Kigali, Rwanda – November 30, 2023 — In a significant stride toward enhancing Rwanda’s participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the East African Business Council (EABC) partnered with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to conduct a National Capacity Building Workshop for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Youth. The focus of the workshop was to fortify export readiness, particularly addressing standards and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) challenges.
The event, held on Thursday, November 30th, 2023, in Kigali, Rwanda, witnessed the active participation of 50 SMEs spanning various industries. The targeted SMEs, specializing in the export of fruits and vegetables, coffee, and chill products, grapple with hurdles related to international standards and SPS.
The workshop, a testament to EABC’s commitment to economic growth and empowerment, served as a dynamic platform for knowledge exchange and capacity building. Participants engaged in interactive sessions, expert presentations, and collaborative discussions, gaining valuable insights into export strategies, market trends, and regulatory nuances.
Mr. Antoine Kajanwe, Director General for Trade and Industry, Republic of Rwanda, inaugurated the workshop on behalf of the Honorable Minister of Trade and Industry. Keynote addresses were delivered by distinguished guests, including Mr. Gatera Emmanuel, Head of the National Standards Division, Rwanda Standards Board; Mr. Reuben Gisore, Technical Director at the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO); and Mr. Moses Kanyesigye, Coordinator SMEs, Women, and Youth, EABC, representing the CEO of EABC.
Expert trainers included Mama Keita, Director of UNECA-Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa; Mr. Nathan Gasheija, CEO of the Council of SMEs, Rwanda; and Reuben Gisore and Lilian Kamanzi from ARSO. Their wealth of knowledge equipped participants with the skills and insights necessary to navigate the complexities of international trade and leverage the opportunities presented by AfCFTA.
The collaborative efforts of EABC and GIZ underscore their dedication to fostering economic growth and sustainability, with a focus on empowering SMEs and youth entrepreneurs. This initiative aligns with the broader vision of harnessing the potential of AfCFTA to propel Rwanda into a thriving hub of global trade and commerce.