Rwanda’s imports have reduced by 2% while exports increased by 11% in the past five years, according to Trade and Industry Minister Vincent Munyeshyaka.
He said that imported construction materials reduced by 17.2%, particularly that went down by 36% while imported textiles reduced by 21%.
Munyeshyaka was speaking yesterday at the launch of the Made in Rwanda exhibition. He said the registered decrease was due to the “Made In Rwanda” initiative introduced to close Rwanda’s trade imbalance and create selfsustenance.
The Made In Rwanda initiative has increased productivity of the local industries and SMEs and helped create more jobs, mostly the youths.
Benjamin Gasamagera, the Chairman of Private Sector Federation (PSF), said that when PSF and the Ministry of Trade and Industry started the campaigns to sensitise Rwandans to use and buy more products made in Rwanda, it has changed the mindsets of Rwandans towards locally made products.
The first Made In Rwanda expo, in 2015, brought in 250 exhibitors, 305 exhibitors in 2016 and 420 this year, Gasamagera said adding that Made In Rwanda 2017 will benefit Rwanda in three ways.
Rwandans will start appreciating and consuming local products, giving local manufacturers the opportunity to show that “we can make quality products which can satisfy the market” and the exposition serving as a marketing tool for the less known products.
The Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Private Sector Federation, Stephen Ruzibiza highlighted the power outages and prices, smuggling, water access and packaging products as challenges faced by local industries, which hinders the ability to compete on international markets and satisfying the local market.
Minister Munyeshyaka said that there is a draft law, which once passed will provide more incentives to products made by local industries.
According to the World Bank 2018 Doing Business Report, Rwanda is ranked 119th out of 190 countries in getting electricity and on this, Minister Munyeshyaka assured that electricity tariffs will be revised to reduce charges and power outages will be communicated to industries before they happen”.
Minister Munyeshyaka encouraged exhibitors to build confidence in themselves and work towards competing internationally and also ensuring they satisfy the local market.