Rwanda: SMEs to Make Use of Car-Free Zone to Promote Locally Made Products

A group of over 60 young entrepreneurs with Small and Medium Enterprises producing Made-in-Rwanda products have gathered their ideas and resources to make use of Kigali's car-free zone to showcase their products and services.

Kigali's Car-free zone was introduced in 2015.

Kigali City Mayor, Marie Chantal Rwakazina, told The New Times that there are planned infrastructure development to make it effective for various purposes and that the city will invite the private sector to develop it for various business operations.

John Migambi, the Manager of Bronze Events Ltd that is involved in the coordination of the young entrepreneurs to promote locally made products told Business Times that the Made-in-Rwanda expo by the young entrepreneurs will place from 30th April to 03rd May this year.

Most of the young entrepreneurs are the graduates from high school and university who created jobs through making locally made products, he said.

Among the products to be exhibited include furniture, decorations, garments, shoes and beverages among others.

"The expo will feature more than 60 young exhibitors with locally made products from different corners of the country. The Ministry of Trade, Private Sector Federation, the City of Kigali and other partners gave us different ideas on how to do it and allowed us to make use of the car-free zone," he said.

He said that the target is that the exhibition will be taking place every month in the car-free zone.

"We hope that when the young entrepreneurs meet, they will also share experiences so that the quality of Made-in-Rwanda products can be improved over time. This will also improve the competition and reduce prices," he said.

Migambi said that that more exhibitions will make easier to promote local consumption of locally made products.

"We will also identify other places in all parts of the country that can be exhibition points so that many Rwandans access the products," he said.

Yulia Nikuze from Southern province who will be exhibiting baskets said that the Made in Rwanda Expo will improve her products' visibility on the market.

"During the exhibition like this, we hope to meet different consumers including the foreign ones who will become our long terms clients," she said.

She said that she sells baskets worth between Rwf300,000 and Rwf500,000 during such exhibition.

Narcisse Tuyizere is a young man who runs Hobe Handcrafts Company that produces decorations and garments.

He said the exhibition opportunities create market opportunities for his venture.

"Different exhibitions help us to access different markets. I expect to meet new clients from the forthcoming expo. During such period one can sell products worth over Rwf500, 000," he said.

The 3rd resolution of the 16th edition of the National Leadership Retreat resolutions held in March this year recommended to examine and put in place measures aimed at addressing challenges that impede the implementation of Made in Rwanda Policy.

The fourth resolution also called for focus on competitiveness of locally produced products including the issue of taxes and fees especially those in the agricultural value chain.

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