The 16th edition of the annual Kigali International Trade Fair closed on a high, yesterday, with several companies walking away with accolades.
Tigo Rwanda was named the overall best exhibitor, beating Bralirwa and Simba Supermarket to the trophy.
The Minister for Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, said the exhibition portrayed a clear picture of how economically important regional integration is.
“All the exhibitors made this a very eventful trade fair, especially those from the neighbouring countries and beyond. The latter could as well decide to make a permanent stay in the country and establish new markets for themselves,” he said.
Kanimba said government was doing its best to invest in infrastructure in order to facilitate private sector activity.
“As we said 15 days ago, at the start of this trade fair, all firms, especially the small and medium enterprises, are key drivers to economic growth,” he said.
Benjamin Gasamagera, the chairperson of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), said they had carried out a mini-survey as the fair was on-going and out of the 95 foreign exhibitors that were visited, 18 said they sold as they had expected and hoped to open shop in Rwanda, while 86 per cent confirmed they had advertised well their products and services.
“We have already set up a secretariat for next year’s bookings. I am sure it will even be more successful as we are always open for feedback on what you feel we should adjust in the organisation,” Gasamagera said.
He was responding to Allen Atwine, an exhibitor of Forever Living products, who said the Expo Grounds in Gikondo was getting more congested each year and that the federation should consider either expanding the current location or looking for a much expansive area with better infrastructure.
The trade fair, according to PSF, attracted an average of 13,000 people per week day and between 25,000 to 30,000 people during the weekends.
Simba Supermarket and Globe One emerged best in retail and distribution; ETC Agro Ltd, Sorwathe and Sina Gerard emerged best in Agribusiness, while TV 10, Rwanda Social Security Board and UAP Insurance were the best in the services sector.
Bank of Kigali, Ecobank and Equity won in the banking sector, while Airtel and MTN took accolades in the ICT sector.
In manufacturing sector, Sulfo Industries emerged the best, while in terms of serving with the best customer care, Capital Markets Authority, Cogebanque and Inyange Industries were duly awarded.
Fudisum, from Malaysia, Movit Industries and RwandAir took the most innovative exhibitors awards, while Kenya topped Ghana and Pakistan as the best country exhibitor.
Gasamagera said the quality of the stands this year and products was a sign that the fair improves by the year. Next year’s expo will be held between July 23 and August 6.