Several firms are using the “Made in Rwanda” logo despite their products not meeting the set criteria and quality standards of the brand, hampering efforts to ensure mass production of high standard goods for both local and foreign markets.
According to the Rwanda Standard Board (RSB), only 64 products from 39 companies were legally granted permission to use the “Made in Rwanda” logo, most of them from agro-processing sector, yet there are more than 400 businesses exhibiting their products under the brand.
“RSB established the procedure for granting the Made in Rwanda logo. The pilot phase of the track and trace system was conducted in August. About 25 companies were selected and given stickers during the expo. There needs to be more collaboration with various institutions and regulators to create more awareness,” said Modeste Uwimana Rubura, the certification officer for the “Made in Rwanda” logo.
According to RSB, the “Made in Rwanda” logo is issued to goods produced or manufactured by a registered and authorised company.
The product or brand name wanting the logo has to be registered as the company’s intellectual property. Also, the product has to be in compliance with the provisions of the country’s rules of origin. Rwanda is a part of the East African Rules of Origin of 2015.
Furthermore, the product must have valid certification (a standardisation mark), where applicable, to attest to its quality and safety. In situations where the S-Mark is not applicable, the product should meet applicable standards or statutory and regulatory requirements.
Some of the business operators not in compliance with the rules blame the long process it takes to get a standardisation mark especially for startups, lack of law materials especially for textile products and lack of information. The Private Sector Federation suggests the government to reduce the procedures required to get certification.
In 2018/2019, the country’s exports increased to more than $1 billion from $688.2 million in 2015/2016. However, the trade deficit from imports increased from $1.9 billion to $2.1 billion.