Thousands are storming the Rwanda International Trade Fare commonly known as EXPO, and there are more foreign exhibitors as compared to the previous years.
The annual event that is organized by the Private Sector Federation (PSF) in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, opened its doors on July 29th, 2011 and ends on August 10th, 2011.
Event organizers have confirmed that 141 foreign exhibitors from 19 countries are showcasing their products and services.
One exhibitor, Fadhil Mohammed travelled 3,425 miles by air from Pakistan so as to exhibit extra-ordinary art pieces and fabric for the first time in Rwanda.
Some of the products that Mohammed and his colleagues showcase include indoor décor, kitchenware, fabric and traditional Pakistan tailored clothes.
“Most of our products are handmade besides the kitchenware. For instance, some of the fabric decorations are knitted by use of hands and not a sewing machine.
“The different crafts in form of flower vases and animal shaped stones are sculptured from the famous Pakistan stone called Onyx. The onyx stone’s quality is better than marble. The crafts from these stones are suitable for friendly or corporate gifts,” he explains.
Onyx stone which are found in the mountains of Pakistan have beautiful layers of colour and shades that give the handicrafts an extraordinary look.
“The exploration of new markets is important and this is what inspired us to come to Rwanda. We have been to some African countries such as Senegal, Tanzania and people in these places loved the commodities,” Mohammed explains.
He adds that his team had to peruse through the internet to get to know the nature of the Rwandan trade fair.
“We were able to showcase our product after we applied online on the Private Sector Federation official website. If the business is promising, we plan to apply for a license to start up a shop here,” Mohammed discloses.
The enthusiastic team was eloquently convincing people on how durable their products are especially the salad trimmer and the barbeque saucepan.
Communication is not a barrier for the Pakistanis.
“Although many people here speak English, we have employed translators who can easily communicate to those who prefer using the local language (Kinyarwanda).
“For the few days we have been here, the sales are encouraging. We shall return next year if everything goes well,” Mohammed expresses.
“The Rwandan people are hospitable, the way they treat us is exceptional. I think that is why we have not faced any problems compared to other places,” he adds.
Gladys Uwera, a 30-year-old customer who was admiring an engraved flower vase, said that the crafted products are breathtaking.
“I will have to come back and buy this flower vase because I have loved it. It’s extremely unique. I won’t be able to find it if the exhibitors go back to their country,” Uwera said.
Other foreign countries that attended include Syria, India, Turkey, Ghana, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Senegal, DRC Congo, Egypt, Emirates, Iran, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, USA and Nigeria.