The Rwanda manufacturers’ umbrella body, which collapsed years ago, has been re-launched with calls on industrialists to improve quality and product branding.
The Rwanda Association of Manufacturers, previously known as Association des Industries du Rwanda, also voted for new office bearers, who pledged to lobby government to solve the numerous challenges faced by industries.
Manufacturers have for long been facing a number of persistent problems, including lack of skilled human capital, high cost of doing business, infiltration of sub-standard goods and poor branding, according to Robert Bayigamba, the association’s president-elect.
Bayigamba said the new body would push for improved quality and ways to reduce the cost of doing business.
“We want to reduce the country’s import bill and at the same time create a unique brand for Rwandan products,” Bayigamba, who is also the managing director of MANUMETAL, a furnishing firm, said after he was elected on Monday.
He added that the group would work with technical and vocational education training schools, the Workforce Development Authority and the education ministry to find means to reduce the skills gap industries face.
Jonathan Hall, the Bralirwa managing director, noted that having a strong skills base in the country that satisfies industry’s needs was fundamental.
He advised the association to work with the government to find solutions to problems faced by manufacturers.
“We have to produce competitive products and see how manufacturers can build and improve their brands to help increase the country’s export base and earnings,” Hariharan Dharmarajan, the Sulfo Industries managing director, said. Dharmarajan is also the association’s advisor.
The association is targeting to recruit over 200 members within a year, especially the small-scale manufacturers.
The manufacturing sector declined by 11 per cent at the end of last year, having grown by 8 per cent the previous year, according to current central bank statistics.Follow https://twitter.com/Ben_Gasore