The ongoingEgypt and Middle East expo in Kigali is an important gateway for Egyptian investors to the Rwandan market and Rwandan exports to the northern African nation.
Francois Kanimba, the Minister for Trade and Industry, made the observations while officially opening the expo on Thursday at Petit Stade in Remera.
VIDEO: 2015 Egypt Expo Official Opening in Kigali. Source: The New Times/YouTube.
“Some Egyptian exhibitors got attracted to the Rwandan market during this (annual) trade fair, and some have now opened shop in Kigali.
‘‘They will soon open factories,” Kanimba said.
“Once opened, the Egyptian factories will reduce our imports,” he added.
The Egyptian ambassador to Rwanda, Namira Negm, said the exhibition inspires both business and diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“This fair brings Egyptians closer to Rwandans. Rwanda is a top priority for Egyptian investments. We have projects here in water supply, mineral extraction, and more are being discussed,” she said.
In the third edition of the expo, the exhibitors increased to 63 from 56 last year, organisers said.
The trade fair, code-named ‘Shop Till You Drop’, attracted exhibitors from Egypt, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Iran, Pakistan and United Arab Emirates.
Egypt leads with more than a half of the exhibitors.
According to Natasha Haguma, a local entrepreneur and event coordinator, the expo presents multiple benefits to local businesses.
“This expo brings to local entrepreneurs a chance to create trade links with foreign exhibitors and manufacturers. It also brings in cash as we accommodate the exhibitors,” she said.
Haguma added that the 2015 expo brought in more products compared to last year.
The expo will now take place twice a year due to popular demand, organisers said, with the next edition expected in November this year.
There is also a reduction on prices of goods, according to show goers.
“I have bought these toys that I missed here last year. This carpet costs half of the price in Kigali shops,” Christophe Nsanzumukiza said.
An exhibitor who gave his name only as Waled, a toys seller from Egypt, said it was his second time to participate in the exhibition.
“This is my second time here but there is a remarkable difference in the number of customers. Very many visitors are coming in and we are cashing in. We have brought high quality items at affordable prices,” he said.
The 12-day exhibition will end May 10.