In an effort to improve Rwanda’s trade with neighboring countries, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is seeking to formalize all trade activities along the Rwandan border posts through cooperatives.
From a recent report after a survey conducted by the National Bank of Rwanda and other stakeholders, it was revealed that Rwanda’s informal cross-border trade contributes to 20% of the total exports.
“In cooperation with key stakeholders such as Rwanda Cooperative Agency and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, these traders have now been organized into cooperatives along the main border posts,” said Martin Gasasira the Regional Trade Development Officer.
Gasasira also added that the trade and manufacturing department of RDB has just completed training of these cooperatives in business and cooperative managerial skills, and export processes for their sustainable development.
The census on informal cross-border trade which was launched a month ago put the total of Rwanda’s exports and imports to Rwf27.6 billion and Rwf12.3 billion respectively resulting in a trade surplus of Rwf15.3 billion. This surplus contributes to the country’s current balance of payment account.
“The training was conducted from 20th to 22nd October 2010 at Sports View Hotel. After the training, other support initiatives will follow to improve their level of export business,” added Gasasira.
Three people were trained from each cooperative and the total number of participants was 21.
The report commissioned by National Bank of Rwanda indicated that agricultural products and livestock are the major commodities traded in ICBT and the major export product is bovine cattle valued at Rwf3.3 billion which is 12 percent of total exports while the main import product is coffee with a value of Rwf1.9 billion representing a 16 percent of total imports.
However, on the other hand, Rwanda’s total informal export to the four neighboring countries is Rwf27.6 billion compared to formal exports that is worth Rwf109.6 billion bringing the overall combined exports to Rwf137.3 billion in the same period leading to an increase of 25.2 percent.