Rwanda public sector officials learn new skills in B2B generation

23 July 2014
ITC News

Rwandan government officials and Trade Support Institutions Staff from public and private sectors learned new techniques on organising business-to-business (B2B) meetings at a workshop organised by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in Kigali from 17-18 July 2014. Fifteen officials from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Rwanda Development Board, National Agricultural Export Development Board, Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion and Private Sector Federation participated in the workshop.

They were offered tips on the critical need to be familiar with international trade issues and to examine trade flows of various sectors to identify supply and demand of products and services with a potential to generate new trade and investment. This will be a vital component in planning the B2B networking event to provide a targeted platform for importers and exporters to conduct one-to-one consultations to explore business opportunities on product-specific, enterprise-specific or region-specific sectors. Participants were also advised on the importance of identifying trading partner organisations to be involved in the organization of the B2B meeting. The importance of company visits was also emphasised to provide potential business partners an impression of the scale of operations of various enterprises and their production capacities.

‘We shared with the participants the importance of undertaking an evaluation of the B2B meetings to better understand if the meetings had met the objectives of the participating business people in terms of effectiveness, as well as the benefits of conducting follow-up surveys to measure results quantitatively and qualitatively,’ said Mr Rob Kohlmann, one of the workshop instructors.

‘It would be useful to know the amount of business generated, the new markets entered, new products exported or imported, and employment generated,’ he added. ‘Through the survey, we can find out how companies are able to apply whatever they have learnt from the B2B meetings, and what the obstacles are when they were not in a position to close a business deal.’

Mr Kohlmann explained that the B2B meeting should be market-driven with careful selection of enterprises, and effective and efficient use of resources, both human and financial.

‘The B2B meeting is in itself not the end of the effort , because many participating SMEs and TSI may face new challenges in an ever changing and dynamic market,’ said Mr Kohlmann.

ITC’s Senior Programme Officer for Institutional Networks and Business Generation, Imamo Ben Mohamed Imamo, shared his perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in promoting intra-and inter-regional trade in developing countries. He told participants that a clear understanding of regional trade agreements by the private sector will enable them to capitalise on business opportunities in various countries and sectors. He added that access to business development services provided by trade support institutions and regional economic communities by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be advantageous.

‘To generate business partnerships, it is crucial to understand the interests and trade complementarities of enterprises’ said Mr Mohamed Imamo. ‘One has to identify key enterprises producing, exporting and importing products under consideration and that these are covered by the B2B meeting. You also need to identify and address obstacles to exports faced by SMEs, and assess the potential to increase supply capacity and investment opportunities for infrastructure and product development to enhance access to the supply chain.’