The goal of the Prosperity Expo was for Rwanda to expose its goods and also to acquire knowledge from the foreign exhibitors, Mr Christophe Bazivamo, Vice Chairperson, Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) has said. Mr Bazivamo made the remarks during the closing ceremony of the 2012 Prosperity Expo at Gikondo Expo Grounds yesterday. The expo started on December 7.
He said, "You should copy from them (foreign exhibitor) because we cannot always be dependent. We have to aim for development as a nation."
The 12-day expo was among the activities that have been carried out over the months throughout the country to mark the 25 years of RPF. The expo provided entertainment for the old and young and there was also a lot to learn. There were 250 exhibitors and the organizers reported a turn up of 20,000 people.
According to Ms Rosette Rugamba, co-ordinator of the expo, that was a low turn up considering the fact that the last expos pulled bigger numbers.
She explains, "People got to know in the last days before the expo started and when it had already started."
Because the public learnt about it a bit late, she says they were asking for an extension; however, time couldn't allow them to do so.
The exhibitors blamed the low turn up on the different timing from the usual. For those that have always come here for international fairs, say they (fairs) have always been in August rather than December. December is a month where people are planning for holidays and the exhibition is the last thing in their plans.
The exhibitors came from Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Egypt, Pakistan and Malaysia.
However, there was a smooth running of the expo, which Rugamba says its because of the peace and stability.
Mr Hannington Namara, CEO Private Sector Foundation, said before any expo/fair is done, as the organizers they have to be careful. And for each day that passes, they have a check list of all the things that could hinder the ongoing expo.
He encouraged the business people not to stop doing business at the expo but also continue interacting after the closure. He advised, "The closure of the expo doesn't mean business should end there."
During the expo, various businesses that performed well were given awards and certificates of appreciation in different categories. These included, Retail and distribution - Braliwa brewery, Handcraft- Craft Africa, Agri Business- Pedro's Café, Hospitality- Rwanda Tourism University College, Financial services- Bank of Kigali, Manufacturing and equipment- Mutara Enterprises, Best foreign exhibitor - Fubisun Malaysia.