The 2nd Rwanda Diaspora Business Expo opened in London Friday with Rwandan local producers displaying their goods to the UK market.
The three-day function is being hosted by the Rwanda Diaspora Investment UK Ltd (RDI), in conjunction with the Rwandan Embassy in the UK, Rwanda Investment & Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA) and Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF).
Opening the function, the Rwandan Ambassador to Britain, Claver Gatete, said that the show was a unique opportunity for local Rwandan products to penetrate the UK market.
Gatete who was accompanied by his Tanzanian and Namibian counterparts said that the government will continue to support medium size companies since they help in reducing poverty among the people as well as creating wealth.
Medium businesses in the export sector such as handicrafts, coffee, tea and agro-processing make most of the products on show this year.
The Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR), Banque de Kigali and Capital Market Advisory Council are other Kigali-based participants at the expo.
Claire Akamanzi, the Deputy Director General of RIEPA, hailed RDI for helping the country show-case its products in the UK and EU markets.
She said that the Rwandan Diaspora can play a critical role in the economic development of the country through investing and encouraging others to invest in Rwanda.
Recent Central Bank of Rwanda figures show that the country collected $122.12 million (Frw66.3 billion) in export revenues in the first half of this year compared to $79.57 million (Frw43.1 billion) in the same period last year.
This 53.5 percent increase in export value is attributed to the performance of mining, coffee, and tea sectors which accounted for 39.8 per cent, 9.8 percent and 18.3 percent of the total export value respectively.
The Director of RDI, Jonathan Rutaganira, said that the aim of his company is to mobilise resources from the Rwandan Diaspora and other interested parties for the sole purpose of investing in Rwanda.
He added that the expo is expected to create a platform for both Rwanda and UK businesses to discuss trade opportunities.
The Diaspora Banking Service provided by the Commercial Bank of Rwanda attracted the largest number of people. The bank offers services that range from opening of accounts via Internet, profitably saving of money, supporting family to planning for any future investment in Rwanda.
BCR’s Hannington Namara said that the Mortgage scheme as a product is now available for grabs. He added that many people in the UK should prepare to open accounts during the expo in order to benefit from this and other services offered by the bank.