Rwanda will host the 14th World Export Development Forum in September, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said in a statement.
The forum, scheduled for September 16-17, will focus on the need to create trade and employment opportunities by increasing the competitiveness of small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs), the statement added.
This will be the first time the International Trade Centre will bring its flagship event to Africa.
“Rwanda is honoured to host the first ever World Export Development Forum to be held in Africa... SMEs are at the front of all our efforts to improve the business environment. These efforts are paying off in terms of inclusive growth. The forum provides the ideal platform for SMEs to build linkages with multinational companies, opening up global opportunities and unlocking their potential,” Ambassador Valentine Rugwabiza, the RDB boss, said in the statement.
The event will bring together over 400 representatives of governments, the private sector and trade support institutions from around the world to debate on ways to achieve trade-led inclusive sustainable development through entrepreneurship, trade competitiveness of SMEs, employment and economic growth.
This year, the forum will be held in conjunction with ITC’s Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum , which matches women vendors with international buyers.
“Only a vibrant SME sector can create the jobs that are required to provide employment to young people in developing countries,” said Arancha González, Executive Director of ITC. “Bringing ITC’s key event to Rwanda makes perfect sense as Rwanda has been exceptionally successful in improving its business environment to attract investment into areas such as information and communication technology and logistics, which provide trade opportunities for SMEs.”
SMEs are the backbone of the economies of developing countries, and can contribute to two-thirds of employment opportunities. They account for 80 per cent of jobs across all economic groups, including marginalised groups such as women and youth in developing.
ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations that supports SMEs in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid for Trade agenda and the Millennium Development Goals.