At the ongoing National Umushyikirano Council, the Made-in-Rwanda campaign was touted as having made a great impact on the country’s economic growth.
This year alone, locally made products grew by 50 percent and created 8,000 jobs and boosted exports to the extent that the trade imbalance was reduced by 20. This was achieved because more and more hitherto imported products are now produced locally and even exported to foreign markets.
Some of the Rwandan products have managed to attract foreign investments, as the CEO of Rwanda Development Board observed during the dialogue. Two local tech firms attracted Japanese investments nearly the same amount the government received when it sold Umubano Hotel for an estimated $13 million.
Those are the kind of results the government has been looking for and is putting all its weight behind having more innovations than can attract more foreign direct investments in the service and manufacturing sectors
All this is part of the National Transformation Strategy that is one of the main topics of the ongoing national dialogue. The country for long depended on the agriculture sector that was always at the mercy of elements and unpredictable market prices. It was unsustainable and it was only logical to diversify the economy; so Made- in-Rwanda and value addition in the extractive industry have come at the right time.
But as have been pointed out on several occasions, in order to remain competitive, local manufacturers and innovators need to up their game in terms of quality and marketing, especially the latter
As was the case at the recent Made-in-Rwanda Expo that attracted a record number of exhibitors, many were taken aback to find that there were manufacturing plants producing quality products but were largely unknown simply because of poor marketing. That is one area that needs to be addressed in order to promote a Buy-Rwandan campaign.