The fourth edition of the annual Made in Rwanda Expo 2018 recently concluded with significant interest from many visitors and potential clients for the locally produced wood and ICT products and tourism activities that were largely driven by their high quality. The exhibitors displayed their skilled artisanship at the wood pavilion, informed visitors about the beautiful and diverse tourism experiences in the Kivu Belt Region at the Tourism pavilion and offered various ICT services. All the partners are supported by the German Development Cooperation through the Promotion of Economy and Employment Programme (Eco-Emploi) of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, which was awarded with the “Best Promoter in the Made in Rwanda 2018”.
Hon. Soraya Hakuziyaremye, the Minister of Trade and Industry together with H.E. Peter Woeste, The Ambassador of German government to Rwanda inaugurated the opening of the Expo and the ICT pavilion and lauded the support provided by the German Government, “We laud the German Government for supporting the ICT sector to drive our future growth, communication and technologies in which we even seek gender balance.” Likewise, H.E. Peter Woeste, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Rwanda, added that “the German Government through GIZ supports Rwanda in digital initiatives since it is a cross cutting subject as we move into the digital world. Hence we support the exhibition of ICT products in the Made in Rwanda Expo 2018.”
Ms. Ellen Kallinowsky, Principal Technical Advisor of the Eco-Emploi Programme remarked that supporting the wood, ICT and tourism sector will boost Rwanda’s efforts to create off farm jobs. “We appreciate how companies are performing since they are collectively branding the products in these sectors so as to promote Made in Rwanda products. Making quality products under Made in Rwanda policy will drive to economic growth,” she said. She further added that GIZ’s support looks at the whole value chain. “We look at where wood come from, we look at forest management and conservation, its economic management, investment promotion, supporting TVET schools in wood production and processing and provide high machinery maintenance, amongst others. We are working with Rwanda Standards Board on standards that guide wood value chain”.
The exhibition is an exposure to a wider market
Hugues Masabo, the Head of Production at Wood Habitat Company cited that “People are increasingly becoming aware of the quality of products. Had I not been supported by GIZ/Eco-Emploi, it would not have been possible to exhibit our products at this expo”. He further added that the training Wood Habitat received has helped them in wood production and management of workshops and improved skills. Likewise, the opportunity to participate in the exhibition offers them the prospect of expanding their business. “This platform has helped us to prove to local and international consumers that they can get high quality interior design products from Rwanda,” said Cedrick Cyiza, the Chief Operations Officer of M N Lucky Ltd., which specialises in interior designing. At the tourism pavilion companies exhibited tourism products of the Kivu Belt Region. The visitors were informed about various tourism packages including community based tourism experiences, hiking and biking opportunities, camping, touring tea and coffee plantations, boating, night fishing and Rwandan culture experiences, amongst others. Conscience Umubyeyi from Beyond the Gorillas Experience Company exclaimed, “I have secured five bookings from tourists from Canada. They are here for their Christmas holiday. I would not have secured them if I would not have received support from GIZ to participate in the Made in Rwanda Expo.” The exhibition also offered services in the ICT sector such as trainings for example, WeCode courses for women, internet services and usage of e-commerce platforms amongst others, which informed the wider range of visitors about the uptake of ICT in Rwanda.
Local companies increase their visibility due to the Exhibition
Various companies from across the country such Kawira Safaris, Rwabambii, Beyond Gorilla Experience in the tourism sector, Manumental, M.N. Lucky Ltd., Wood Habitat, Mpanda TVET school in the wood sector and WeCode, Digital Transformation Cluster, MobiCash Ltd. from ICT exhibited their products. These exhibitors stated that the support of GIZ/Eco-Emploi has helped them in increasing their visibility and create market linkages, which has further enhanced their production and create jobs. For Fiston Nyayiha from Murukali Market Smart, an e-commerce platform for food products, in addition to the opportunity to participate in the expo, the company was also supported by GIZ/Eco-Emploi to access other platforms such as ICT competitions. “For instance we recently won Rwf 6 million in a competition that had gathered young female entrepreneurs in ICT solutions of which GIZ is a partner. For a company that is just two years old, it is a huge achievement.” he said.
The importance of the Private Sector
Organised by the Private Sector Federation in collaboration with MINICOM, the exhibition aims at promoting locally made products by encouraging local producers to exhibit their products to a wider market. Accroding to PSF, the number of exhibitors has gradually increased from 260 exhibitors in 2015 to 460 exhibitors in 2018. Hon. Soraya Hakuziyaremye, the Minister of Trade and Industry said that the growing number has been due to the efforts made in changing the mind-set of consumers and producers towards embracing locally made products. She further added that, “this is an indication that the awareness efforts are bearing fruits. We shall sustain these efforts so that as many people can proudly buy Made in Rwanda products as well as push local producers to increase and avail quality products.” The Minister remarked that they would continue to devise appropriate measures to promote local industries, as the private sector is a key to a thriving economy.
About Eco-Emploi Project
The Programme of Economy and Employment promotion (Eco-Emploi) is joint Rwandan-German Development Cooperation programme funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The main purpose is that selected partners implement employment-generating measures. Eco-Emploi contributes to the national development strategies through enhancing competencies of selected institutions in the economic sectors of information and communication technology (ICT), e-commerce and logistics, wood economy, tourism and creative industries (audio-visual).