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Our Journey into the unknown

The OP2Cloud Team made a trip to Rwanda and found a country that had experienced a horrific event in 1994 and now has become the most peaceful and efficient place to do business in Africa. Dedicated experts like Steve Mutabazi make a difference in Rwanda.

Living in Europe for decades it was only a question of time as to when we would go back to Africa to live our dreams and to be a part of the transformation of Africa. As we described it in our last blog, we started doing our due diligence to find the right place to start our business in Africa. Once we had gathered enough information, we contacted and met the Honorable Ambassador of Rwanda to Germany, Igor Caesar, in Berlin. He took the time to listen to our idea and was enthusiastic about our business vision that we are planning to implement in Rwanda which also conforms to Rwanda's Vision 2020. It was truly an honor to have a conversation with him and to hear that he strongly promotes IT Technology as an enabler for development and progress. After the meeting with him we were more encouraged for our business venture  and knew that Rwanda would the right place for OP2Cloud. He assured us of his support and he delivered. Thanks to him for his ability to connect us with the right experts for our venture in Rwanda.

The journey to Rwanda in November 2017 was first time for the entire OP2Cloud Team, although some of our team members had been there before. The trip was exciting for all of us, because we wanted not only to meet the people and see the country, but also to set up a business. A lot of entrepreneurs who try to start a business in Africa tell horror stories about their journey and their  awful experience with government offices.

We were of course confronted with the question as to whether Rwanda is indeed different from other African countries. Our first impression upon entering the country at the Kigali airport was a good indicator for Rwanda not being corrupt. When we paid for our visa in cash, the immigration officer did not have the change to give us 2 Euros back and he declined to accept, when we offered him a chance to pass on the change.  Impressive!

Company registration within 5 hours informs us about  the efficiency of the public sector and professionals working in the government institution.

Driving to the hotel from the Airport, you can instantly tell that  Kigali is a very clean city, probably the cleanest city in Africa. We later realized that not only are the main roads  clean, but also the side roads as well. It seems that Rwandans just keep everything clean wherever they are. The elimination of plastic from the country is a big achievement to keep the environment clean and is a contribution to reducing the world's energy consumption. We observed Umuganda Day where Rwandans are requested to clean up their neighborhood every last Saturday of the month. 

We went to the Rwandan Development Board (RDB) in Kigali to start the process of having our company registered. We met with Steve Mutabazi, Chief Investment Strategist ICT Sector, at RDB who has been instrumental in supporting our idea and helping us to gain a solid footing in Rwanda. Having conversations with Steve is very inspiring and we understand now why Rwanda has made tremendous  progress in such a short period of time. People like Steve make a difference in Rwanda. 

We know Rwanda is among very few African nations for efficiently doing business, but it was time for us now to test the efficiency by registering our company. After notarizing our document we started applying for business registration. After our data was put in the system our company was fully registered within the 5 working hour SLA defined by the RDB. To our surprise even our Investment Registration Certificate was issued within 2 days. 

The RDB is One-Stop-Shopping:  you have all entities that are required under one roof. This is truly an efficient process and of course the

professional employees at the RDB like Robert Shema greatly supported us in every step of the process in this short period of time. We were very appreciative to  Robert who spent his free time showing us the city and taking us to the local market. It is great advantage to have a  local resident on your side to help you learn more about a country.  

Rwanda’s public sector is well organized and efficient. We visited the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) to ask for custom regulations had all the information at their fingertips and handed over to us a document we wanted. When you think about doing business in Africa you will always think about being asked for bribes to get things done or to speed things up. We spent 4 weeks in the country and we never experienced any corruption or crime in Rwanda. 

Security seems to be a big deal in Rwanda. Everywhere you go you feel safe, even if you walk through the streets of Kigali at night. More security means lower risk for investors to conduct business in Rwanda.

Traveling from Kigali to Gisenyi at Lake Kivu we had a chance to meet people in the countryside and see beautiful green hills all over the country. Overall we had good mobile connections and reception. Rwanda has one of Africa’s fastest internet connections and 4G mobility coverage throughout the country which allows you to remain effective in your communication. We were impressed to see useful IT-based l utilities for public use such as an  e-ticketing system for public transportation. It is very encouraging to see that Rwanda has no fears in accepting new technology.

Overall all we had a great journey to Rwanda and completed everything that we had planned to do, thus saving us tremendous time and energy. We are convinced that we are on the right track. What we saw in Rwanda truly exceeded our expectation.

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