For many Rwandan businessmen, Kampala is their Dubai destination. In fact, we know Rwanda as Uganda's market territory just like South Sudan and eastern DRC.
Surprisingly, this seems to be changing. Rwanda has dusted itself off and is now rising up with its own products that it intends to sell to Uganda and the rest of East Africa. On Friday, East African Granite Industries (EAGI), a private company located in Nyagatare district in the eastern province of Rwanda, was in the country to officially launch its products on the Ugandan market.
And it was glitz and glamour as the company unveiled its granite products at Protea hotel in Kampala. You may be wondering what the hell granite is. Well, granite is one of the most sought-after raw materials for making products like slabs and tiles.
You notice that most of the slabs and tiles we have on market are mainly from China and other developed countries. And I hear most of these products are ceramics, and if they are labelled granite, it is usually artificial granite.
Now, Rwanda has this mineral called granite, and according to EAGI's General Manager Gentil Kangaho, they have invested Shs 41bn in setting up the granite mining and manufacturing industry to meet the demand for granite products.
And among the guests were hardware dealers from across Kampala whom the company intends to partner with to promote the 'homegrown products.'
The Rwandan ambassador to Uganda, Patrick Nyamvumba, encouraged the businesspeople to take EAGI as their own company.
"Don't look at these products as Rwandan products, but as East African products. So, own them and market them as your own because Rwanda and Uganda, we are like brothers or sisters," he said.
Ingyenzi cultural troupe entertained guests with traditional Kinyarwanda dances as they enjoyed the dinner and nonstop follow of drinks.