Expo2016 ends as new venue is announced

The Private Sector Federation has announced a project to build a new big expo ground in Kicukiro district, which could be completed within two to three years.SF Chairman Benjamin Gasamagera, speaking after the closing ceremony of the 19th Rwanda International Trade Fair,explained that exhibitors at the Expo had complained that the current Gikondo Expo Ground has become too small to properly accommodate the number of participants.

The Trade Fair, which ran from July 27 to August 11, was attended by 419 exhibitors, among whom some 150 foreign ones from 19 countries. But it was observed that some interested companies and institutions had to be refused due to lack of space.

“The Expo helped us to connect with international business people, investors and sponsors,” said Jean Paul Kayitare, who spoke on behalf of the local exhibitors.“We learnt a lot from them about customer care.”

Yet he too highlighted the need for a bigger venue. “The expo ground we have is too small to fit all participants. So we hope, as Minicom had promised,that the construction of the new ground starts soon.”

In response, Gasamagera said that feasibility studies for the new ground are being finalized, and construction activities might start in six months.

“We are confident that the long-expected big and modern expo ground will become a reality. We had challenges to get a proper plot but now that we got it,what remains is to refine the master plan,” he said.

He added that in the meantime the Gikondo ground will be used but that PSF will examine how a bigger number of participants can be accommodated.

For Trade and Industry Minister Francois Kanimba, who officially closed the trade fair, it was nevertheless a success.

“The event showed us the state of industrial development and services in Rwanda, leading to its growth. In addition, investors and business people as well as visitors could draw lessons on how to improve their businesses and create new ones,”Kanimba remarked.

The expo focused on mobilizing Rwandans on innovation of locally made products as a strategy to reduce the trade deficit.

The Expo was visited by between 12,000 and 15,000 people per day,which increased to between 20,000 and 25,000 during the weekends.

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