This year’s International Trade Fair (Expo 2013) will host fewer exhibitors compared to last year because of inadequate space, Hannington Namara, the Private Sector Federation (PSF) chief executive officer, has said.
Namara, however, noted that many of last year’s exhibitors had booked more than one stand for the 16th edition of the annual event that starts tomorrow at Gikondo Expo Grounds in Kicukiro district.
“About 345 exhibitors have already registered for the show compared to 491 exhibitors last year. The main reason for the drop in numbers is because most of the firms have booked more space, but we are trying to see how we can accommodate more exhibitors,” he said.
There are 707 stands in the Gikondo Expo Grounds all of which Namara said were fully booked on a first come, first served basis.
The expo, which will officially be opened on Thursday afternoon, will host 112 foreign and 233 domestic companies. The exhibitors will showcase different products, ranging from the agriculture, construction and manufacturing.
The expo has attracted companies from the 20 countries constituting the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) region, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.
Meanwhile, “a business corner”, where local business people will meet foreign exhibitors to discuss business and network, has been reserved.
“There is a shift these days as more are coming to showcase agricultural equipment, tourism products, construction, services like banks, telecom firms and food and beverages. Other than confidence building and quality assurance, companies look to create linkages and network,” Namara said.
The expo will also host the first ever Comesa manufacturers dialogue and the East African business council meeting, where key challenges facing the private sector will be discussed, he added. Seminars to find ways of how Rwanda can produce more import substituting goods will also be held.
Last year, an average of 15,000 showgoers attended the trade fair per day, according to PSF.
Namara said they were expecting more showgoers this year, noting that they had better logistics. “We will handle the people much better as we have expanded the parking space and added another entry gate,” he explained.