Kigali – 10th February, 2014
Although the total number of Rwandan exporters has grown from under 500 in 2008 to over 1,400 in 2013 there are still only 65 companies exporters exporting above $1 million annually. According to RRA statistics, these companies accounted for 88% of Rwanda’s exports in 2013 while the 1,258 firms exporting less than $100,000 accounted for only 3% of exports.

With EDPRS 2 (Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy) export growth targeting an average annual growth rate at an ambitious 28%, the need to increase the number of large exporters is clear.

With this objective in mind, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in collaboration with TradeMark Africa ( TMA ) today initiated the Export Development Programme (EDP).

The programme aims to help exporters grow through provision of a combination of coaching, advice and international market research to identify new clients. The programme also aims to develop a number of Rwandan export advisers who will be able to provide ongoing support to companies once the programme ends in 2015. The programme is being implemented by the Irish NGO, TraidLinks.

TradeMark Africa (TMA) Rwanda country director Mark Priestley and Rwanda Development Board(RDB) CEO Amb. Valentine Rugwabiza exchange MOUs for the export development program in Rwanda

At the signing ceremony, presided by RDB CEO Amb. Valentine Rugwabiza with the attendance of TradeMark Africa (TMA) Country Director Mark Priestley and TraidLinks Project Manager, Bernard O’Connell and a number of participating companies and export adviser trainees, an MOU was signed to confirm the collaboration between the three organisations.

In her remarks Amb. Rugwabiza thanked TradeMark Africa for its support and noted that the EDP is a high priority for the Government of Rwanda. “I encourage any company thinking of exporting or planning to expand, to contact RDB and consider participating in this exciting programme” she said.

Mark Priestley said that TradeMark Africa is delighted to provide funding support for this programme and praised RDB for its enthusiasm in supporting the initiative. Mr Priestley said “ For landlocked countries such as Rwanda, exporters face a special range of challenges that TradeMark Africa (TMA) is anxious to support the Government to address. The Export Development Programme provides us with an excellent opportunity to help Rwanda achieve its export targets in the coming years.”
“12 companies have already signed up to the programme but we have room for another 20” said Bernard O’Connell.

Note on the Export Development Programme

This program has three components:


The Export Adviser Initiative (EAI)

This takes suitably qualified candidates from the private sector and business services organizations and puts them through training and mentoring programme that will enable them to assist exporters to develop and implement export business plans.


The Export Capacity Programme (ECP)

The programme provides technical assistance to new and existing exporters to help them to exploit export market opportunities in the EAC.


The Market Linked Programme (MLP)

Will place help Rwandan companies contact and promote their products to selected importers in the target market by arranging individually tailored sales trips followed by advice and coaching to follow up sales leads generated.


TradeMark Africa (TMA) is an aid-for-trade organisation that was established with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade. TradeMark Africa (TMA) operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, UK, and USA. TradeMark Africa (TMA) works closely with East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations.