Local handcraft exporters are losing to their competitors on the international market due to poor negotiation skills.
Experts also say that although the industry has witnessed tremendous success locally and demonstrates bright prospects internationally, it requires new innovative products that fit the volatility of the global market.
“It is challenging for women exporters to understand the documents required in exportation, the people to handle their products and how they can be paid,” Christian Uvugakuli, a trainer told Business Times during the access training organised by Rwanda Development Board.
Rwanda’s handcraft industry is dominated by women entrepreneurs.
Uvugakuli noted that the industry also meets a challenge of branding as many products cannot be traced back to their origin hence lowering the market trust.
“But most of these handicraft products don’t meet the international standards and volumes required by a particular market abroad,” he said, adding that this leads to a loss of market.
Justus Niyitanga, Internal Trade Development Officer at RDB noted that improving women access to information will further strengthen and increase the number of women involved in the export trade.
“Women are managing big businesses in the country and we know that by building their capacity, they can perform well in export trade,” he said.
Niyitanga explained that RDB through the Access project has embarked on training women exporters and those with potential to inprove their export potential.
Access II Rwanda chapter is a project by ACCESS, an organisation involving African businesswomen aimed at empowering women in export trade.
Niyitanga said that major areas such as focus on international trade and business strategy export, global value chain, intellectual property and making resource decisions, international transportation among
others are being emphasised under the project.
Christine Murebwayire, a handicraft exporter said that most women face a challenge in branding their products and failure to access market information due to cultural inclination which makes it hard to export.