Quality challenges hinder competitiveness of local goods

Sunday December 06 2020

A clothing stand in Kigali at the Made In Rwanda Expo that attracted over 400 exhibitors in 2019. PHOTO| Christophe Hitayezu


The government has been urged to map and build an industrial ecosystem, which will avail raw materials to support "made in Rwanda" drive.

Factors linked to a weak industrial infrastructure have been hindering the country's dream of promoting local brands under "made in Rwanda" drive.

According to Dennis Ndemezo, deputy managing director of C&D Pink Mango, a local textile industry that has employed over 1,600 workers, Made in Rwanda products still struggling for acceptance in local market.

“We encourage traders to come and give orders of what they want to buy, if the one come and order 10 pieces, of course the cost is not the same as the other who give an order of 30,000 pieces,” Mr Ndemezo told Rwanda Today.

“People misrepresent, there are people reluctant to understand Made in Rwanda products, that they must be of poor quality, it’s not true! We’re now exporting to Europe and they are satisfied with the quality. Since June last year, we have exported products worth $6.5 million” said Mr Ndemezo.

The findings of the report of the Standing Committee on Economy and Trade, revealed that revealed that the ‘ "made in Rwanda" policy has not met expectations.


“Main objectives of "made in Rwanda" policy, introduced in 2017, was to reduce the cost of production, improve quantity of locally-made products as well as mindset change,” said Théogène Munyangeyo, chairperson of the committee.

“It was explained that the low quantity available on the market is the cause for heightening the cost.”

However, low production capacity and marketing strategies among other factors are still pushing consumers to buy foreign brands.

“If a factory produces Jeans pants for a market of one billion people for example, it’s different for another one producing for one million. The bigger the market, the easier to cover fixed costs,” said Teddy Kaberuka, economist.

“If you make shirts, it will require you to go to China to buy semi-final products, the value to add is just sewing. But in China, the maker of the shirt will get semi-final products in just a few meters,” Teddy Kaberuka told Rwanda Today.

“The government needs to map and build an industrial ecosystem to avail raw materials, protect local products by imposing taxes to imported ones as well as low interest rate and long-term loans to investors would help”, said Teddy Kaberuka.