Rwanda Implements Programs Supporting Local Suppliers To Access International Markets

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is implementing a Supplier Development Program which aims at supporting local suppliers, in selected key sectors, to strengthen their capacity to supply in local and international markets.

The revelation was made by RDB CEO Clare Akamanzi on Thursday evening at the Business Professionals Network (BPN) event in Kigali where participants were discussing the relevance of SMEs to Rwanda’s development.

She said that the supplier development program is run alongside another Export Development program which connect SMEs to international markets.

“We also have the business upgrading program where SMEs are supported for technical and soft skills development, financial linkages, standards certification and market linkages,” she said.

“We continue to do our part as government to make it easier for startups or even bigger companies to thrive in our economy,” Akamanzi added.

She acknowledged the role of SMEs in many countries is very important where over 80% of businesses established are SMEs and thus the need to invest in them to continue producing the level of products and services that are needed in the economy.

“Some of you are no longer startups but a little bit bigger than startups. I’ve seen Rwanda Clothing, Moshions and others that we actually buy from, which is a good thing,” Akamanzi said.

A few years ago, there was an organization that published a survey mentioning countries that attracted the best number of startups in every continent.

They looked at the quantity and quality of startups and the ecosystem/business environment for those startups to grow and Rwanda ranked number 6.

“I was very pleased to see the progress we are making and its really you the start-ups that are making this happen,” she told business executives at the event. Today, it only takes six hours to register a company with RDB on top of a department that provides Aftercare services.

“You can come to us every Friday morning between 9am and 12pm with any issues you may be having for us to help you solve them,” she said.

Akamanzi explained that RDB is currently carrying out awareness activities to increase knowledge and usage of Intellectual Property by SMEs.

Meanwhile, BPN was lauded for its important value to business development services it offers  which help startups in training, recruiting and accessing financing. “These are the things that make the startup ecosystem vibrant in our country,” the RDB CEO daid.

BPN has been operating in Rwanda for 8 years.The Swiss International Non-profit organisation, supports the development of SMEs through mindset change in order to increase the entrepreneurs’ level of professionalism, raise their level of profitability and create new jobs.


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