WEDF to put focus on SME growth potential in mobile technology, traditional sectors
Participants at the World Export Development Forum (WEDF), which will be held in Kigali, Rwanda, will have the opportunity to hear expert views from entrepreneurs, policymakers and representatives of trade support institutions on how both new technology and traditional sectors can help promote growth.
Among the confirmed speakers at the event is Ashish J. Thakkar, Founder of Mara Group, which has activities ranging from real estate and tourism to financial services, information and communications technology, renewable energy and manufacturing. The company operates in 18 African countries and has a foundation to support emerging African entrepreneurs.
Among those with success stories to tell are Maurice Kagame, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pivot Access, a Rwandan company that helps people to pay their electricity bills online and through their mobile phones. The company is now launching a new service that allows patrons to provide real-time feedback on service at restaurants, hotels and transport companies. There is also Yves Eonnet, CEO of the mobile-payment provider Tagattitude, which operates in more than 30 countries, and Josiah Mugambi, Executive Director of IHUB Kenya, a technology innovation community for investors and technology companies.
Linda Kwamboka, co-founder of the software company M-Farm, is also scheduled to speak at WEDF. M-Farm’s mission is to turn the subsistence-based model of farming to agribusiness by providing farmers with price information via text messages and mobile web to allow them to make better-informed business decisions.
Building on traditional sectors There will also be speakers representing traditional sectors with strong potential for growth, including Amadou Diallo, CEO of DHL Freight, the international express delivery system, as well as Gilbert Gatali, Managing Director of KZ Noir, the first coffee company in Rwanda to be certified by the Rainforest Alliance. And then there is Janet Nkubana, Managing Director of Gahaya Links, a company that works to train rural women and offer them small shops to sell hand-woven baskets to earn an income. The company has a network of more than 4,000 weavers in Rwanda, and exports account for 95% of its sales.
Bringing the international perspective Speakers at WEDF will also come from international organizations, including Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization; Anabel González, Senior Trade and Competitiveness Director at the World Bank; Márcio Favilla Lucca de Paula, Executive Director for Operational Programmes and Institutional Relations at the World Tourism Organization; and Aeneas C. Chuma, Regional Director for Africa at the International Labour Organization.
Among the many high-ranking ministry officials speaking at the event are François Kanimba, the Rwandan Minister of Trade and Industry; Phyllis Kandie, the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism of Kenya; and Humberto Santos de Brito, the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Energy of Cape Verde.
Representatives of trade support institutions who will speak at WEDF include Mulu Solomon, the Honorary President of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations; Richard Sezibera, Secretary-General of the East African Community; and Bandula Egodage, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board.
Visit the WEDF speakers page for more information about these speakers and others.