An initiative that will enable small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) to market and sell their products online will be unveiled soon as part of Made-in-Rwanda campaign aimed at penetrating new global markets.
The project that could help local producers deepen market reach will be facilitated by International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, according to Francois Kanimba, the Minister for Trade and Industry.
Kanimba said 30 SMEs involved in agro-processing, horticulture and manufacturing have already been identified to participate in the initial phase of the project.
“We will check the content of the project by end of this month; we are also arranging for these SMEs to take part in a forthcoming international trade fair in Europe to learn from other entrepreneurs,” Kanimba said.
He was optimistic that the online platform for SMEs will help solve some of the obstacles that come with export business, like lack of product information. He added that the move could increase the sector’s contribution to the country’s export returns.
Nsengimana said ITC will provide technical assistance by building and setting up ICT systems that facilitate international payments. The international body is already supporting similar projects in Senegal and Morocco, and Rwanda will be the third country in Africa to participate in the initiative.
Janet Nkubana, the managing director Gahaya Links, said the project challenges producers to make quality products that meet global standards. She added that the initiative could enable push small exporters to the next level, making them more competitive.
Minister for Youth and ICT Jean Philbert Nsengimana said selling Made-in-Rwanda products online is also part of efforts to promote cashless economy and e-commerce. He said e-commerce is instrumental in building the capacity of SMEs to enter new export markets. Hence, having a strong online presence would firm up the country’s share on an international stage.