TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) and Rwanda’s trade body, the Private Sector Federation (PSF) announced a new public private sector dialogue (PPD) for trade and investment programme and support to women entrepreneur’s programme.
TMEA will fund both programmes with US$2.26 Million over a period of four years.
The two organisations made the announcement during the signing of a grant agreement, which also marked the kickoff of the first phase, which will run for two years.
PSF which is the umbrella of all business in Rwanda said the Public-Private Sector Dialogue (PPD) for Trade and Investment programme, will build mechanisms that support the private sector to actively and meaningfully participate resolving local and regional trade issues; and especially pushing for resolution of matters affecting Rwanda.
For example, as a land locked country, Rwanda contends with numerous non-tariff barriers along the key transport corridors from port to destination, leading to high transport costs.
Removal of such non-tariff barriers would greatly reduce transport related costs. “We have identified priority issues like regional transport logistics which, if resolved can reduce transport costs and time in Rwanda,” said PSF CEO, Stephen Ruzibiza .
“We may have the disadvantage of having no port. therefore our aim is to make the country land linked; and we will continue to work with the government of Rwanda to reform customs and adopt Information Communication Technology for Trade with the aim of further reducing time and costs; with a unified voice we expect to push for a reduction of tariffs, taxes and levies that keep investors away.”
This Support to Rwanda Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs will build on TMEA’s success in its Women and Trade programme implemented between 2011 -2018; by enabling women owned Small & Medium Enterprises increase trade in higher value goods and access export markets.
Women will be enabled to access trade and market information, training in selected value chains and formation of cooperatives and other groupings to support collective bargaining and cost reduction.
The funding to PSF is part of TMEA’s USD 50 Million programme committed in an MoU with the government of Rwanda (GOR) that supports interventions that will improve the country’s competitiveness through investments in key sectors.
“Thanks to our donors and especially DFID and USAID, we are excited to be able to support these two programmes that have the potential to deliver great economic gains to Rwanda, “said TMEA Country Director Patience Mutesi-Gatera.
“The PPD for trade and investment programme program gives a voice to the Private sector, which is the engine of our economy and goes hand in hand with our interest in catalysing a 10% annual increase in exports, 15,000 direct and indirect jobs through increased investment incentives.”
The targeted support to women entrepreneurs on the other hand will expand opportunity to an extremely hard-working group of entrepreneurs that have historically faced societal and cultural hurdles to trade on an equal footing.