Capacity Building for Rwanda Export Institutions (AfCFTA Guided Trade)

The Project at A Glance

The entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is transformational for Africa’s trade landscape. However, several African nations such as Rwanda among others, still lack the necessary resources to successfully implement the AfCFTA. 

International Economics (IEC) strengthened Rwanda’s Export Support institutions’ capabilities by providing capacity building on developing new markets and bringing innovation in order to use new business opportunities in both existing and new markets. The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development. 

What We Found

The AfCFTA is one of the African Union’s (AU) flagship projects for implementation of its 2063 Agenda. The AfCFTA has the potential to allow Rwanda and its exporters to tap into Africa’s export market. The potential to increase Rwanda’s exports to the rest of Africa is significant, both in terms of market and product diversification.  

However, the key challenges that Rwanda and other African countries encounter when trying to export to other African nations are, among other things, a lack of understanding about where of exporting opportunities exist on the continent and how to find partners for sourcing raw materials.

In particular, the majority of Rwanda’s export enterprises lacked export capacity. They lacked information on potential market access opportunities as well as experience in dealing with international standards and quality requirements, international marketing skills, and the necessary business contacts.

Project was implemented in 2023, with an aim to improve the capacity of Rwanda’s export support institutions (ESI) to provide their trade-related services to its members, and to increase the competitiveness of the Rwandan companies across the African market. Interactions of our Team with the different companies and private sector representatives highlighted the usefulness of the training, particularly as it related to access to information, identification of trends, databases etc. Our Team also provided recommendations for further support and capacity building activities, supporting the Export Support institutions to provide better support to their members.

Our Strategy and Impact

Improving the availability and access to information is one of the measures with the highest impact on developing country exports and our team is assisting the GIZ in strengthening the capacity of Rwanda’s Export Support Institutions in terms of their knowledge and skills on foreign market analysis and improving the readiness of Rwandan companies to benefit from the AfCFTA and to increase their exports.

The project relied on three specific strategies to deliver the services, each tailored to the needs and characteristics of the key beneficiaries: training for the Export Support Institutions, training for individual companies, and the individual coaching.

The team adopted a train-the-train approach to the implementation of the workshop for ESIs, which offered a mix of theory and practices, with a focus on developing several essential trainer’s skills. This provides more sustainable approach, as it enables the participants to train other people in their organisations. The practical aspect of the training allowed the participants to learn from their own experiences as well as from each other.

Private-sector focused activities included training on trading under AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative, as well one-on-one coaching and support in trade fair participation. Our team supported six Rwandan companies in creating tailored Action Plans and supported selected two in participation in the Intra-African Trade Fair (ITAF) in Cairo. The IATF helped the companies to find buyers, but more work is needed to build longer-lasting relationships and the Team has recommended more B2B support for Rwandan companies.

Our Core Solutions

As businesses seek to expand operations into new markets, the need to explore global supply chains and understand the international regulatory framework becomes crucial. At International Economics Consulting, we build tailor-made strategies for both import and export-oriented business solutions. 

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