Trade agreements should be entered with caution

Editor, Recently, there was an article posted in The New Times about Rwanda being the first destination for retailers (on the African continent). My comment is that Rwanda should be the first destination for producers or manufacturers, and not for retailers.

Editor,

I wish to respond to the article, “Here is how to tame Rwanda’s trade deficit” (Sunday Times, March 30).

Recently, there was an article posted in The New Times about Rwanda being the first destination for retailers (on the African continent). My comment is that Rwanda should be the first destination for producers or manufacturers, and not for retailers.

Relying on Chinese or Western direct investments (producers/manufacturers) is also not enough. The Government of Rwanda should heavily invest in promoting local businesses as well as joint ventures between the government and private businesses (local and foreign).

Moreover, being a member of the East Africa Community (EAC) is a good thing for Rwanda’s development. Nevertheless, if the country has nothing substantial to export to Kenya or Uganda, that is a serious problem for the future growth of Rwanda.

This reminds me the case of North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The agreement came into force in January 1, 1994. At the beginning, everybody was smiling. As time went by, Mexico ended up becoming the exporting market and a “dumping ground” for its partners from the north.

All in all, I hope Rwanda still has a room to question its policy towards all its business partners. Otherwise, it might be difficult to survive in today’s competitive and unpredictable global business environment.

In other words, the country will likely be economically colonised, which might also result into foreign manipulation.

Eddy Chico,
Baltimore, United States

Have Your SayLeave a comment