BRD, private sector body sign deal to support local exporters

Gasamagera (centre) and Kanyankole sign the deal on Friday as Ruzibiza looks on. / Appolonia Uwanziga

A deal that could help turn around the fortunes of Rwanda’s export sector has been signed between Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) and the Private Sector Federation (PSF).

The over Rwf22 million funding deal will help set up facilities to revitalise the Exporters’ Forum, which was set up close to three years ago to lobby for policies that promote exports and export-related business. It was also expected to work with banks so that they fund export-oriented initiatives to increase product quality and sector productivity.

Speaking during the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Kigali, yesterday, Benjamin Gasamagera, the PSF chairman, said some of the money will be used to institute a team of two experts for communication and business facilitation to co-ordinate the work of the forum. The experts will market Rwandan exports across the world during a 12-month period, the PSF chairman added.

“We want to use all possible ways to facilitate exporters in all ways. Therefore, through the revitalised Exporters’ Forum, we hope to enhance export volumes and help the country reduce trade imbalance,” Gasamagera said.

He encouraged exporters to take advantage of BRD facilitation to explore new markets.

Alex Kanyankole, the BRD chief executive officer, said the main purpose of the funding is to enable local businesses to maximise the potential of the Exporters’ Forum and to venture into new markets.

Under the deal, there will be creation of exporters networking platforms, sharing of trade and export market information, as well as facilitation of exporters to penetrate new international markets.

Kanyankole said the Export Growth Facility Fund, launched by the government last year, was part of the strategy to realise these objectives.

“The idea was to channel some Rwf1 billion through the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) to facilitate exporters, especially small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs),” he said.

Rwanda’s total exports dropped in value by 2.4 per cent in the first half of the year to about $268.6 million, from over $275.1 million, due to poor receipts recorded by the mining sector, tea and coffee. The mining sector dropped by 36.6 per cent, tea exports went down 5.7 per cent, while coffee shed 9.2 in export revenue over the period, according to central bank figures.

PSF chief executive officer Stephen Ruzibiza challenged the business community to get more organised and work with the forum to benefit from the BRD facility.

Commenting on the deal, Deo Munyantore, a Kigali-based exporter, said the funding will help Rwandan exporters to get more access to crucial market information, including prices.

“Through this forum, we will be able to get more partnerships that can help us penetrate bigger markets,” Munyantore said.

Reported by The NewTimes