At a time most African nations are reliant on imports of goods and services, Rwanda in 2017 made a Rwanda policy which highlighted specific steps and actions through which the country would step up efforts aimed at promoting domestic production and consumption.
Research has it that as at today, there is a host of local producers racing to lure Rwandans to buy their products, while others are already exporting their products to regional and international markets.
One of those, a genius, a young entrepreneur, Dieudonne Twahirwa, was reported to have signed an agreement with a Chinese company GK International Enterprises last year and supplying 50,000 tonnes of dry Chili worth $100 million every year.
The Memorandum of Understanding orchestrated the first China International Import Expo held in Shanghai in November last year as part of the People’s Republic of China’s measures to open doors for investors from across the world to showcase their products on Chinese market.
Aside achieving that feat, Twahirwa company, Gashora Farms, represented Rwanda during the international fair which attracted 172 countries.
Following his acumen in business during the fair, he secured a deal to export 1,500 drums (barrels) equivalent to 37,500 liters of chili oil worth a whooping sum of $ 2 million.
His firm, has also succeeded in attracting two more firms that are interested in Chili as he noted that he had never imagined that his products could attract enormous interest from the Chinese market, given that his supply was limited to Europe and India.
Although seven companies had represented Rwanda, largely showcasing agriculture products such as chili, tea, coffee and handicrafts, Twahirwa company,
platform themed; “New Era, shared Future,” gave them access to 26 international organisations, potentially exposing their products to firms from 150 countries that participated in the expo.
With the expo running from November 5 -10 every year, Rwandan entrepreneurs are happy at the rate of their approval rating for their products in the global market as it has improved significantly.
“I have realized that our products are not only needed in local or regional communities but they are also in high demand on international markets. Our products have space in different areas of the world. What we should focus on is to work hard towards improving quality and quantity,” said Twahirwa.
“Since I started showcasing my products in China, the market has expanded. Thus, we have set new measures to meet the demand. We have enough land and we work together with other farmers. We are increasing a number of farmers to multiply our produce,” Twahirwa added.
Damarara, another exhibitor, which produces coffee and tea, said that their products are now popular on the global market.
“The most interesting thing is how our products caught the attention of the Chinese consumer. The trade fairs served as platforms to present what we do, which facilitated long-term partnerships with new clients,” he noted, adding; “We are getting experience; we search for market as well as creating networks.”
“We have been receiving a big number of enquirers about our coffee.”
Appreciating the success of Rwandan products on international market and advising Rwandan entrepreneurs to explore all opportunities available for them, the Head of Special Economic Zone and Export Department at Rwanda Development Board, Diane Sayinzoga said:
“There is a progress in promoting Made in Rwanda products. In a bid to enhance e-Commerce, Rwandan products are available on Alibaba platform.
“Rwandan coffee is special and it is widely appreciated for instance MacDonald China has expressed their interest to use Rwandan coffee in their business. This shows how our products are special.
“Producers should strive to participate in international fair to expand the market for the products,” Sayinzoga stated.
Top 5 products made in Rwanda
- Gems, precious metals: US$638.8 million (63.6% of total exports)
- Ores, slag, ash: $158.9 million (15.8%)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $125.6 million (12.5%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $8.6 million (0.9%)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $125.6 million (12.5%)
Made in Rwanda policy
The Government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry had on Thursday 25th October, 2018, launched a Made in Rwanda policy which has so far contributed to the country’s efforts to reduce its trade deficit and upscale local manufacturing.
The policy is a holistic road-map aimed at increasing competitiveness by enhancing Rwanda’s domestic market through value chain development. It resulted from the ‘Made in Rwanda Campaign’ that started in 2015, as a core component of the Domestic Market Recapturing Strategy (DMRS).
The launched policy has so far effectively involved all stakeholders and clarified their roles in the implementation of the Made in Rwanda Policy. It has brought together existing government interventions under a clear policy framework and have addressed the remaining supply side bottlenecks via targeted interventions aimed at improving quality, boosting cost competitiveness and linking anchor firms within domestic value chains, developing action plans for specific value chains.
The multiplier effect is that Rwanda’s total export receipts has increased from 559 million U.S. dollars in 2015 to 944 million dollars in 2017 while total imports decreased by 4 percent from 1.849 billion dollars in 2015 to 1.772 billion dollars in 2017.