparalleled. Entrepreneurs can have their company registered and receive their tax identification certificate and social security number the same day they file for it; and they can do all this online. Land titles are delivered by the lowest local administrative office. These are all enablers that investors notice as they move into the heart of Africa. Deloitte Rwanda comes in so as to take our services as close to our clients as we possibly can.”
Problems beg solutions
This is not to say that Rwanda has earned its arrival status. “Significant challenges lie ahead of us”, Norbert points out, while emphasising that “this is not a reason to lament”. “Because of the country’s past and also partly because of the genocide that took place in 1994, one setback the country was faced with was limited human capital capacity. This is being addressed through a thorough education policy that involves promotion of private universities in Rwanda, free primary and secondary education among other things.
The population of eleven million people does not make for a big market. However, we have joined the East African community, which translates to a market of 150 million people. Furthermore, Rwanda is landlocked, which undeniably drives up costs of transportation. But once again, we look forward to the completion of a gateway railway system that runs from Kenya via Uganda to Rwanda. Problems beg solutions, and we want to be part of those solutions.”
The opening of the Deloitte’s new office in Rwanda is a timely move given that Government of Rwanda is rolling out the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction (EDPRS2) strategy as well as the third phase of the government decentralisation process: “After the events 1994, the Rwandese government was faced with the enormous challenge of wanting to deliver its services to every individual in the country, yet at that point found itself confined by a centralised structure. A decentralisation process was undertaken in the mid-2000s that brought services closer to its citizenry; and the story continues. Deloitte has a public sector team ready to make contributions to the implementation of the EDPR strategy and the decentralisation process that will continue to fortify the economy.”
Do you consider Rwanda a regional success story? Norbert: “An affirmative yes! As much as Rwanda lagged behind because of its historical challenges, it is catching up with neighbouring economies at a very fast pace and it looks to sustain this positive growth and direction in the future.”