Rwandan export companies will benefit from a fund set up by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to assist export-oriented private firms that operate in the country to improve on their competitiveness.
The fund under the Rwanda Competitiveness for Export Fund (RWACEF) was established in August last year.
A total of 29 companies have applied for Rwf100m fund but only 3 have so far been approved. Money available for dismemberment so far is Rwf70m committed by RWACEF.
This funding runs between July and December 2009, to help export companies build greater competitiveness.
CAFERWA, a local coffee processing company and exporter and two other companies Shenga Coffee and Ets Enas and Sons, all dealing in coffee washing, roasting and exporting will have 50 percent of their budgets reimbursed after their applications for the fund were certified.
The trio qualified within the ‘development activities’ category under which RWACEF reimburses 50 percent of the amount of money spent in value addition initiatives.
“This is a cost-sharing initiative and what we are looking at is to support as many companies as possible but also we want these companies in the future to be able to reimburse the money that we gave them,”
“For now it is like a grant but in future will see how we can make it a loan.” said Tony Nsanganira, the Director of Export Marketing, Enterprise and Export Development at RDB.
The fund launched with an initial capital of US $300.000 under former RIEPA before the merger that created RDB is funded by the MINECOFIN and a string of financial institutions including Rwanda Development Bank (BRD).
“The money is still small but we are looking at ways of increasing the amount to make it more sustainable and bigger in future---this is what we are working on currently.” said Clare Akamanzi, the RDB Deputy CEO Incharge of Business Operations and Services.
The fund can only support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES) engaged in export trade, mainly those dealing in coffee, tea and handcrafts.
Nsanganira said as soon as the budget increase proposal is approved, the scheme will diversify and spread into other areas of potential exports and also support bigger companies willing to export Rwandan products abroad like the mining sector.
A total of 13 companies were given Rwf30m to participate at the Dubai Global Village Fair earlier this year.
On top of supporting Rwandan exporters to represent the country on the international level and market research, RWACEF also support companies to do product development and diversification, value addition and quality assurance. Reimbursements range between $10,000 to $50000.