Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi (C), flanked by Trade and Industry minister Francois Kanimba (L) and Benjamin Gasamagera, the chairperson of Private Sector Federation, cuts a ribbon to open the 18th Rwanda International Trade Fair at Gikondo expo ground in Kicukiro District yesterday. (Timothy Kisambira)

Prime Minister Murekezi (C), flanked by Trade and Industry minister Francois Kanimba (L) and Benjamin Gasamagera, the chairperson of Private Sector Federation, cuts a ribbon to open the 18th Rwanda International Trade Fair at Gikondo expo ground in Kicukiro District yesterday. (Timothy Kisambira)

This, the premier said, will help boost the country?s economic growth.

The premier was speaking during the official opening of the 18th Rwanda International Trade Fair at Gikondo expo ground in Kikuciro District, yesterday, where he said the country is challenged to increase exports, attract more investors and create more opportunities for Rwandans.

The annual event, which attracted more than 383 local and foreign companies, is an opportunity for the private sector to expand trade and market ?Made in Rwanda? products, Premier Murekezi said.

?Mobilising a strong and vibrant private sector is critical for economic development; however, we must work toward opening up more markets for Rwandan products through increased investments across all sectors,? Murekezi said.

Francois Kanimba, the minister for trade and industry, said the trade fair is an opportunity for self-assessment between producers and consumers.

?It is an important window for Rwanda to acquire new innovative technologies and machinery but also an opportunity for producers to properly understand and respond to customer demands,? Kanimba said.

Benjamin Gasamagera, chairperson of the Private Sector Federation, called on the local business community to cultivate and strengthen trade and economic partnerships with international exhibitors.

This year?s trade fair is expected to attract more than than 270,000 visitors, up from 265,000 that visited last year.

Botswana, Senegal, India, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, UAE, Singapore, East African Community states and Malaysia are among the countries participating in the expo.

More than 20 companies were last year awarded with certificates of excellence for exhibiting best product innovation and customer care services during the fair.

By Peterson Tumwebaze, The New Times

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