Curtains on the Rwanda-Ghana business forum closed down Wednesday, October 26, as companies from both countries sought to create new trade deals and also strengthen the existing partnerships between private sector and government agencies. Rwanda’s delegation, made of 26 companies in various sectors, was led by Minister of Trade and Industry, Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, while their Ghanaian counterparts were led by Herbert Krapa, Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry. The forum, which took place from October 24-26 in Accra Ghana, comes at a time when Rwanda and Ghana were recently announced among a total of seven countries selected to start trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in a pilot phase. The event also builds upon different initiatives implemented over the last three years to deepen economic and trade relations between the two countries. In June last year, Ghana announced plans to establish a chocolate production plant in Rwanda, but details were not provided by press time. Export opportunities According to Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Ghana’s economy continued to expand in 2020. The country has a population of about 31.9 million (2021). The country’s latest quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was estimated at an average 4 per cent compared with 1.7 per cent of the same period last year. For Rwandan companies, RDB noted, in addition to organic pesticides and Chili oil (Akabanga) already being exported to Ghana, there are other Made-in-Rwanda products with a high competitive advantage in the country. Flower industry Ghana is among the smallest producers of flowers in Sub-Saharan Africa. For instance, in 2020, the country imported flowers with an estimated value of $2,000,000 from the Netherlands. Meanwhile, the Netherlands imports flowers from Rwanda, some of which are exported to Ghana. This, RDB says, gives a competitive advantage for Rwanda to venture into Ghana market. Dairy products Ghana imports most of the dairy products including milk produced from Europe and other neighbouring countries. However, the consumption of local fresh milk is very low due to poor hygiene and quality. To revert this, a number of Ghanaian distributors including chocolate making manufactures have initiated talks with Inyange industries on how both parties can forge business partnerships. Honey Ghana has an increasing demand for honey and about 70 per cent of consumed honey was imported in 2020. The country imports more than 600 tons of honey every month. Sourcing opportunities Ghana was also identified as potential to supply some industrial inputs to Rwandan manufacturers, citing enormous natural resources and many products, which can be used by local Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) among others. They include mango concentrates, based on the fact that the country grows a lot of mangoes and is in process of setting up plants that will produce mango concentrates, which can be used by Rwandan industries that produce mango juice. Also to collaborate in, is the area of textiles and manufacturing, the cosmetics industry as well as Agro processed products, including chocolates, coconut products, different nuts among others.