Rwanda is doubling its efforts to help build the capacity of its businesses to tap into international and regional markets.
This has therefore pushed the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) to sign an agreement worth USD $2.4 million.
The agreement aims to link 40 local producers of non- traditional exports to new markets by 2023 by providing business advisory services for export-ready companies.
According t a statement from TMEA, Rwandan university graduates will be placed in mentorship programmes to build their capacity in trade policy and export development. This will ensure the long-term sustainability of the outcomes of the programme.
“The support from TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) is part of the USD $50 million Memorandum of Understanding signed between TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) and the Government of Rwanda early this year. The funding to RDB is being provided by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through TMEA.” The statement reads in part.
In July 2016, the Hub and Rwanda Development Bank identified, prepared and showcased several promising investment opportunities to global investors during the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment forum.
There are currently three possible transactions awaiting closure in the Hub’s investment pipeline. One of the deals is in the financial service sector, the other two are within the agribusiness sector.
According to the East Africa Trade Investment Hub, nearly 50 entrepreneurs attended the Hub’s March 2016 AGOA workshop in Kigali, Rwanda. From export-ready firms with considerable operations, such as C & H Garment, to startup home décor enterprises. The Hub’s workshop seminars are designed to help alleviate export-ready challenges by detailing AGOA opportunities by sector, outlining the AGOA export process, and suggesting avenues for access to finance.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, RDB Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel Hategeka said that the partnership with TMEA couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Supporting local exporters will increase employment opportunities for Rwandans while at the same time helping to reduce Rwanda’s trade deficit.” Said Hategeka.
TMEA Country Director Ms. Patience Mutesi-Gatera said that growing Rwandan exports and getting Rwandan companies to compete at the international markets may seem complex.
“We believe it is possible with collaboration, and that is why we have renewed our partnership with RDB to especially support the Rwanda National Export Strategy. Our research shows that some of the constraints faced by potential Rwandan exporters include weak export networks, inadequate exporting skills and low productivity of labour. This programme will resolve some of these challenges.
It will enable RDB build capacity of local industries in producing products that meet international standards, thereafter promoting exports and providing business development services including development of marketing strategies and provision of information and training to enhance knowledge of market requirements. Ultimately, our goal is to increase Rwanda’s export base as this will stimulate new jobs and improve incomes for the people of Rwanda” Mutesi-Gatera said.
The programme will include a mix of interventions like on-firm advisory services tailored to respond to company needs and then linking companies to regional and international markets. The project will also seek to develop a cadre of local export advisors through a training programme in conjunction with local business development service providers.
In providing technical assistance, the programme will provide a Technical Advisor to RDB’s export department who will support formulation, implementation and coordination of policies, strategies, programs and projects that enhance Rwandan exports. The Special Economic Zone Authority of Rwanda will also be furnished with technical expertise required to effectively regulate Special Economic Zones in Rwanda.
The partnership signed with RDB complements other programmes implemented by the Government of Rwanda and supported by TMEA.
They include the ‘Rwanda Electronic Single Window’ implemented by Rwanda Revenue Authority, the development of an Industrial Park and Advanced Factory Units (AFUs) through the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM) and the development of transport infrastructure on Lake Kivu in partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Rwanda Transport Development Agency.