Government launches exporters forum, to review sector plan

The private sector has lauded the Government’s move to institute an exports-oriented body to steer the exports sector.
Minister Kanimba (second left) cuts the ribbon to launch the export forum as Mining State Minister Evode Imena looks on. Second right, is PSF chairman Gasamagera. The New Times / John Mbanda
Minister Kanimba (second left) cuts the ribbon to launch the export forum as Mining State Minister Evode Imena looks on. Second right, is PSF chairman Gasamagera. The New Times / John Mbanda

The private sector has lauded the Government’s move to institute an exports-oriented body to steer the exports sector.

The Rwanda Exporters Forum is part of the Government’s strategy to increase export receipts and strengthen national foreign exchange reserves.

Francois Kanimba, the Minister for Trade and Industry, said the forum was a huge step towards achieving the national export target of 28 per cent per annum.

Kanimba was addressing exporters during the launch of the forum. He challenged the private sector, especially those in the export sector, to ensure the national exports targets are realised. He noted that more exports improve the country’s micro-economic stability and create jobs for the youth.

“The Government cannot achieve this ambitious target (28 per cent export growth) alone. Therefore, we call on the private sector to actively participate, especially in broadening the exports base, so that we can achieve the economic objectives that have been underlined in Vision 2020,” he said.

Kanimba revealed that the Government would soon start reviewing the national export strategy, and called on the forum to fully participate in the process.

 Benjamin Gasamagera, the Private Sector Federation (PSF) chairman, said the forum would not only act as a co-ordinated mechanism in streamlining the export business, but also in creation of jobs.

“The export sector still has great potential; now is the time to reflect on how we can fully supply the international markets,” he noted.

Hannington Namara, the PSF chief executive officer, said the forum will help find solutions to challenges that have been dogging the local exports industry.

David Bensusan, the Minerals Supply Africa chief, said the forum will give them a channel through which to voice their grievances and contributions to improve the sector.

“The export industry is currently experiencing a series of challenges, ranging from customs declaring, accessing international markets and increasing production. Therefore, we hope this forum will address them urgently.”

The national Agricultural Exports Board (NAEB) has set ambitious targets aimed at increasing the country’s agro-exports by 50 per cent in the next three years, projections released by the board indicate.

According to the new targets, tea export earnings are projected to increase from $65m (about Rwf44.2b) to $147m (about Rwf100b) by 2017, while coffee exports are expected to more than double from $73m to $157m.

Corneille Ntakirutimana, the director in charge of production at NAEB, said they are targeting to raise $30m from pyrethrum exports, up from $7.4m today and horticulture is expected to rake in $225m.

The Government is also devising ways to boost minerals and other exports by enhancing quality and professionalising production systems.

Rwanda’s export sector brought in more money than had been projected during the first half of this year, growing at 46.3 per cent in value and 27.1 per cent in volume, way above the projected 14.9 per cent and earned the country close to $290m (about Rwf197.2b) between January and June this year.

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