The 11th Rwanda International Trade Fair ended on a positive note with many international companies attending and sealing business deals.
“The expo attracted 93 international and 217 local exhibitors,” Nasta Munara, an official from Private Sector Federation said.
Many businesses used the trade fair which opened on 28th August and ended Yesterday September 8th to make contacts.
Statistics from organisers of the trade show however indicate that there was a slight drop in exhibitors, from 323 last year to 310 this year.
There was also a drop in international exhibitors from 96 last year to 93. The expo secretariat attributes the general drop in exhibitors to partly leaving out most small local companies.
“We preferred big exhibitors this year than having a stand occupied by a small exhibitor with two baskets or one basket of mushrooms,” Munara said.
But exhibitors attributed the drop to the high costs of hiring stands. This, according to exhibitors locked out many potential customers.
Gadelrab Nour, an exhibitor from Egypt said they used to pay $700 per stand but the prices doubled to $1,350 (about Frw738,000).
“The environment and the stands were good, but the hike shouldn’t have gone to this extent,” he complained.
PSF paved walkways that used to be dusty during dry seasons and muddy during rainy season, planted grass and bought huge tents that have a life span of at least ten years.
Nour had planned to have four stands but settled for only two. The exhibitors suggested that the PSF should not have hiked the stand rental fees.
“This is a long term project where you don’t need to recoup the money to invest overnight,” said, Delight Forkuoh from Ghana. But the PSF says the fee was competitive, and exhibitors got value for money.
“We are the cheapest in the region and when you compare the facilities and the environment, it’s worth the money,” Munara said.
Munara said they have to recover the money they used for improving the infrastructure at Gikondo Expo Ground within four years.
Augusta Wambui one of the six companies from Bwehaki Textiles in Kenya said sales were low, partly because of the low purchasing power of show goers.