Africa Must Be Self-reliant: Rwandese Trade Minister

Business Main Story Zimbabwe

Cecilia Kamputa

The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have accelerated the urgency for Africa’s self-reliance, the Rwandese government has said.

Speaking at the second session of the Zimbabwe-Rwanda Trade and Investment Conference held in Harare on Monday, Rwandese Minister of Trade and Industry, Beata Habyarimana said it was important to have a close collaboration among African nations in facing these global challenges.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant negative impact on our African economies, in addition to lives lost since the beginning of the pandemic. The current crisis between Russia and Ukraine worsens the situation,” said Habyarimana.

She added that reinforcing trade and investment ties between countries on the continent was essential.

“It is a means for achieving our common objective of social and economic transformation and with the Trade and Investment Conference opening today, Rwanda and Zimbabwe are leading by example.”

Speaking at the same event, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board, Zephanie Niyonkuru said the disruption of the value chain due to the Covid-19 pandemic prompted
them to look at local markets.

“There were things Rwanda used to import from Asia that are available in Zimbabwe and these
engagements we are now having will allow us to increase our trade and investment volumes between
the two countries,” Niyonkuru said.

Zimtrade Chief Executive Officer, Allan Majuru, spoke on the trade volumes between Rwanda and Zimbabwe, saying they were very low, due to the low intra-African trade figures, compared to intra-European trade.

“This is mainly due to lack of information on what is available in another African country,” he added. Majuru expressed optimism that Zimbabwe’s exports to Rwanda will grow.

After the first edition of the Zimbabwe-Rwanda Trade held in September 2021, five MOUs were signed between Rwanda and Zimbabwe and after the opening day of the second edition in Harare, three MOUs have been signed between the two countries.