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Rwandan entrepreneurs eye business opportunities in Chinese market

by Sharon Chepngetich

Local business operators who are showcasing their products at the 2019 Beijing International Horticulture Exhibition have expressed the interest in exploring opportunities in Chinese market with intention to accelerate sales in the Asian market.

Rwanda businesses revealed their plans on the sidelines of an exhibition launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping under the theme “Live Green, Live Better.”

Nine Rwandan companies are taking part. They include Caferwa, Urwibutso Entreprise, Urumuri, Umucyo, Damarara, Unguka Muhinzi, Kivubelt, Gashora Farms, and Women exporters.

Made-in-Rwanda products being showcased include coffee brands such as Boneza coffee,Kivu Belt Coffee, Bourbon Coffee, Gorilla’s Coffee, Nova Coffee, Garuka Coffee and Kinunga Coffee.

Among other products include fruit juices, processed chili pepper, honey, roasted coffee and tea, and handcrafts as well as a showcase of the country’s tourism attractions and investment opportunities.

According to the participants, locally made products caught the attention of the Chinese population, especially Rwandan coffee and handcraft products. The demand for Rwandan products has inspired the entrepreneurs to look at further possibilities on the Chinese market after the expo.

According to Francine Murekatete, Urumuri Handcraft Association representative, it would be more productive to find a shop in Beijing for her products. The entrepreneur took a tonne of her products to the expo.

“Chinese people love Rwandan handcraft products. Our products bring excitement to Chinese visitors. They keep on asking if our products are always available on the Chinese market. This exhibition is an opportunity to attract more clients so that we can enlarge our operations in China. I plan to regularly export produce to China,” Murekatete said.

Isaie Bitegetsimana of Urwibutso Enterprise noted that Chinese people have expressed their love for Rwandan Chili pepper. Urwibutso Enterprise is marketing Akarusho, Agashya and Akabanga there.

Bitegetsimana said; “Chili pepper is among our exports. Chili has become a favourite product to many people across the world and that’s why we are exhibiting to Chinese people too. This is an opportunity to market it to a huge number of Chinese people. For the first round, we brought 200 kilogrammes. After the expo, we want to create connections so that our products are always available on Chinese market.”

Geraldine Ndayizeye, from Umucyo Handcraft, encourages other Rwandan entrepreneurs to make use of the opportunities on international markets. Ndayizeye exported 600 kilogrammes of products and she is planning to export more in coming months.

“There is a market for Rwandan products. Producers should only keep on enhancing the quality,” she added.

Rwanda Development Board and Embassy of Rwanda in China said that they will work closely with Rwandan companies to ensure smooth and productive participation in Chinese market.



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