Made-in-Rwanda expo opens in Kigali

Kanimba (R) and Ruzibiza address journalists in Gikondo yesterday

There is need for more value addition to locally-made products to attract citizenry consumers and appeal to the regional market, the Minister for Trade, Industry, and East African Community Affairs (MINEACOM), François Kanimba, has said.

Kanimba was, yesterday, briefing journalists at the Private Sector Federation about the second Made-in-Rwanda exhibition that opens today at Gikondo Expo Grounds in Kicukiro District.

The expo, organised by the Private Sector Federation in partnership with MINEACOM, gives an opportunity to Rwandan manufacturers to showcase what they can do and their production potential to satisfy local market as government seeks to increase exports and bridge the import gap.

Sectors that will showcase their products include ICT, agro-processing, manufacturing, textile, construction, furniture, service sector among others.

Kanimba said the exhibition offers an opportunity to assess the results of the Made-in-Rwanda sensitisation campaign that has been running for the past months.

This will inform authorities and partner entities where to put more efforts for a sustainable local industry.

“We are glad that since we started the Made-in-Rwanda drive, the number of manufacturers and exhibitors has been going up. The Government has come up with different initiatives to support it, such as removing taxes on raw materials for textile industry, VAT law was revised, among others, and soon electricity tariff will be reduced. We hope these will boost domestic consumption, export and reduce import bill,” Kanimba said.

During the exhibition, a survey will be conducted through questionnaires that will be handed out and filled by the exhibitors to inform future policy formulation. An open meeting on Made-in-Rwanda will also be held.

Stephen Ruzibiza, the chief executive of the Private Sector Federation, called on the public to attend the expo to witness the potential of local firms.

“Different quality products will be on display at affordable prices,” Ruzibiza said.

A successful Made-in-Rwanda drive could save the country up to 18 per cent of what it spends on imports, according to the ministry.

To identify priority sectors that can quickly contribute to domestic market recapturing, the ministry conducted a study on “Domestic Market Recapturing Strategy (DMRS)” that was validated in February last year.

The study indicated that the total foreign exchange savings induced by DMRS could reach almost $450 million per year.

The strategy indicated three key potential sectors to recapture the domestic market; construction materials, which account for $206 million; light manufacturing, which accounts for $124m; and agro-processing, which accounts for $112 million.