Edwin Ashimwe, The New Times
9 March 2023 at 11:00:00
The central African nation has put cannabis firmly on its investment agenda and is hoping to attract billions of dollars to make it a premier medical cannabis exporter.
This report from the New Times, 6 March 2023.
Rwanda is looking to invest at least Rwf19 billion in the production of cannabis, also known as a high-value therapeutic crop, The New Times has learnt.
The development was recently ranked among the country's top 100 investment opportunities, during the Invest Rwanda Forum held last week.
According to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), global cannabis production is projected to grow from the current $28.3 billion raked in 2021, to $197.7 billion in 2028 at a compound annual growth rate of 32 per cent.
"This represents a significant opportunity that can be further explored by Rwanda," reads part of the document.
Key products with potential medical cannabis, RDB added, include industrial hemp, edible products as well as cannabis oils.
Two years ago, Rwanda laid out plans to kick-start growing and exporting cannabis and its products.
The development, among others, provided a framework for responsible and secure cultivation, processing, distribution and use of cannabis in the country.
A year later, the country announced that it had designated 134 hectares to cannabis production, in the build-up to delivering the plant to the local market.
The New Times learnt that works are ongoing to see that the site is developed, and that about six companies, up from five last year, have shown strong interest.
When pressed for details, the source declined to provide further information but pointed out that no licenses have been given out yet.
"One of them is in advanced stages and we could soon have something on the ground," a reliable source told The New Times.
"If you get licensed to grow these therapeutic crops in Rwanda, you will be required to have in place a very strong security programme that has to be approved by our security organs, and that security programme is going to be highly implemented," Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive at RDB, said in an earlier interview.
"There will be no way that it (cannabis) can leak out of the farm to go to the domestic market or to the wrong users. The crops will be in a designated place, and there will be very strong measures, whether it is CCTV cameras, watch towers, street lights, and human security. So it is going to be extremely secure," she added.
Cannabis produced in Rwanda will be exclusively for export purposes. The biggest markets being looked at are the US, Canada, and Europe.