Local traders are gearing up for the Rwanda-Congo Brazzaville Trade Fair, which starts at the end of this month.
The trade fair in Congo Brazzaville is the first of its kind, where 30 local entrepreneurs will showcase their products in the West African country.
In a meeting with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM), the traders expressed optimism, saying that they are ready to tap into the Congo -Brazzaville market.
Christine Murebwayire, a trader dealing in agricultural products, urged fellow entrepreneurs to seize the opportunity and boost their businesses.
“I have been to Congo-Brazzaville before and I can assure you that you will reap profits if you are vigilant enough,” Murebwayire said.
“In that country, they do not farm on a large scale, which makes their imported food products more expensive. Therefore, if we take this trade fair seriously, we can get contacts to supply Brazzaville in the future.”
Emmanuel Hategeka, the Permanent Secretary of MINICOM, said that the ministry had spent US$150,000 (Rwf90 million) to cover expenses for the showground as well as cut the cargo cost for the traders by half.
“As part of the national export strategy, the government has subsidised so that traders can be motivated to engage in several trade fair ventures,” Hategeka said, adding: “What traders must do is to ensure that they have sustainable production so that they do not frustrate their newly found market.”
The traders, however, voiced concern over the sustainable availability of cargo services by national carrier, RwandAir.
“Being one of the main organisers of this fair, RwandAir must ensure that they get a cargo plane that is capable of transporting our products whenever we locate a foreign market,” Vianney Kabera, an exporter of horticulture products said.
According to a survey conducted by RwandAir, the best selling products in Brazzaville range from foodstuffs such as vegetables to medical and ICT equipment. The expo kicks off on May 28 to May 30, 2011.