RwandAir, the national carrier, and Equity Bank also received Best Exhibitor Overall Awards as the first and second runners-up respectively.
During the official closing ceremony held Tuesday at Intare Conference Arena in Rusororo, Gasabo District, Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF) recognised other 10 exhibitors as the best in their respective areas of business.
The 10 are Isubyo House of Arts in arts and craft category, Next Page in innovation, Byiza Vuba Construction as best young entrepreneur, Continuity Group in ICT, Entreprise Urwibutso Nyirangarama in agro-processing, Ameki Color in manufacturing, Ecobank in banking and Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) in insurance.
BPR Atlas Mara was recognised as best customer care provider while Egypt took the Best Foreign Exhibitor Award.
The Expo 2018 closing coincided with the Golden Night usually known as the Golden Gala Dinner to appreciate the best investors under the ultimate business network.
Eight investors in different categories received the Golden Circle Awards of Excellence. They include Rwanda’s brewery company, Bralirwa as winner of social impact award and MTN Rwanda for promoting digital economy.
Egide Gatera was recognised as the best investor overall, Hope Mpangare of Esperanza as best female investor, Ziah Murekatete as best young investor, Teklay Company as best retail outlet, André Bitwayiki for business promotion while Donatha Mukanyarwaya was awarded for environment protection in her business.
At the ceremony, Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente committed the government to further supporting the private sector to make it the leader of the country’s economy as it is in the Government’s seven-year transformation programme running until 2024.
“We promise, as the government, that through our usual collaboration with PSF, we shall call you to discuss issues you have raised and find solutions. We highly appreciate your contribution in creating jobs, promoting investment and the country’s development in general,” he said.
“We are committed to developing Made in Rwanda as we increase exports by 12% every year, increase tourism revenues to $800 million by 2024. We shall continue to lower electricity prices, construct roads and more infrastructures to support investment.”
Tourism revenues stood at $404 million in 2016 and the 2017 figures are yet to be released.
The Premier thanked exhibitors at Expo 2018 especially winners of exhibitors’ awards of excellence and urged private sector to improve the quantity and quality of their production.
The PSF Chairman Robert Bapfakurera appreciated the government’s exemption of taxes on many imported materials that local factories are using on a daily basis but said it is not clear how locally produced goods are taxed while their similar imports are not, adding that the discrimination against local products is hampering the promotion of ‘Made in Rwanda’ initiative.
He said the Expo 2018 was a success with 89% of the 450 exhibitors commending its organisation while 97% visitors liked the products showcased.
Expo 2018 took place at the Gikondo Expo Ground in Kigali from July 26 to August 15 and attracted exhibitors from 23 countries from all the world’s continents.