With the sector expected to earn US$10 million (Rwf5.4 billion) by 2012, the government has scheduled more support in the form of training aimed at improving the quality and quantity of hides and skins produced locally
The government of Rwanda through the Centre for Support to Small and Medium Enterprises in Rwanda (CAPMER) is to establish a hides and skins demonstration centre next year.
The centre which is expected to improve the quality of leather products in the country will be located in Kabuga, at the outskirts of Kigali City.
According to John Ndikuwera, Head of Agri-business Department in CAPMER, the centre will be charged with checking defects on hides and skins for export.
CAPMER is among the institutions which were recently merged to form the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
Ndikuwera disclosed that the establishment of the centre is under the huge financial and technical support of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
He added that ‘We are currently looking for the necessary equipments for the centre’.
Without divulging into the details of the estimated budget, officials from UNIDO said that the construction of the centre will commence next year.
The move is seen as an answer to the request by the leather dealers for government support to help improve the quality of their products.
Dealers in the leather industry made an appeal early this month while training on preserving, protecting and adding value within their industry.
The training which was facilitated by Capmer from its Rwf300 million an annual budget for agri-business support, attracted various stakeholders such as butchery owners, skin dealers and those working in Tanneries.
The hides and skins sector is another source of employment and revenues that cannot be underestimated. Information from RDB shows that exports of hides and skins fetched US$2,789,465 (Rwf1.545 billion) in the first eight months of this year.
This represents a 0.3 percent increment over 2007’s earnings which stood at US$2,781,043 (Rwf1.540 billion) over the same period.
However, the sector ran short of US$1,210,535 (Rwf671 million) to achieve government’s estimated revenues of $4 million (Rwf2.216 billion).
Rwanda’s hides and skins products are exported to Italy and Hong Kong, with Rwanda Leather Industry as the sole exporter.
With the sector expected to earn US$10 million (Rwf5.4 billion) by 2012, the government has scheduled more support in the form of training aimed at improving the quality and quantity of hides and skins produced locally.
The Construction of the hides and skins centre is also a big boost to the country’s export sector which is expected to reach US$234 million (Rwf129.6 billion) this year.