Rwanda Market Entry

Rwanda Market Entry
Basic data
Capital Kigali
Population 1million
Language English, Kinyarwanda, French, Swahili
Religion Christianity 85%, Islam 5%
State system parliamentary democracy
Head of State Paul Kagame
Head of government Édouard Ngirente
Currency name Rwandan franc
Time shift +1h CET (summer time), +2h CET (winter time)
Economy 2021
Nominal GDP (billion USD) 32.4
Economic growth (%) 9.6
Inflation (%) -0.4
Unemployment (%) ON


  • Positive relations with the Czech Republic, in terms of trade exchange and political relations
  • Member of EAC and AfCFTA · Active involvement in UN peacekeeping missions
  • Efforts to industrialize the country and strengthen agricultural self-sufficiency
  • The effort to start industry and agriculture, to break out of the position of a country that exports only unprocessed commodities, to the position of a country exporting products with added value


  • The long-term good name of the Czech Republic helps exports
  • The main export items are agricultural technology, medical technology, defense and security equipment
  • Czech exports to Rwanda are stable with a significantly positive trade balance
  • There is a demand not only for finished products, but also for the transfer of know-how

Basic conditions for the use of Czech goods on the market


  • Market entry
  • Forms and conditions of operation on the market
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Issues of intellectual property protection
  • Public procurement market
  • Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
  • Visas, fees, specific conditions of travel to the territory
  • Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
  • Fairs and events

Market entry

Rwanda has been a member of the WTO since 1996. Rwanda’s average MFN tariff is 1percent. Agricultural products face more barriers (19.9%) compared to non-agricultural products (11.7%). Rwanda joined the East African Community (EAC) in 2007 and applied the Common External Tariff (CET) in 2009. However, Rwanda’s exports to the EAC remain much smaller thanks to imports, although they have grown significantly in recent years, as exports are still destined for several traditional trade partners, and the use of preferential market access opportunities remains low. Check smber for agriculture and fishing facts of Rwanda.

As a member of the EAC, Rwanda also participated in the negotiations on the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU. Rwanda also belongs to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Under these agreements, Rwanda changed its legislation on the free movement of goods, services, capital and limited types of labour.

The Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) is responsible for standards and quality management and for ensuring their application. Technical regulations are developed by several ministries. According to the WTO Trade Policy Review, 528 Rwandan standards have been harmonized with EAC standards and 304 with COMESA standards. Institutions responsible for the inspection system, quality control laboratories and certification system are fragmented. In addition, the legal and regulatory framework for sanitary and phytosanitary measures is insufficient. In order to protect the environment, Rwanda bans the import of plastic bags. This can become a barrier to exports, along with the absence of packing plants in Rwanda, as exporters must obtain a permit from the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority to import plastic bags as packaging material.

Rwanda does not apply exchange controls. The local currency is freely convertible.

Every private company must have a registered office in Rwanda to which all communications and notices can be addressed and which is the address for service of court notices. Companies are registered with the RDB (Rwanda Development Board), registration takes approximately one day to complete once the required documents have been submitted.

A company is deemed to be resident in Rwanda if:

  • is incorporated under Rwandan law; or
  • has a place of effective governance in Rwanda

In terms of transfer pricing rules, transactions between related companies must be concluded at arm’s length.

Forms and conditions of operation on the market

The Rwanda Investment Promotion Act of 1998 is the document that deals with the conditions for the operation of foreign entities on the market.

According to this law, the following natural and legal persons may do business or invest in Rwanda:

  • private individuals who are not Rwandan citizens or citizens of a member country of the Comesa Common Market
  • companies registered under the law of countries other than Rwanda or the Comesa country
  • companies registered in Rwanda under local law in which more than 50% of the shares are held by persons who are not citizens of Rwanda or a Comesa country
  • an association in which a controlling block of shares is held by a person who is not a citizen of Rwanda or a Comesa country

If a Czech natural or legal person is interested in establishing an office, representation or joint venture in Rwanda, it is recommended to contact the state agency, Rwanda Development Board, which is able to communicate the current conditions for the implementation of the investment plan. RDB operates a single point of contact for investors. Investors can apply to establish a company and obtain a tax identification number (“TIN”).

Types of entities that are available for foreign investment:

  • joint stock company · limited liability company
  • registered branch of a foreign company Investors do not need to register their investments with the RDB (Rwanda Development Board) and obtain an investment registration certificate, but registration is required to benefit from priority incentives

Incentives include:

  • reduced corporate income tax rates valid for five years
  • tax exemption available to an international company that has its head office or regional office in Rwanda;
  • seven-year tax holidays and a reduced corporate tax rate of 15% available to registered investors in priority sectors;
  • five-year tax holidays available to microfinance institutions
  • tax exemption for a registered investor investing in products used in Export Processing Zones (EPZs).

Marketing and communication

Marketing requirements are usually negotiated with the relevant local representative, who often asks for financial support to introduce a certain product to the market. The aspect of promotion as such, as well as its form, which does not differ from the form common in developed countries, are often underestimated by Czech exporters. On-site promotion cannot be carried out without English brochures and technical descriptions.

For consumer goods, but also for some equipment, promotion in the media, especially in the press, is usual.

From the field of digital promotion, it is advisable to have your FB page. A number of Rwandan companies use FB exclusively for their promotion and do not even have their own websites.

Issues of intellectual property protection

Like many developing countries, Rwanda is an active member of the WTO. However, the protection of intellectual property is still minimal at the legislative level, and its practical application is even worse. Anglo-Saxon show-business suppliers are primarily at risk, but the threat is limited by the very limited purchasing power of the population, for whom even clean data carriers and playback devices are no longer available. Another group in which Czech companies could appear to a limited extent are software manufacturers. However, copying mainly concerns consumer and entertainment software. The theft of technological software applications as well as circumvention of patent rights, which could threaten Czech companies the most, point to the country’s low technical culture.

The following international agreements have legal force:

African Regional Intellectual Property Organization

  • Madrid Protocol
  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property
  • Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

Public procurement market

Public contracts are generally awarded in the form of tenders. The first step, especially in the case of tenders for construction work or consultancy activities, is the pre-qualification and registration of interested parties, who, if they are evaluated as suitable for the given purpose, are then approached directly by sending tender conditions. Tenders are published in the daily press. However, the deadlines for submitting bids tend to be very short, so only those companies that are physically present at the location or that have their representatives have a real hope of success.

In the case of tenders that are financed by certain banks or agencies where the Czech Republic is not a member (e.g. African Development Bank), it is necessary for the Czech supplier to use a company based in a country that is a member country of the given bank or agency for its offer.

The contact for the National Tender Committee of Rwanda is as follows:

National Tender Board Avenue de la Paix

BP 4276, Kigali Web:

Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes

Rwanda’s legal system is based on Franco-Belgian civil law and common law, but the Anglo Saxon law system is gradually being introduced. The current Rwandan legal system is thus a hybrid containing elements of civil law and common law.

In the event of a dispute between a foreign investor and the Rwanda Development Board (“RDB”) or the Government in relation to a registered investor, efforts are made to resolve the dispute through amicable dispute settlement negotiations. If the dispute is not settled by negotiations, it may be submitted to arbitration in accordance with the following methods, which may be mutually agreed upon by the parties involved:

  • under a bilateral or multilateral investment protection agreement to which the government and the country of which the investor is a national are parties, or
  • in accordance with another international procedure for the resolution of investment disputes
  • Disputes between companies can be resolved through amicable conciliation or out-of-court settlement (conciliation and arbitration), either ad hoc or institutional arbitration in Kigali. International Arbitration Center serving as a platform for arbitration (in the latter case)
  • It is also possible to appeal to an arbitral body located outside of Rwanda

Alternatively, disputes can also be resolved through the court system (Commercial Court, Commercial High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court).

In the case of new business contacts, an irrevocable documentary letter of credit, opened at a reputable bank, is used. It is not uncommon for smaller orders to be paid in advance for new customers.

Visas, fees, specific conditions for traveling to the territory


Travel regime for citizens of the Czech Republic – visa relations for all types of passports.

Requirement for entering the country for holders of all types of CR passports – a valid entry or transit visa.

Holders of Czech passports can apply for a visa 1) via the Internet from the Rwandan government portal Irembo (“visa application” option), or /user/citizen/service/dgie/request_a_visa 2) upon arrival in Rwanda at the airport – see official Rwandan government information on visa issues:

Any questions regarding the submission of visa applications can be addressed by e-mail to the Visa and Consular Department of the Embassy of the Embassy of Rwanda in Berlin: [email protected] The administrative fee for submitting a visa application for a single entry for a stay of up to 30 days is 50,- USD, visa for multiple entry USD 70, visa to attend the conference USD 30. The visa fee must never exceed USD 50 for a single-entry visa and USD 70 for a multiple-entry visa. If a higher fee is requested, these are fraudulent sites offering to process Rwanda online visas without authorization.

The Rwandan Immigration Office reserves a period of 7 days for the processing of the electronic visa. To submit an application, you must have a passport, the validity of which must be at least 6 months longer than the period of your planned stay in Rwanda. Your passport must have at least one blank page for entry stamps. It is generally recommended to obtain a visa online before traveling to Rwanda.

We recommend that you check the current conditions of entry into the country at the Rwandan Embassy in Berlin before your trip. Contact: Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda Jägerstrasse 67-69, 10117 Berlin, Germany Tel.: 0049 30 2091 6590 E-mail: [email protected] web:

With regard to frequent questions from the public, we emphasize that the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Nairobi does not take part in the process of issuing Rwandan visas. We recommend addressing any questions to the Rwandan Embassy in Berlin. When entering the country, it is not necessary to prove the provision of funds for the stay.

Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic

Any business investing at least US$250,000 in Rwanda automatically has the right to appoint three foreigners to the management of the company.

Persons living abroad can work in Rwanda if they have a work permit issued by the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration. Work permits are usually granted to approved foreign businesses to operate in Rwanda for key persons of the business. However, any business can accept any category of foreign skilled labor if Rwandans are not available. The company will have to prove that it has carried out a labor market test and has been unable to obtain candidates who meet the necessary requirements on the local market.

A foreigner who has a work contract for a period of more than 90 days must apply for a work permit within 15 working days from the date of entry into Rwanda. A foreign worker may also be allowed to change employers and renew his work permit by written information sent to the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration.

In terms of labor regulations in Rwanda, an employee may be seconded to Rwanda by a foreign employee, as it is not a legal requirement for such an employee to be employed by a local entity in Rwanda to provide services in Rwanda. However, in Rwanda such an employee must have an employment contract governed by Rwandan law.

Employment by a local entity is possible on the basis of a work permit or Q1 permit. Fixed-term contracts specifying a fixed period of employment, at the end of which the contractual relationship is automatically terminated, are permitted. Remuneration for work must be paid in local currency.

Foreigners working in Rwanda should purchase international health insurance before arriving in Rwanda. Furthermore, it is strongly recommended that foreigners have insurance that covers the cost of emergency evacuation and transportation in the event of serious injury.

Fairs and events

Fairs and conferences are an opportunity to get to know partners and meet competitors.

The biggest CONFERENCES are held at the new Kigali Conference Center –

TRADE FAIRS are held at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village (KCEV)

The calendar of events can be found at (or edit the event year in the link)


Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firemen, information lines, etc.)

  1. Police (Rwanda National Police Service)

Telephone numbers for the public – help in an emergency

police: 112 traffic accidents: 113

traffic police: 118

accidents on lakes and waterways: 110

emergency situations involving children (child help-line): 116

Regional Police Headquarters:

Kigali: +250 (0) 78 8311128

Gicumbi (Byumba) Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1144

Rusizi (Cyangugu) Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1136

Nyamagabe (Gikongoro) Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1131

Rubavu (Gisenyi) Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1149

Muhanga (Gitarama) Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1129

Huye (Butare) Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1127

Ngoma (Kibungo) Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1158

MVK Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1125

Musanze (Ruhengeri) Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1146

Kigali Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1128

Remera Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1121

Gikondo Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1140

Muhima Brigade +250 (0) 78 831 1122

Nyamirambo Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1123

Kicukiro Brigade: +250 (0) 78 831 1117

  1. Fire department (Fire Department) 24/7 fire service is provided by the Rwanda National Police, main emergency number: 112

Other emergency numbers: +250 (0) 78 831 1120

  1. Medical rescue service and medical emergency (Ambulance / Emergency Medical Services) Ambulance: 112

Samu Ambulance Services: 912

Kigali – 24 hour emergency hospital

King Faisal Hospital phone: +250 (0) 252 588888, +250 (0) 252582421, +250 (0) 252585397, +250 (0) 252582469

Polyclinique du Plateau tel: +250 (0) 25 257 8767 or +250 (0) 78 830 1630

Important web links and contacts

Republic of Rwanda Government Portal – Website:

overview of the institutions of executive, legislative and judicial power website:

website of the government office with a clear list of all ministries website:

Office of the Prime Minister website: E-mail: [email protected]

The government of the Republic of Rwanda has 19 ministries

  1. Minister in The Office of The President website: website: Email: [email protected] Twitter: @PaulKagame
  2. Ministry of Education website: Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Rwanda_Edu
  3. Ministry of Environment website: Email: [email protected]
  4. Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management website: Email: [email protected]
  5. Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning website: Email: [email protected]
  6. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation website: Email: [email protected]
  7. Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion website: Email: [email protected]
  8. Ministry of Health website: Email: [email protected]
  9. Ministry of ICT and Innovation website: Email: [email protected]
  10. Ministry of Infrastructure website: Email: [email protected]
  11. Ministry of Justice website: Email: [email protected]
  12. Ministry of Local Government website: Email: [email protected]
  13. Ministry of Public Service and Labor website: Email: [email protected]
  14. Ministry of Sports website: Email: [email protected]
  15. Ministry of Trade and Industry website: Email: [email protected]
  16. Ministry of Youth and Culture website: Email: [email protected]
  17. Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources website: Email: [email protected]
  18. Ministry of Defense website: Email: [email protected]
  19. Minister in Charge of Cabinet Affairs website: Email: [email protected]

Rwanda Market Entry