Local manufacturers have been asked to meet conformity and quality standards of products to boost the country’s exports drive.
The Director General of Rwanda Bureau of Standards RBS Mark Cyubahiro said meeting quality standards of products especially those destined for export promotes trade and increase sustainable development.
“We need to meet conformity assessment, technical regulations and guidelines if we have to access and maintain such markets”, he said.
Cyubahiro noted that consumers of products and services need assurance that certain standards and regulations are met during production which has potential of boosting the manufacturer’s turnover.
He added that non-tariff-barriers which involve conformity assessment have made it difficult for developing countries such as Rwanda to enter markets in industrialized countries.
“Conformity assessment is a vibrant and evolving industry, governments and consumers in industrialised countries are increasingly asking for certain rigorous standards to be met”, he said, adding that as a growing economy, Rwanda should put more efforts in improving standards rather than the number of products exported.
Rama Kant Pandey, General Manager of Inyange Industries Ltd, a leading producer of various consumer products in Rwanda said that his firm has invested heavily in quality assurance and standards to meet international requirement for the purposes of boosting Rwanda’s export volumes.
“Our labelling and packaging conforms to the standards at international markets”, said Dharma Rajan, the Managing Director of Sulfo Industries a leading consumer goods manufacturer, adding that safety management systems are key in quality assurance.
With its 43 internationally certified products, Rwanda’s export base has gained substantial confidence in external markets due to the need to meet such standards with tea recently entering into the Chinese market.
The minister of Trade and Industry Francois Kanimba said that as the majority of Rwanda’s exports are agricultural, the country still faces challenges of meeting international standards which slows down the demand for such products at the international markets.
“We want to see how we can help our manufacturers to increase value addition and standards to create a bigger export base,” he said, adding that other bottlenecks such as logistics in production, transport and market chain are affecting export receipts.