12 February 2016

Rwanda: There Is More to 'buy Made in Rwanda' Drive Than Meets the Eye


From February 25 to March 2, about 250 local producers will be at Gikondo Show Grounds in Kicukiro District doing what every dealer in goods and services does: convince buyers that their locally-made products, are worth every coin and consumption.

The special Expo, organised as part of the ongoing 'Buy Made in Rwanda' campaign, will help local producers demystify the notion that imported goods, including those with locally-made substitutes such as furniture, foodstuff and construction materials, are of superior quality.

In the past, local producers, amid stiff competition from importers, have always cried foul and accused the government of not doing enough to support them. But with the Private Sector Federation (PSF) having fully wedged teeth that bite and leave marks, these lamentations have ceased. Sure, there will always be need for more support, but so far, so good.

The upcoming exhibition just about clinches the determination of the government and PSF. Now the onus is on local producers to step up their game. They will have to ensure that the ideals of good marketing of products such as quality, branding, standards and packaging, among others, begin to tip the scale in their favour.

For the citizens, it's time to start coming to terms with the fact that buying local means supporting local industries-like Inyange Industries brand logline that calls on consumers to support Rwandan farmers by buying its milk.

In so doing, a consumer directly and indirectly supports the producers in creating jobs for citizens, advancing talents and meeting the government's desire to have a nation of self-sustaining citizens. For instance, a producer of leather products will not only be self-reliant, but also employ other talented and creative local workforce.

Worth noting, however, is that this campaign is not to mean that imports will have to wilt at the mass consumption of local products. There will always be those to be imported. For the economy, it is good to balance trade deficits and reducing imports against increase in exports is an element of a sound economy.

Local producers must take this chance to convince consumers - who are equally expected to be patriotic - by at least 'tasting' and appreciating 'Made in Rwanda'.


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