Rwanda hopes to use the first China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo scheduled for June 27-29 in central China’s Hunan Province to advance the marketing of local products, an official said on Wednesday.
The expo will be an opportunity for marketing Rwandan products as Rwanda seeks to reduce the trade balance with China, Sanny Ntayombya, communications and marketing officer at Rwanda Development Board (RDB), told Xinhua in a written interview.
Rwandan businesses set to take part in this month’s trade expo will be showcasing made-in-Rwanda products including chili oil, French beans, processed juice, tea and coffee, and handcrafts, said Ntayombya.
Rwanda’s participation in the exhibition underscores its willingness to strengthen its trade and investment ties with China, which could help speed up the ongoing application process for Rwandan fresh products to be eligible for export to China including beef, chili, avocados, etc., he said.
With a potential market of over 1 billion people, Rwanda believes that it is essential to trade with China, said Ntayombya, noting that there is huge potential in the Chinese market.
The government of Rwanda and China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba last October launched Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), which makes Rwanda the first African country that launches such a platform.
In the long term, Rwanda hopes to expand the partnership with Alibaba to export Rwandan products to China including beef, chilies and avocados in addition to coffee, said the official.
A Rwandan agriculture company Gashora Farm told Xinhua that exhibitions of China present many opportunities for African goods to access the huge Chinese market.
The company secured a half-year contract worth 2 million U.S. dollars to supply chili oil to a Chinese food factory last November during the first China International Import Expo.
“From the previous Chinese expo, I have been inspired to think big. I’m now positioning myself to produce for export and infiltrate big markets,” said Dieudonne Twahirwa, managing director of Gashora Farm, which will take part in the upcoming expo in China.
“The Chinese market is important as China is Africa’s major trading partner,” said Twahirwa, adding that he is expecting to attract more customers and seal more business deals in the expo.
A total of 53 African countries have confirmed to attend the expo to be held in Changsha, the capital city of Hunan, Hunan’s deputy governor He Baoxiang said earlier this month.
It will be attended by more than 1,500 foreign guests, over 5,000 domestic guests, as well as more than 3,500 exhibitors, buyers and professional visitors, he said.
Launched under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the expo will establish a new mechanism for economic and trade cooperation between China and African countries.
In 2018, China-Africa trade reached 204.2 billion U.S. dollars, up 20 percent year on year, and China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for 10 straight years.