Rwanda to Host ITC’s World Export Development Forum

healing geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>This joint announcement was made by ITC Executive Director Arancha González and Ambassador Valentine Rugwabiza, what is ed Chief Executive of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) on Tuesday in Kigali.

“2014 marks ITC’s 50th anniversary and Rwanda is the natural choice: Rwanda is a leader in business reform, cutting red tape, creating an investment-friendly climate, economically empowering women and developing its small- and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), much of what ITC stands for,” said Gonzalez.

WEDF will bring together over 400 top policy makers, business leaders, heads of trade support institutions (TSIs) and international organizations from around the world to discuss ways to achieve trade-led inclusive sustainable development through entrepreneurship, increased competitiveness of SMEs, employment and economic growth. A series of business-to-business matching events will also be held.

“Rwanda is honoured to host the first ever WEDF on the African Continent at the occasion of ITC’s 50-year celebration,” said Rugwabiza.

Due to a booming service sector, Rwanda is strategically positioning itself as a conference hub in the Great Lakes region, scooping millions of dollars in foreign exchange from visiting high profile dignitaries.


“‘SMEs are at the front and centre of all our efforts to improve the business environment. These efforts are paying off in terms of inclusive growth. WEDF provides the ideal platform for SMEs to build linkages with multinational companies, opening up regional and global opportunities and unlocking their potential,” said Rugwabiza.

At RDB headquarters on Tuesday, González and Rugwabiza signed the agreement to co-organize WEDF.

WEDF will be held in conjunction with ITC’s Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF), which matches women vendors with international buyers.

Officials said the theme of WEDF 2014, ‘SMEs: Creating jobs through trade’ reflects the importance ITC and the Government of Rwanda attach to the role of a vibrant SME sector in driving trade-led growth and development.

SMEs are the backbone of the economy in developing countries where they contribute two-thirds of employment, creating job opportunities for growing populations.

WEDF will explore ways to unlock SME potential through investments in building productive capacity, improving skills, supporting access to capital. SME competitiveness is a key factor in determining a country’s overall competitiveness and response to international market demands.

Workshops will explore opportunities for SMEs in tourism and e-solutions, while participants in parallel sessions will review the latest trends in impact investment and the use of private voluntary standards, among others.

Doing business

Rwanda has been ranked as the 3rd most competitive country for business in Africa in the World Economic Forum’s 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Index Report.

In the World Bank’s Doing Business 2014 report, Rwanda was ranked 32nd out of 189 countries for ease of doing business, up from 52nd place previously.

Officials say this has been attributed to regulatory reform, strengthened property rights and simplification of administrative processes.

ITC has provided support to Rwanda’s SME sector in several areas. It has facilitated the involvement of SME representatives in the formulation of policies on regional economic integration within the East African Community. In cooperation with RDB, ITC has improved the market analysis and research skills of several SME representatives. Topics included leveraging export opportunities to diaspora communities.

Previous WEDFs were held in Jakarta, Indonesia (2012), Istanbul, Turkey (2011) and Chongqing, China (2010).

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