The Rwanda Investment and Export promotion Agency (Riepa) launched an export guide and also unveiled a $300,000 (Frw163.65 million) fund for export promotion and competitiveness.
Francis Gatare, the Director General of Riepa, said the export guide is a means to facilitate Rwanda’s existing and prospective entrepreneurs get access to necessary information regarding exporting.
“It will highlight all the information related to exportation to the international market such as market entry strategies, risks of loss, freight forwarders and insurance, and types of payments,” he said on August 7 at the Novotel Hotel in Kacyiru.
Gatare also disclosed that the guide comes when many potential entrepreneurs in the country face difficulties in accessing information on various issues relating to exports.
“Knowledge of export procedures, regulations, and documentation requirements in Rwanda was scattered in only a few,” he said. “In this context, Riepa took the initiative to produce an export guide to enhance export knowledge for all relevant stakeholders.”
The $300,000 fund will be through a scheme called Rwanda Competitiveness for Export Fund (RWACEF).
The Director of Export Promotion Department in Riepa, Tony Nsanganira, said funds from Riepa’s annual budget will help Rwandan private companies improve their competitiveness in domestic and export markets.
“It will build competitiveness through use of quality external business development services and planned intensive marketing development,” he explained.
The funds that are expected to grow over the years and are only available to companies meeting criteria such as adequate working capital, export expansion plan and company history.
At the launch, Beatrice Gakuba, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Flora, an organic export company, argued that the guide was not favourable for organic exporters, because they face a lot of competition from international markets and their goods are perishable.
The guide did not address the horticulture industry’s challenges such as easy transport and packaging.
In reaction, Gatare explained that the guide was drawn based on general assumptions and experiences from the business community.
“However, since it will be regularly updated, the horticulture sector maybe given some considerations later on,” he said.
He said he was optimistic that the guide would help contribute to the socio-economic development of Rwanda through export revenues.
Currently, the tourism sector, coffee and tea are the highest export revenue earners in the country with $42.3 million (Frw23 billion), $35.7 million (Frw19.4 billion) and $31.5 million (Frw17.1 billion) respectively.