KIGALI - Over 90 participants who qualified for the Handcraft Excellence Award competition, yesterday began showcasing their products at Petit Stade in Remera, Kigali.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, while officiating at the launch, urged the participants to respond to market opportunities and create quality work.
“This awarding program was initiated to encourage creativity and avail market access opportunities for Rwandan handcraft products. However, these products have to be of good quality in order to compete favourably,” the minister said.
Kanimba also stated that the exhibition would be held annually to publicise and promote the handcrafts industry at the local and International level.
He advised the craftsmen and women to be innovative, market driven and entrepreneurial to maximize their earnings from their trade.
One of the participants, Mukandori Manisera, who knits scarfs, baby shawls and sweaters, said she was overjoyed for being selected among the 92 who qualified to participate from the huge number that applied.
“It’s just day one and I am getting so many buyers. I hope to get contacts and make huge sales out of this exhibition. I am also learning about other craftworks from my colleagues,” said Mukandori.
Celse Ngaruye, who makes necklaces, earrings, purses and key holders, noted that one of his biggest challenges is high freight charges.
“I have friends abroad who like my stuff, but I can’t transport them because of the high expenses involved. I hope the government will help us promote Rwandan crafts on the international market,” Ngaruye appealed.
He, however, expressed appreciation for the exhibition that he hopes would get him more clients and recognition for his artistic work.