Local companies should strengthen their branding to cope with the growing competition and also reap benefits of a single East African Community (EAC) economic block, Celestin Makuza Executive Director of TCL, an event management and advertising company has said.
Rwanda’s entry into the EAC has led to an influx of regional brands in various sectors, increasing competition for market share.
“Despite great improvements in some local companies, we still lag behind if we are to compete fairly on regional and global markets,” Makuza said, adding that with a lack of brand recognition, local firms are having difficulties in attaining globalisation.
“Branding comes at a cost. Rwandan companies should get the corporate feel and avoid working behind doors.”
He said in an interview with Business Times that companies need to identify products that are not produced in the region and also enhance on their marketing strategy if they are to succeed in expanding their presence in regional and global markets.
Raj Rajendran, Managing Director of Utexrwa says that given the fact that today’s consumers are showing a stronger preference for originating country other than the company, Rwanda as a country should be branded.
“Branding Rwanda is the famous brand. Some products are selling high because they are made in Japan or Germany,” Rajendran said.
Victor Kinuma Marketing executive of Inyange industries said that his company is ready to compete and explore regional markets with high quality products that are affordable and available to consumers.
Recently, the company launched a new plant with a capacity that meets the local demand. It has plans to export to the neighbouring countries, especially in EAC.
Some local firms are also rushing for ISO certification in a bid to cope with the growing competition.
Cally Alles, the Director General of Sorwathe, a tea factory said that obtaining the ISO and Rwanda Bureau of Standards Fair-trade Certification was a milestone
He said the company targets to add value to its green tea, roasted and tea bags as it eyes the Kenyan market.
Natarajan Agaram, Finance Manager of Sulfo Rwanda said the company has acquired the ISO 9001 of quality management system and ISO 22,000, a certification for food safety which gives. He says this gives them confidence to explore new markets.