More foreign investors urged to invest in Rwanda’s vast market

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Francios Kanimba, has called up on more foreign investors to invest in Rwanda. The minister said the country has enormous business and investment opportunities which are still untapped.

Kanimba said this today while presiding over the official opening of the 19th edition of Rwanda International Trade Fair (RITF) at Gikondo expo grounds.

The exhibition organized by the Private Sector Federation in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM), stated on 27th of this month and will end on 10th August.

The minister noted that the international trade fair should be a marketing avenue for the Rwandan business community to engage in business networking for productive partnerships with other exhibitors from around the globe.

He revealed confidence on how the 19 edition of the Rwanda International Trade Fair is to serve as an education hub for the local manufacturing and processing companies. He said the event will ensure their rapid growth through access to information and technology know-how which are necessary to improve the competiveness for the local business community.

According to him, in this critical situation where Rwanda like many other developing nations has been experiencing widening trade deficit, trade fairs serve as a learning opportunity to fine tune the government strategies towards increased economic development.

He also revealed how government is investing heavily in the development of basic hub and software infrastructure which include transport, communication, energy, human capacity and skills which are crucial for private sector to invest and conduct businesses.

“The government has already put in place business friendly policies, legal and regulatory frameworks that create an enabling environment for the private sector to conduct businesses in Rwanda. It’s in this regard that I encourage foreign investors who are seeking for a stable and profitable investment location to look to Rwanda which is a country with investment opportunities since it offers cost-effective access to a larger market in the region,” Minister Kanimba said.

The minister also revealed how statistics indicate that there are great strides taken since the inception of the exhibition concept in 1998 as the number of local and foreign exhibitors has been increasing 10 times from then.

He commended that the number of participating countries has also increased from the initial focus on East African member states to a broader participation from all different regions of the African continent and beyond.

However, he noted that there is still need to do more in attracting even more exhibitors from other continents especially Europe and America whose participation in RITF is still low.

He noted that the trends which the country is observing will provide and create channels to attract more foreign direct investment in the country.

He noted that his ministry is working hand in hand with PSF to update the feasibility study on Rwanda International Trade Fairs and Exhibitions Park (RITEP) project and to mobilize resources for its implementation.

RITEP is a project aimed at developing trade fairs and exhibition facility which include a hotel, conference hall and shopping malls. This is because Gikondo expo ground is no longer capable of accommodating international trade fairs. The minister was optimistic that infrastructure is in place, creativity and innovation will fully play their role as vital factors in developing products which are at par with the country’s imperative of economic diversification and transformation.

In his remarks, the chairman of PSF, Benjamin Gasamagera, noted that that 19 countries are participating in the event and all exhibiting countries have preferred Rwanda as a country for investment and business destination.

Over 419 companies from different the countries and continents will showcase their products in the trade fair. He added that the exhibition is expected to attract 350,000 visitors.

“Rwanda’s International Trade Fair continues to bring all the potential buyers as a single platform where they have an access to the entire range of products, services and technologies,” Gasamagera said.

He added that the annual event has played a big role in promoting trade and industrial development activities. The positivity has been shown by result yielded from the previous trade fairs where a number of foreign companies opened up their businesses and successfully invested in Rwanda.

Among the foreign companies that invested in Rwanda through participating in the previous expos include Mukwano and Roofings from Uganda, PKK international from Dubai, Dododoma and AZAM group from Tanzania, among others.

Reported by "The Rwanda Focus"