Leaders to position Muhanga town as a commercial hub

Authorities in Muhanga are crafting strategies to turn the district’s main town into the second city in the country, Mayor Yvonne Mutakwasuku has said.

Authorities in Muhanga are crafting strategies to turn the district’s main town into the second city in the country, Mayor Yvonne Mutakwasuku has said.

The leaders are involving the local private sector in their vision to change the town’s face and position it as a strong business hub that will supply other districts in Southern Province and throughout the country, according to the mayor.

Muhanga, alongside five other upcountry towns, have been identified by the government as business cities, that, if developed, can help spur local development. The others are Huye, Musanze, Rubavu, Rusizi and Nyagatare.

“We have information that businessmen from Gitarama (now renamed Muhanga) were among the first business persons to import goods from Dubai. Why can’t we revive that history and import from Dubai, China, the US and elsewhere?” Mutakwasuku posed at last week’s news conference at the district’s meeting hall.

In order to realise the dream of positioning Muhanga town as a business hub, authorities have helped local businesspeople to set an investment company, Ijabo Development Company, to spur local investment.

Last month, a delegation made of members of the company, the Private Sector Federation (PSF) representatives in the district and local authorities, travelled to China to build relations with Chinese companies and big industries with view of attracting them to invest in the district.  

The first Deputy Chairperson of Muhanga PSF, Emmanuel Musabyimana, told The New Times that while in China, the delegation of 11 persons visited different business activities in Guangxu and other cities.

Two big ceramic industries were visited and members of the delegation held discussions with the management team, in which they exchanged experiences and contacts.

The most interesting is the Dong Pend Ceramic C Ltd, which manufactures floor tiles and other building materials. 

“We found these floor tiles and other materials of high quality and could be imported in Rwanda as the government aspires to improve the quality of infrastructures,” said Musabyimana.

He added that they are making an assessment of the market and set up strategies for importing. If the agreement is achieved Muhanga District will represent Dong Pend Ceramic Company Ltd on the African continent, he said. 

The Muhanga investment company also signed an agreement with Jacafu Speed China, a transport company, to facilitate Muhanga business operators to import from China at affordable charges.
‘Strategic position’

According to Mutakwasuku, the district has a great market opportunity as it is located in the central part of the country and may attract businesses from other provinces. 

It can easily supply the whole Southern Province, and many parts of north and west of the country, Mutakwasuku says. 

“Some traders still travel to Kigali to get what they want. If they could access the goods from here [Muhanga], there would no longer be that need,” Mutakwasuku said, adding that the district is also in a strategic town which could attract businesses from neighbouring Burundi and DR Congo.

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