She Trades Initiative, a flagship of the International Trade Centre (ITC) recently hosted business-to-business meetings as well as training workshops targeting tourism sector players in Kigali under the project “East Africa: Empowering Women in Trade”
Approximately thirty women attended and participated in the laudable platform for two days where trainings, presentations and experiences were shared.
During the meeting women entrepreneurs had the opportunity to meet with international buyers. They also gained knowledge on how to identify target markets, prepare for promotional events and pitch to clients and how to conduct effective contract negotiations.
Also women entrepreneurs were exposed to skills on how they can tap into business opportunities in Rwanda and the region.
During her opening remarks Diane Sayinzoga, the Head of Special Economic Zones and Export at Rwanda Development Board thanked the guests in the forum for their concerted efforts and determination to contribute towards the development of the tourism sector locally, regionally and internationally.
“This forum is very beneficial to Rwanda’s tourism industry and our stakeholders as we seek to expand and transform our tourism market into the ultimate luxe leisure and MICE destination. The event is therefore quite timely and from the discussions that will be shared here we hope that women entrepreneurs will be more empowered to increase the value of their enterprises and boost the Rwandan economy,” she said.
“We are glad that the Government of Rwanda has shown commitment in gender equality as the top of the country’s development agenda and as a result we are seeing more women owned businesses in tourism. This forum is fundamental in training women to tap into the high- end market, whose expectations and needs are equally high.” Ms. Carol Namatovu, the Vice Chair Rwanda Tours and Travel Association has said
The project East Africa, Empowering Women in Trade aims to enable women owned SMEs working in selected sectors in East Africa to trade by increasing the value of their international business transactions, thus contributing to the goal of raising incomes, creating jobs and reducing poverty.
She Trades Initiative’s goal is to connect 1 million women to markets by 2020 and plan of 7 global actions, supported by a web application. In Rwanda specifically, the programme aims to link 5,000 women in Rwanda by 2020.
In Rwanda, tourism contributes to 4.6% to GDP and 30% of the country’s exports. In 2016 tourism accounted for US$404 million and as the tourism industry expands as well as the inflow of tourists increases in the country, there is potential for more growth.
Rwanda has four national parks; Nyungwe, Volcanoes, Akagera and Gishwati-Mukura including 6 volcanoes, 23 lakes and numerous rivers.
The creation of the fourth national park Gishwati-Mukura National Park in 2015, home of the endangered chimpanzee and golden monkey species; Re-instatement of the ‘Big 5’ status within Akagera National Park, and the ongoing development of an ambitious strategy to increase buffer zones to protected areas and address the current carrying capacities whilst supporting communities living adjacent to these areas are some of the milestones that Rwanda has achieved in improving its tourism export endeavours.
The training was supported by TradeMark East Africa and the International Trade Center through a partnership with the Rwanda Development Board.