Four years after the launch of the Made in Rwanda Initiative, the program is gaining a lucrative momentum both in local and international markets where Rwandan Diaspora support it.
Only three years ago after its launch in 2015, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Soraya Hakuziyaremye, said the initiative was faced with persistent challenges that limited its impact in the local business ecosystem but has been reduced by the interventions of public and private sector which consummately supported the utility of Made in Rwanda products.
Like it had been noted earlier by experts about the newly introduced initiative, significant enhancements are also helping the country and individuals to create jobs, increase on their exports which is at the same time reducing trade deficits caused by increased imports.
In 2015, however, the products could not be exported in larger bulks because they lacked quality and also would not be consumed by the local market due to their exorbitant prices. These days’ rather government seems to have made sustaining interventions which are making the prices of the domestically manufactured goods affordable by the locals.
Government and the Private Sector Federation (PSF) continue to support the use of the products by both the local and regional markets through trade initiatives like the annual International Trade Fair which is held August every year with marketing themes that entice the utilization of the Rwandan products.
In regards to the cost of products, the government has also made provisions for preferential considerations of products and services in instances where local products are more expensive than imports.
The new tariffs also ensure that producers have preferential rates that help reduce cost of production. In addition, small and medium enterprises also benefit from affordable serviced land in special economic zones which helps in access of industrial estates with necessary production amenities. In the turn Made in-Rwanda initiative has reduced the trade deficit by about 36 per cent and increased value of total exports by about 69 per cent, from about $558 million to $943 million in the recent years.
The 2019/20 budget is FRW2,876.9 bn) which is an 11% increase on the 2018/19 revised budget (FRW2,585.2 bn). The domestic revenue (including domestic financing) is assumed to contribute 68% of the budget which is still consistent with 2018/19 domestic revenue contribution to budget which is a good indication that in coming years the budget will soon be largely domestically funded.
After the budget announcement a number of measures were sought to assist domestic local grown solutions, importantly, in an environment of tight liquidity and a constrained consumer pocket, for example the minister stayed customs taxes on selected goods to facilitate local manufacturers and also ease inflationary pressures on some of the basic goods.
This year’s trade expo, the 22nd that started on July 22 and winds on August 11 2019 attracted an estimated 500 exhibitors on 903 stands, both local and internationally from 25 African and other countries. “Previously, we had 700 stands but due to high demand for the stands we expanded the grounds as we are receiving more and more exhibitors from different countries,” Eric Kabera, PSF Head of Communications and Marketing, said.
The growing demand for more shop at the expo, he said, is expected to rather locate the trade expo grounds in Gahanga sector, Kicukiro district in Kigali. The new expo grounds would accommodate more than 35000 visitors. The annual trade fair has remained a platform that attracts foreign investments in the country for over the last 20 years.
“The more we trade with each other within Africa, the more we will be able export to the rest of the world, as well, but it increases the understanding of each other and creates a good relationship among our neighbors,” Rwanda President Paul Kagame said at the first PSF Golden Business Forum that took place on August 10 2019 bringing together over 1000 participants from Africa, Asia, Europe and America.
By Urinzwenimana Mike
The Express News