Geneva and Kigali, Rwanda — Rwanda's capital, Kigali, will take centre-stage of the trade and development world on 15-17 September as global thinkers, business leaders and practitioners arrive for the 14th World Export Development Forum (WEDF).
This is the first time that the International Trade Centre (ITC), which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, will bring its flagship event to Africa. The Government of Rwanda through the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) will host the conference.
More than 500 representatives of government, the private sector and trade support institutions will contribute to the global debate on achieving inclusive, sustainable development through entrepreneurship, employment and economic growth. The urgent need to create trade and employment opportunities by increasing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be at the core of the discussions.
The plenary sessions will focus on topics such as unlocking SME competitiveness by creating an enabling business environment; boosting SME participation in international trade through trade facilitation and regional integration; capitalizing on South-South trade opportunities and attracting investments; tapping trade opportunities for SMEs in tourism; and buying goods and services from women-owned businesses.
This year, WEDF will be held in conjunction with the International Trade Centre's (ITC) Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF), which matches women in business with international buyers.
WEDF parallel sessions will focus on impact investing, electronic solutions for SME export growth, sustainability standards, branding and marketing, business incubators in developing countries and the expansion of trade in services.
SMEs serve as the backbone of the economies of developing countries, where populations are predicted to increase by 400 million within the next decade, and SMEs can contribute to two-thirds of employment opportunities. Their role is particularly important in least developed countries, where they account for 80% of jobs across all economic groups, including marginalized groups such as women and youth.
Register for WEDF to tap new business opportunities, network and learn best practices.
Notes to the editor:
ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the Millennium Development Goals.
The RDB was set up by bringing together all the government agencies responsible for the entire investor experience under one roof. This includes key agencies responsible for business registration, investment promotion, environmental clearances, privatization and specialist agencies, which support the priority sectors of information and communications technology and tourism, as well as SMEs and human-capacity development in the private sector.