Rwanda will soon establish multi-service business centres in Brazzaville to help foster trade relations with the Republic of Congo.
The service centres will be operated by the Private Sector Federation (PSF) with support from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Geoffrey Kamanzi, the PSF head of trade negotiation and facilitation, told The New Times on Monday.
He added that PSF and Ministry of Trade and Industry have already signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) committing to open the trade facilitation centres by the end of the year.
“The centres will also play a critical role in marketing ‘Made in Rwanda’ products in the Republic of Congo besides strengthening trade links between the two countries,” Kamanzi said.
According to the agreement seen by The New Times, the centres will handle shipping arrangements and other support services that support the export sector.
Under the deal, the trade ministry committed to facilitate discussions with its Brazzaville counterparts and support the centres technically, while PSF will identify the appropriate structures to operationalise the centres.
The federation will also help identify opportunities in Congo that local businesses can exploit.
Both parties will work together in setting up joint committees that will oversee the implementation of the deal that is renewable every after 12 months.
Exporters welcome initiative
Claudine Kabayiza, a Kigali-based trader, said the initiative presents local exporters an opportunity that will help link traders from both sides and grow Rwanda’s export volumes and value.
“It could also help lure more investors into the country now that will we have a focal point where they can obtain all the necessary information about Rwanda,” Kabayiza said.
In 2012, PSF and Republic of Congo’s Chamber of Commerce signed agreements to facilitate traders in both countries to access potential investment areas as well as useful information for better decision-making.
And last year a business delegation from Rwanda travelled to Brazzaville to explore business opportunities, especially in ICT and related services.
Rwanda’s exports to Brazzaville are largely dominated by the agricultural products like horticulture produce.
In 2013, government together with RwandAir and Ethiopian Airlines launched air cargo service to facilitate exporters to access Brazzaville market and reduce the cost of trade between the two countries.