Rwanda Development Board and Trade Mark East Africa partner to build local business capacity and support access to export markets

RDB Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel Hategeka and TMEA Country Director Patience Mutesi Gatera shaking hands after the signing partnership agreement

Rwanda Development Board and Trade Mark East Africa partner to build local business capacity and support access to export markets

Kigali, 7th November 2018: The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) have today signed an agreement that aims to help build the capacity of Rwandan businesses to tap into international and regional markets.

The support, worth USD $2.4 million, aims to link 40 local producers of non- traditional exports to new markets by 2023 by providing business advisory services for export-ready companies. Furthermore, Rwandan university graduates will be placed in mentorship programmes to build their capacity in trade policy and export development. This will ensure the long-term sustainability of the outcomes of the programme.

The support from TMEA is part of the USD $50 million Memorandum of Understanding signed between TMEA and the Government of Rwanda early this year. The funding to RDB is being provided by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through TMEA.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, RDB Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel Hategeka said, “the partnership with TMEA couldn’t have come at a better time. Supporting local exporters will increase employment opportunities for Rwandans while at the same time helping to reduce Rwanda’s trade deficit. It was also increase our capacity to attract investors into our special economic zones. I have no doubt that this partnership will be a success.”

Explaining the new partnership, TMEA Country Director Ms. Patience Mutesi-Gatera said, “Growing Rwandan exports and getting Rwandan companies to compete at the international markets may seem complex. We believe it is possible with collaboration, and that is why we have renewed our partnership with RDB to especially support the Rwanda National Export Strategy. Our research show that some of the constraints faced by potential Rwandan exporters include weak export networks, inadequate exporting skills and low productivity of labour. This programme will resolve some of these challenges. It will enable RDB build capacity of local industries in producing products that meet international standards, thereafter promoting exports and providing business development services including development of marketing strategies and provision of information and training to enhance knowledge of market requirements. Ultimately, our goal is to increase Rwanda’s export base as this will stimulate new jobs and improve incomes for the people of Rwanda.”

Note to Editor’s

The Export Development Programme will build the capacity of 40 Rwandan businesses to increase their exports. A mix of interventions will be applied including on-firm advisory services tailored to respond to company needs and then linking companies to regional and international markets. The project will also seek to develop a cadre of local export advisors through a training programme in conjunction with local business development service providers to ensure sustainability. In providing technical assistance, the programme will provide a Technical Advisor to RDB’s export department who will support formulation, implementation and coordination of policies, strategies, programs and projects that enhance Rwandan exports. The Special Economic Zone Authority of Rwanda will also be furnished with technical expertise required to effectively regulate Special Economic Zones in Rwanda. Sustainability remains critical and that is why training of young graduates in issues of trade policy and export development will be central to the programme. At least five young professionals are targeted during this phase.

The partnership signed today with RDB complements other programmes implemented by the Government of Rwanda and supported by TMEA. These include the ‘Rwanda Electronic Single Window’ implemented by Rwanda Revenue Authority, the development of an Industrial Park and Advanced Factory Units (AFUs) through the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM) and the development of transport infrastructure on Lake Kivu in partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Rwanda Transport Development Agency.

About Rwanda Development Board

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) was set up by bringing together all the government agencies responsible for the entire investor experience under one roof. This includes key agencies responsible for business registration, investment promotion, environmental clearances, privatization and specialist agencies which support the priority sectors of ICT and tourism as well as SMEs and human capacity development in the private sector. For more information, please visit

About TradeMark East Africa

TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) is an aid-for-trade organisation that was established with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade. TMEA operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, UK, and USA. TMEA works closely with East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations. TMEA seeks to increase trade by unlocking economic potential through Reduced barriers to trade; and Improving business competitiveness. Increased trade contributes to stronger economic growth, a reduction in poverty and subsequently greater prosperity. TMEA has its headquarters in Nairobi with programmes in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda. To find out more, please visit the TMEA website at

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