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Promoting Growth In Rwanda

Angelique Karekeki, general manager of KOAKAKA cooperative in Rwanda, judges the odor of a coffee while taste testing. Coffee is one export from Rwanda. (file)

On September 26, the Senate passed the U.S.-Rwanda Bilateral Investment Treaty.

In a first in our nation's dealings with countries in sub-Saharan Africa in more than 10 years, the United States Senate has approved a treaty to promote trade between our nation and another by providing legal protections, including transparency in governance and neutral arbitration for business disputes, for both countries.

On September 26, the Senate passed the U.S.-Rwanda Bilateral Investment Treaty, initiated in 2008 between former President George W. Bush and Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame. Under the accord, Americans who invest in businesses operating in Rwanda are protected through an agreement by the Rwandan government to follow accepted legal and investment principles. More investors now will consider doing business in Rwanda than if those legal protections were not in force. Knowing that the rights of U.S. investors will be protected could encourage those in other nations to invest in Rwanda as well.

Since the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has made remarkable progress in implementing reforms that have helped rebuild the nation's economy and society. It has opened its economy, improved its business climate and embraced open trade and investment policies as a means to boost growth, create jobs and alleviate poverty. The recently concluded bilateral investment treaty can be seen as a seal of approval of these efforts.

Moreover, trade is a two-way street, benefitting our nation too. Such agreements build strategically important economic relationships that will support job creation and economic growth in the U.S.