Rwanda has been lauded for its efforts to promote cross-border trade, which is viewed as a vehicle for economic growth and poverty eradication among developing countries.
This was noted during the opening of a two-day Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Board Meeting in Kigali yesterday.
The meeting also combined with a workshop on cross-border trade.
It sought to consolidate key policies and strategies with a focus on promoting broad-based economic growth, employment creation, trade development and poverty reduction in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The workshop brought together high-level government officials, as well as representatives of EIF and other partners involved in the implementation of the National Cross Border Trade Strategy in Rwanda.
The EIF is a core part of the Sustainable Development Goals, directly referenced in Target 8.A.
The EIF is the only Aid for Trade programme exclusively designed for Least Developed Countries.
The programme brings together partners and resources to support the world’s poorest countries in using trade for poverty reduction, inclusive growth and sustainable development, according to officials.
Over the past seven years, the EIF global partnership supported 142 projects in Least Developed Countries, equivalent to over $200 million.
According to Eloi Laourou, the LDCs Group coordinator, hosting the meeting in Rwanda was very important given the remarkable progress that the country has registered over the years.
“There is no substitute for Rwanda’s rapid growth in trade, technology and innovations among the least developed countries in the region; the country is becoming a model LDC for rapid economic growth and we applaud you for that,” Laourou said during his opening remarks.
He called on governments to ease the policy and legislative environment which, he said, not only helps the LDCs to boost their trade but also attracts local and foreign investment.
“Sound public policies stimulate sound public-private partnerships, and thus sound private sector investment,” he said.
Ratnakar Adhikari, the EIF executive director, hailed Rwanda for promoting cross-border trade, especially focusing on women, saying it would help them enhance their income, knowledge, expertise, entrepreneurship abilities among other opportunities.
Adhikari observed that supporting women is emphasised under the global sustainable development goals.
“Rwanda is not only one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, but it’s also leading the way in cross-border trade and provides a good example of how charting economic development progress in a unified front can significantly attract foreign investments and boost economic growth,” he added.
EIF donated $3 million for construction of cross-border markets in Karongi District and the Cyanika market (in Burera District) along the Uganda border, according to Adhikari.
Francois Kanimba, the Minister for Trade, Industry and EAC affairs, said that cross-border trade generated $ 300 million this year – both formal and informal trade.
It is estimated that between 70-80 per cent of cross-border traders are women, with 90 per cent of these women traders relying on cross‑border trade as their sole source of income.
Kanimba said Rwanda will retain friendly policies to facilitate doing business, security and infrastructure development.
“EIF is one of Rwanda’s key development partners. Not only has EIF brought in their own projects but they have also helped us leverage wide-ranging support from the private sector and other development partners to implement the national cross-border trade strategy,” said the minister.
“This, in turn, has helped the Government bring economic development and opportunities to our border regions and to some of our most vulnerable citizens, including women in informal cross-border trade,” he added.
Based in Geneva, EIF supports 51 least developed countries. Over the past seven years, the EIF global partnership has supported 142 projects in LDCs, equivalent to over $200 million, according to officials.
Source: The New Times