Starting a Business in


Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Rwanda. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016.

Compare Rwanda to 189 other economies.

  • No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs

    Obtain an electronic signature

    Agency: Rwanda Development Board (RDB)

    The documents required to obtain an electronic signature are:
    - Proof of identity (Simple copy) of the managing director or of one of the shareholders of the company being formed or of an authorized representative. Scanned copy of the ID.
    - Contact Details of the managing director or of one of the shareholders of the company being formed or of an authorized representative
    - Email account of the managing director or of one of the shareholders of the company being formed or of an authorized representative

    The e-signature contains the user name and password which are used to log into the system for the registration process. The e-signature used to apply for business registration must be of the managing director or of one of the shareholders of the company being formed or of an authorized representative with powers of attorney.

    To obtain an electronic signature, applicants sign up with their email addresses and scan their ID cards to be attached to the account application. Once the account is set up, a registration number is generated to enable users to proceed to online registration. This registration number is also the tax identification number (TIN) and VAT number of the company.

    Less than one day (online procedure) no charge

    Register the company

    Agency: Rwanda Development Board (RDB)

    Online company registration has become mandatory as of February 17th, 2014. It is free of charge. Entrepreneurs need to check the uniqueness of their company name first, then they can submit the company documents and obtain an electronic copy of the registration certificate online as well as an electronic copy of their notification on tax duties and obligations. The dossier is subsequently transferred to the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) and all relevant entities' representatives to assign the new company with identification numbers. The company code issued is the same number for social security, tax identification and VAT.

    The required documents for submission are:
    - Duly completed online application
    - Proof of identity (Simple copy) for each signatory of the memorandum of association form. The documents need to be scans of the national ID for Rwandans
    - Name of the designated chairperson of the board of directors

    Starting in July of 2015, VAT registration can be completed during the online registration process. Any person who carries out taxable activities exceeding twenty million Rwandan Francs (20,000,000 RWF) of in the previous fiscal year, or five million Rwandan Francs (5,000,000 RWF) in the preceding calendar quarter is required to register for VAT at the Rwanda Development Board within a period of seven (7) days from the end of the year or from the end of the quarter mentioned above.

    Typically, business entrepreneurs complete online company registration from a Business Development Center or from the Rwandan Development Board offices. This is due to lack of knowledge about the online portal, as it is still a very new system.

    1 day no charge

    Purchase an electronic billing machine

    Agency: Certified Supplier

    By law, every company or tax payer must buy an electronic billing machine from a certified supplier. This is a new requirement based on the Ministerial Order No. 002/13/10TC of 31/07/2013 on Modalities of use of a certified Electronic Billing Machine, which was published in the Official Gazette Nr. 34 of 26/08/2013. Every invoice needs to be printed with this electronic billing machine. The machine costs about RWF 150,000.

    1 day RWF 150,000 approximately

    Register employees at the Social Security Office

    Agency: Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB)

    In order to register employees for social security, the employer must go to the Social Security Office to provide the employees’ information on a flash disc. This information is uploaded within 2 hours. Filing of returns is done quarterly. This procedure has been available online since December 2013.

    Less than one day (online procedure) no charge

    Pay for the trading license (“patente”)

    Agency: Tax Administration - Sector Level

    Every company needs to pay for a trading license (“patente”). The cost of the trading license depends on the company’s annual turnover and the type of business – for companies with a turnover above 40,000,000, the trading license costs RWF 90,000 (based on Law No. 59/2011 of December 31, 2011). The fee of the trading license can be paid during the fiscal year (paid annually before March 31). The new company must go to the tax administration at the Sector level where the company is located.

    1 day RWF 90,000