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Overview of Rwandan Trade Sector

Rwanda’s participation in global trade or even regional trade is still low. As a rapidly growing economy, Rwanda imports more than it exports leading to a growing trade deficit. Between 2008 and 2012 export growth averaged 26% compared with growth in imports of 18%. The latest trade data indicate that in 2012 merchandise exports grew by 28.13%, over 2011, compared to 11.40% growth in merchandise imports.

To achieve Rwanda’s economic growth trade is a fundamental function. The Government of Rwanda is making every effort to meet sustainable high export growth over import growth and achieve Vision 2020’s ambitious target of 28% export growth per year.

In this regard, EDPRS II focuses on interventions to strengthen export promotion and enhance sector specific infrastructure on key export sectors.

Trade Development Division

Trade Development Division of RDB has the goal of raising the level of domestic trade and increasing regional and international exports in order to improve Rwanda’s trade position.

This Division is responsible of conducting pro-active export promotion activities in target markets and conducting export development program.

1.  Export Development Program

In the context of National Export Strategy (NES), RDB is implementing an Export Development Program to develop company competitiveness and increase exports. This program focuses mainly on capacity building of new and existing exporters.

It has three main sub-programs:

Export Adviser Initiative (EAI): Under this component 15 local consultants and institutions are being trained in export related matters. At the end certified Advisors will be able to:

  • Undertake individual company export capacity audits,
  • Develop export and market entry plans and support the implementation of agreed plans,
  • Train and coach business owners in both strategic and technical export related activities.

Export Capacity Programme (ECP): This sub-program aims at upgrading the capacity of existing and potential exporters by:

  • Providing access to specialized services that support value added, product development and export market development.

Market Linked Programme (MLP): The objective of Market linked sub-program is to undertake research to put Rwandan companies in front of potential clients and helps them to generate new export sales. RDB supports companies by:

  • Conducting market research for Rwandan companies;
  • Providing feedback from the market research;
  • Linking Rwandan companies with potential distributors in EAC market through organized sales missions.

2. Export Promotion Program

This program aims at marketing Rwandan products in international markets, and coaching exporters on marketing strategies. Under this program it is important to highlight following initiatives:

  • Trade fairs and trade missions:  RDB supports Rwandan companies to participate in international trade fairs and trade missions thus they understand competition and identify opportunities. RDB leads implementation of the program across all sectors. This is done through:
  • Selecting and coaching companies on imports requirement in foreign markets;  
  • Developing exhibitors catalogues;
  • Producing promotion materials under the brand name “Buy from Rwanda”;
  • Providing other related facilitation that companies need to enter new markets, to remain in force in existing markets and then increase Rwandan exports.

For more information on how to participate in these programs please contact the trade division at:   

  • Export Web Portal: This is an online information transmission and communication services that facilitates international business community to connect directly with Rwandan exporters. Through the portal Rwandan companies can showcase their products and learn about exporting and market opportunities.

Note: The Rwandan export web portal is under development

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