Local industrialists have been urged to enhance their production capacity and quality to take full advantage of the 150 million strong East African Community (EAC) market.
Amb. Valentine Rugwabiza, the East African Community Affairs Minister, said manufacturers should embrace new technologies to boost productivity and improve product quality to benefit from the huge opportunities presented by the EAC market.
“You should no longer focus on the small Rwandan market of about 12 million people, but the bigger EAC bloc. That’s why it is important for you to embrace new technologies to increase productivity and provide goods and services at affordable price,” she said.
Rugwabiza was speaking at the closure of the 17th Rwanda International Trade Fair on Wednesday at the Gikondo Show Grounds in Kicukiro District.
She said regional governments would continue to improve business environment in the bloc to attract more investors and ease cost doing trade.
“We will spare no effort in deepening regional integration because we understand that removal of trade barriers is key to ensuring economic sustainability of the region,” Rugwabiza said.
“I, therefore, appeal to the private sector to participate in fast-tracking of regional integration by producing for the EAC market and getting involved in all its other activities.”
She said besides ensuring that all trade barriers are eliminated, the EAC partner states want to further ease movement of people, services and goods across the region, “but we seek close collaboration of the private sector”.
Felicite Nyampundu, a senior training officer at the Business Professionals Network Rwanda, also urged the private sector to work with the government and support regional efforts into fast-tracking the EAC integration, arguing that the business community may not achieve much from the EAC integration if they don’t get fully involved.
“You have to be at the centre of the whole process to benefit. After all, you are one of the biggest shareholders,” Nyampundu noted.