RE: “There is need for mindset change towards African products” (The New Times, April 12).
No one need doubt Rwandans’ patriotism; just look at how fast Rwandans will come together and circle the wagons the moment they believe their country or a fellow Rwandan is under threat.
Practical demonstrations of this deep-seated patriotism is seen in the groundswell of subscriptions to the Agaciro Development Fund, the contribution by the Rwandan Diaspora toward the construction of the Genocide orphans’ student hostel, the much earlier (2003) immense response of Rwandans to contribute to the election costs when foreign donors withheld their funding to try and use it as leverage to dictate the country’s electoral policy and calendar, etc.
Most Rwandans will also use RwandAir for their travels if it plies their route, or use it part of the trip if it is convenient.
But nobody purchases a product or a service from a commercial business solely on the basis of whether the company selling or providing the product or service is Rwandan.
The product/service value proposition, especially as it relates to the quality-price quotient must meet the buyer’s requirements.
Were that not the case, the customer would in essence be consciously subsidizing the commercial producer/provider, and that would represent one-way patriotism that no rational consumer/customer would engage in.
The onus is on our producers and service providers to raise their quality-price proposition roughly to the level of their non-local competition, otherwise people will continue to go for non-Rwandan products and services that best match their price-quality requirements.
A pity, as we really desperately need to increase the ratio of our consumables produced locally as well as the competitiveness and thus volumes of exports to regional markets and beyond to – among other things – respond to the risks highlighted in Mr Kenneth Agutamba’s article.