The 2016 trade exhibition officially opened Thursday at Gikondo Expo grounds with a call on local exhibitors to use the platform to promote local products.
It has attracted over 419 exhibitors in diverse sectors from 19 countries, including Rwanda.
The Minister for Trade and Industry, François Kanimba, said the annual international trade fair plays a vital role in promoting local production and enhancing competitiveness.
The exhibition acts as a link between local and international markets which is important in moving the country’s economy forward, he said.
The Chairman of Private Sector Federation (PSF), Benjamin Gasamagera, echoed similar sentiments, noting that the exhibition provides an opportunity to exhibitors to promote their products.
“It provides businesses with aan opportunity to network and share ideas and experiences,” Gasamagera said.
He urged local exhibitors to use the opportunity to promote ‘Made in Rwanda’ products while sharing investment ideas with other investors.
John Rugamba Rukondo, Senior Marketing Executive at Roto Ltd, said the expo presents participants a chance to network with several corporate executives and various industry players from within the country and beyond.
“It gives us an opportunity to learn from global exhibitors and to network as traders,” Rukundo said.
Rukundo noted the issue of space still affects exhibitors and called on the Ministry of Trade and PSF to fast track the construction new expo grounds at Gahanga in Kicukiro District.
Regis Umurengezi, another local producer, said Rwandan small entrepreneurs would be able to learn from foreign exhibitors on how to improve their businesses.
The trade fair started on July 27.
Agnes Ntakirutimana, an artisan, said the exhibition gives them an opportunity to showcase their handcrafts to a bigger market.
Ntakirutimana, who makes baskets, bags, clothes, belts, and shoes using locally-sourced raw materials, called on Rwandans to embrace locally made products.
A total of 19 countries are participating in the trade fair and they include the partner states of the East African Community, Iran, China, Vietnam, Syria, Singapore, Zambia, Ghana, and Nigeria.
On display are products from several sectors, including manufacturing, agro-processing, finance, ICT, construction, tourism, among others.