Rwandan businesses eye DR Congo market

Local entrepreneurs in agriculture are paying particular attention to neighbouring DR Congo as they look to boost their business.

As such, the Private Sector Federation (PSF), particulary the Chamber of Farmers, is organising a three-day agri-business trade mission to Goma, the capital of the vast neighbouring country’s North Kivu Province, next week.

Organisers say the August 24-26 trade expedition aims to formalise and facilitate cross-border trade between the two countries.

Stephen Ruzibiza, the PSF CEO said, “We need to facilitate our local producers to formally get access to the cross-border markets and, in this case, we are targeting DR Congo and hope to expand these missions to other countries like Congo Brazzaville as well.”

“It will help connect Rwandan traders to their counterparts in DR Congo and this is an opportunity to create trade links with other potential markets as we embark on promoting local materials,” he said.

Nearly 50 traders, companies and cooperatives, including Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company (RFCC), Inyange Industries, Rwanda Mountain Tea, and Bourbon Coffee will head to Goma to explore opportunities.

Christine Rukera, owner of Premium Cayenne Pepper, told The New Times that her expectation from the trade mission is “to secure market for my products, as well as promoting exports from my country.”

“It is important to my business because I will  establish a long-term relationship to business (B2B) or business to client (B2C),” she said.

The main objective of the mission is to promote export of Rwandan products to the DR Congo market through formalising and facilitating cross-border trade.

Local traders will, specifically, look to identify market opportunities for Rwandan products in DR Congo, among others.

The mission will include a conference, exhibition to showcase Rwandan products, signing of a related Memorandum of Understanding and business to business meetings of Rwandans and their Congolese counterparts to network and explore opportunities in both countries.

Last week, President Paul Kagame and his Congolese counterpart Joseph Kabila agreed to strengthen the two countries’ cooperation in energy generation, cross-border trade, and security.

The two leaders made the announcement after holding a bilateral meeting in rwanda’s border district of Rubavu.

The Rubavu border ranks as one of the most active borders across Africa.

The two countries are jointly putting up a one-stop border post in Rubavu to facilitate movement of goods and people.

Rwanda’s exports to the DR Congo represent the biggest share of its informal exports, representing 75 per cent of the total informal cross-border exports.

Apart from investing in building a one-stop border post with DR Congo, Rwanda is interested in building modern warehouses at the border.

In March, the Government of Rwanda signed a partnership deal with Alpha Logistics Limited to build a modern bonded warehouse at Petite Barrière border in Rubavu District for $8.6 million (about Rwf6.5 billion).

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