Exhibitors participating in the ongoing Made-in-Rwanda expo are optimistic of record numbers of showgoers despite a slow start. When The New Times visited the expo grounds at Gikondo, Kicukiro this morning, some exhibitors were still setting up their stalls while the number of visitors was still minimal.
The traders are not worried, saying the first days of the trade fair are always characterised by low turnout. The expo, which opened November 29 at the Gikondo expo ground in Kicukiro and ends on December 5, will be officially launched this afternoon. Exhibitors said the majority of the people come during the afternoon and evening hours after work. The fourth annual Made-in-Rwanda expo is organised by the Private Sector Federation (PSF) and trade and industry ministry.
Nelly Chomoro, a shoe-maker, said business is still slow, adding that most people are only bargaining without buying.
However, attendants at the United Deaf Women Cooperative’s stall say the turn up is fair so far and hope to get more customers for their handicrafts, including handbags that range from Rwf2,500 to Rwf10,000 each. Their hand-made sweaters go for Rfw7,000.
First-time exhibitor, Florence Nyiranizima, said she will used the trade fair as a platform to market her Africa-fabric handbags and clothes.
Those looking for discounts need to look out for Leon Nizeyimariya’s stall as she has cut prices for showgoers. She sells crafts, shoes, and African fabric shirts. The shirt are at Rwf7,000, down from Rwf10,000.
Samantha Freedom Ahire, from Posh Creative Company, which produces hand-made shoes, says her sales are more than she had anticipated so far. She hopes to use the expo to create awareness about her products with a view of increasing her market share. The first-time exhibitor sells each pair of men shoe Rwf12,000, but anyone that buys three pairs gets a discount.
About 450 firms are participating in the trade show. The Made-in-Rwanda campaign has helped the country reduce its import bill. Formal imports declined by about 10.6 per cent during the first half of the year on the back of increased consumption of locally-made products, central bank figures indicate.