Local firms should take advantage of the forthcoming Rwanda International Trade Fair (RITF) to deepen their market reach locally and abroad through networking and partnerships, the Private Sector Federation (PSF) has said.
According to Eric Kabeera, the head of communications at PSF, the expo also gives Rwandan producers and service providers a huge opportunity to interact with customers and showcase their innovations, as well as market Made-in-Rwanda products. It is also an opportunity for local companies to learn and share knowledge with foreign firms, he added.
“The overall objective of RITF is employment creation, poverty reduction, import substitution and general economic development. This will lead to increased exports, job opportunities, more consumption of locally-made products, as well as appropriate technology transfer; all of which drive economic development,” Kabeera said yesterday while giving an update on the annual event.
Exhibitors from 20 countries have so far confirmed their participation in the expo slated for August 22 to September 6, he said, adding that PSF expects more 500 local and international firms to showcase their products and services at the two-week event.
Exhibitors that have confirmed participation are from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Canada, Iran, Pakistani, Turkey, Singapore, Malaysia, Nigeria, Ghana, USA and the East African Community (EAC) member states, among others.
Over 270,000 showgoers are expected to attend the trade fair.
Experts believe there is need for value addition to locally-made products if they are to be competitive and also penetrate other markets like EAC, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and International markets.
“So, the annual trade fair is one of the platforms where firms can share expertise, knowledge and network to boost their competitiveness,” said Justine Ufitikirezi, a Kigali-based businesswoman.
Promoting Made in Rwanda
Meanwhile, Rwanda is counting on the expo to market its locally made products and build confidence among consumers about local brands. Recently Government unveiled the Made-in-Rwanda policy to address issues of quality, prices, and cost of production, as well as link industries to suppliers.
The policy is geared at boosting local industrial growth.
Last year, the sector contributed 17 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product and government is targeting to increase this figure to 20 per cent by 2020, according to Ministry of Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs.