At the recent African Business Travel Association Conference, representatives from nine African countries shared important tips about their countries that business travellers should know.
From the basics like payment and hotel options to the requirements for doing business, their ‘on the ground’ tips will benefit TMCs and travellers alike.
Spotlight on Rwanda
Rwanda is one of the most politically stable countries in Africa, and the ease of doing business is remarkable – a company can be opened in 24 hours, and can start trading in 48 hours.
When it comes to meetings, the culture is formal and business dress is required from Monday to Thursday. Fridays are ‘casual’, in the sense that traditional African attire is welcomed.
If in possession of an E-visa, travellers can move freely between Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Visas are available on arrival, and can be paid for with a credit card or cash.
Most vendors accept credit cards, or debit cards, from both MasterCard and Visa. In East Africa, Visa is the most used but hotels do accept American Express and Diners. Small payments at markets can be made with mobile money.
Rwanda is serviced by Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airways, and SAA has a codeshare with RwandAir.
Rwanda has experienced an increase in investment in the last few years, as the government has a zero tolerance approach to corruption, bribery, and crime.
Kagiso Dumasi, Commercial Manager Africa at BCD Travel, offers the following courtesy tips:
“It is key to portray respect for the culture. In turn, Rwandans will appreciate the culture of guests and show respect for their time. When it comes to conducting business, integrity and honesty are very important as the country has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to corruption. If you need to decline an invitation, honesty is the best policy.”
She says Rwandans believe that one’s personal life is private and that discussing it in the business environment demonstrates a lack of good judgement. “People are generally entrepreneurial and have high hopes for their country. They are proud of the country’s achievements and feel part of the government’s 2020 vision.”
Dumasi says littering is shunned and plastic is banned and will be confiscated on arrival at the airport. “The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is a good resource for business travellers in Rwanda, and will be happy to assist with any queries.” Queries with regard to business, trade, investments, networking etc can be made via the RDB website, or at the in-country office.