By noon yesterday, most exhibitors were still putting final touches to their stands. Sounds from handsaws cutting through timber and hammers hitting nails could be heard from a distance as carpenters fixed stands, at the 11th Rwanda International Trade Fair (RITF) show grounds in Gikondo.
When The New Times team visited the expo grounds, exhibitors were still moving in their products. According to information from the Ugandan exhibitors, only six companies were present by press time while others were still waiting to be cleared in.
At the entrance of the expo grounds, leading commercial banks including Rwanda Commercial Bank, Ecobank and Banque de Kigali were also not ready either, in-fact some remained closed.
“I need money to clear my goods that are at Magerwa,” a colleague joked with Sandra Uwera, a BCR staff at the expo after finding out that her colleagues were still organising the (BCR) stand.
BCR stands opposite their business rival— BK, which had not yet opened at the time of the survey.
Uwera explained that they will start business tomorrow. Several international exhibitors like; Scania were however ready. The company plans to build an assembling plant in Kigali to supply Scania buses and heavy duty trucks.
Through Skenia Motors, franchise holders for Scania buses and trucks, Higer buses and Yuejin trucks will be distributed in Rwanda.
Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF), as the organiser in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce (Minicom) was still distributing gate passes.
The expo has attracted manufacturers, distributors and retailers of products and services from within Rwanda, the East African region and a fair.
A total of 307 exhibitors had confirmed registration, though most of them had not turned up on the inauguration day. The turn up of exhibitors represents—a 5 per cent decrease, compared to llast year’s exhibitors.
In a break down of the exhibitors, 97 are international while 210 are local. However, despite the decrease in exhibitors, the expo remains a strong platform for making deals, contacts and networking for both exhibitors and visitors. It’s a good chance to bench mark good practices.