By Elias Hakizimana.
Hon ambassador Fatuma Ndangiza, the Chairperson of the committee on legal rules and privileges at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has urged Rwandan youth in agribusiness to do their best and successfully compete at the regional and international markets.
While sharing them with opportunities to explore for the wide market, Ndangiza said the single tourist visa that is useful for the northern corridor countries; Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya serves as a great role in easing cross-border trade.
“East Africa is a big market of about 170 million people and it holds opportunities for Rwanda and east Africa’s youth. Rwanda is lucky to have youth who ventured in agro-processing to add value to agriculture produce and it is in line with made in Rwanda programme. what we want is to have factories working in EAC starting from our country, Rwanda,” she noted.
She said that they have to use available opportunities and be competitive on the market as Rwanda looks to become a knowledge and ICT-based economy country.
Another opportunity she revealed is that for traders with products less than $2,000 are tax-exonerated in EAC countries.
She urged youth to think of a wide market and always strive for quality products with safety standards.
However, youth say it is still a challenging issue to access to regional and international markets as they lack standards which they say are difficult to obtain.
Viateur Nyiribakwe,26, a student in year four at University of Tourism Technology and Business Studies (UTB) is an entrepreneur in beading arts.
He fails to expose his products on markets because of lacking the standard mark offered by Rwanda Standards Board (RSB).
“The challenges we face include the requirement of expensive qualifications and the S-mark itself is expense besides its long process. We sometimes get bored because the cost of S-mark is higher than the start-up investment.
I am used to giving my products to someone who has S-mark to sell them during exhibitions and we share percentages, but it can be better when I go there myself as I can expand the market network,” he said.
He requests the government to set up mechanisms that facilitate youth to easily get standardization mark. He has been working in beating arts since three years ago.
“We used to import raw materials from Uganda but now taxes are higher. I am planning to join the Alibaba-entrepreneurship to facilitate me in importation.” He said.
For Regis Umugiraneza, CARL Group CEO and RYAF staff, the s-masrk is no longer expensive as youth have joined zamukanubuziranrnge programme.
“Youth have been saying that it is expensive but it is an old story today. There is an opportunity to have 50 percent support in RDB and pay another 50 percent. RSB also set facilitating requirements of standards that are not expensive as before. Today they give us free advice without much money,” he said.
The s-mark is less than Rwf1million according to sources.
“It is not difficult to comply with standards when you start with ‘Zamukanubuziranenge programme’. We are partnering with the ministry of youth to first explain what safety standards are,” he noted.
He advises entrepreneurs to have tested all samples of their products at once because taking one by one today and tomorrow is the fact that the process becomes expensive.
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