Prime Minister Bernard Makuza yesterday officially opened the 12th Rwanda International Trade Fair at the Expo Grounds in Gikondo.
Makuza, who had represented President Paul Kagame, commended the over 400 exhibitors for participating in this year’s Expo as a way of recognising the country’s investment opportunities.
“It is inspiring to see that over 400 exhibitors have turned up, I believe this gives us an opportunity to promote trade and investments opportunities, not only in Rwanda but the East African Community (EAC) region as a whole and also beyond the African Continent,” he said.
For the first time the trade fair has attracted the biggest number of exhibitors despite earlier fears that the global economic turndown affect turn-up.
This year 419 exhibitors registered compared to last year’s 312, of which 219 were local exhibitors while 93 were foreign companies.
This year’s expo has attracted exhibitors from the EAC states, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, India, Egypt and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Makuza commended exhibitors from the regional bloc for turning in large numbers, shortly after the EAC Investment Conference in Kenya, a development which is a clear signal that the region is moving towards real economic integration.
The East African Community members have started implementing the Customs Union and the Common Market, which sets a good precedent.
The Minister of East African Community, Monique Mukaruliza, who had represented Trade and Commerce Minister Monique Nsanzbaganwa, noted that the region is looking at a bigger EAC International Trade fair to be held on a rotational basis among member states, in a bid to lure investors not only to individual countries, but to the EAC as a whole.
She also noted that non-tariff barriers and fighting corruption at a regional level will be implemented to ease doing business in the region.