Expo 2008: PSF sinks Frw102 million in preparing Gikondo show ground

MANSUR KAKIMBA updates show goers and exhibitors about the preparations The Private Sector Federation (PSF) has announced that the 11th Rwanda International Trade Fair (RITF) will take place between 28th August and 8th September at Gikondo Expo ground.

MANSUR KAKIMBA updates show goers and exhibitors about the preparations

The Private Sector Federation (PSF) has announced that the 11th Rwanda International Trade Fair (RITF) will take place between 28th August and 8th September at Gikondo Expo ground.

Ephrem Karangwa, the PSF Promotions and Fairs Manager is optimistic that this year’s expo will be the biggest ever, with lots of exciting, new and innovative things.

He also says PSF is finding a sustainable solution to the dust.  PSF first wanted to import a ‘dust mixer’ from South Africa but eventually dropped the idea because the nature of soil at the expo ground doesn’t allow use of this technology.

Adding, “We thought about other alternative such as laying the entire ground with concrete PSF zeroed in on planting the entire ground with grass and paving the walkways. It cost PSF over Frw102 million to modernize the ground.

Plantor, a local-based gardening company was hired to work on the entire ground; plant pasparum, trees, beautiful flowers and paving the walkways.

According to Karangwa, PSF is striving to ensure that the expo is of international standards. International trade fairs are housed in permanent structures, expo ground at Gikondo is unfortunately not. But super plans are underway.

Trade Fair and international Park

The federation is working on a $ 66.4 million International Trade Fair and Exhibition Park (ITEP) project. Spacial Solutions, a German architectural firm has come up with a magnificent concept design, and is now working on the master plan.

The 16-hectare- facility is in Kicukiro, a few kilometers along the Kigali-Bugesera highway. The planned ITEP will house a modern expo ground, PSF offices, chambers and conference facilities among others.

If everything goes according to plan, groundbreaking should be before this year ends.

PSF buys giant tents

Meanwhile, PSF has to offer exhibitors a treat similar to a permanent standard exhibition ground. In the previous expos, PSF normally hired a couple of giant tents from within and outside Rwanda—parting with millions and millions of francs.

But now the federation has decided to buy two brand new giant tents from China which accommodate over 70 per cent percent of the exhibitors. The new tents are quite huge, each is 50 x 40 meters wide and will be permanently erected on a well gardened Gikondo expo grounds by experts from the Chinese supplier.

It has cost PSF quite a lot to buy and import these tents though, but Karangwa says the tents will, besides the RITF, generate other incomes to PSF. “We shall use the tents for other exhibitions and events, they’ll be hired for conferences, meetings, workshops and all sorts of parties”.

PSF will kill two birds with the same stone—much as it will cut costs on hiring tents, hotel rooms for dinners, conferences and meetings; it will also be renting these tents to generate revenues.

Exhibition stands in tents shall be of international standards—aluminum partitioned and well labeled.
A standard exhibition stand is 9M² and goes for only Frw450,000 for a local exhibitor and $1,350 (about ) for a foreign exhibitor.

Karangwa however says these rates are very fair compared to what is charged elsewhere in the region. Local exhibitors have been organised in exhibition villages that are categorised per economic sector, while foreign ones have been grouped per country in stands called “Pavilions”.  
fun flights

Show goers always lookout for entertainment in the expo. There’s open space gazetted for companies that will promote their products and services as they entertain show goers with live bands and loud music.

Kids, as they munch popcorns and enjoy ice cream, Bambino Amusement Park will be there to entertain them with modern kids entertainment ware.

During last year’s expo, Akagera Helicopters entertained show goers by flying them around Kigali at subsidized fees. Again, this year, the helicopters will exhibit.

Also, Karangwa says exhibitors and show goers shall be able to access a state-of-art business center, fully equipped with enough good computers connected to the fastest and reliable internet connection in the country. At the center, people will be able to access all ICT services.

Karangwa sets the expectations even higher when he says the number of exhibitors; both local and international is expected to more than double. Last year, there were 323 registered exhibitors: 227 local and 96 international.

Nine countries were represented including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Ethiopia, Ghana, Egypt, Burundi and Rwanda. “We have sent out invitations early enough to very many countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, USA and the rest of the world. We expect very many exhibitors,”

Experts hired to organize show

A professional events management company called Exhibitions and Events Organizers Limited, a Kenyan based company with rich experience in organizing expos and similar events in the region and Africa at large.

The company was on ground by May to ensure that everything goes according to plan, and will stay until the end of the expo.

The PSF permanent expo secretariat team, in collaboration with the event management company has put more emphasis on publicizing the expo locally, in the region and internationally using mass media.

Publicity started early enough, in June, to ensure that the entire world is aware of the expo. The expo website: www.exporwanda.com has been updated with all the information that exhibitors and visitors may require.

Exhibitors can register online. And, the PSF communication department will continue updating the website with news throughout the expo.

The ‘expo pack’, an assortment of expo related information, has been sent to over 600 local, according to Mary W. the Exhibitions and Events Organizers Limited senior officer.

Mansur Kakimba is a communication specialist with the private sector federation