Despite the far from ideal weather conditions, the Rwanda Business Week, an exhibition which took place from March 22 to 25 in Bujumbura, was hailed as a resounding success by the 36 companies who participated. It was also welcomed by many of the visitors as the basis for increased cooperation between the two country's private sectors.
Jointly organized by the Rwanda Development Board and Rwanda's Embassy in Bujumbura, the Business Week was indeed designed to develop and strengthen business partnerships between entrepreneurs from the two countries to increase the volume and value of trade.
"We hope this collaboration will contribute greatly to our economic aspiration to boost exports into the region," said RDB's Eusebe Muhikira, the head of RDB's Trade and Manufacturing department.
The participants included major companies such as Bralirwa, Inyange Industries, Kinazi Cassava Plant, among others. Exhibitors did not only sell products, they also identified promising business partners in Burundi with whom to further develop their businesses.
"The market is very promising and open to Rwandan products. Burundian businesses are keen to work with Rwandan ones. The fair was very popular," noted Jessie Kalisa Umutoni, CEO of chalk maker G-Mart.
Apart from the exhibition, the Rwanda Business Week was also marked by business meetings and a concert in which great singer King James, Burundian drummers and Rwandan dancers performed.
A survey will be carried out by RDB to assess the impact of the week to develop an action plan on how to increase exports in Africa and beyond through such events.