Rwandan traders are increasingly turning to Turkey for its quality products, KT Press has exclusively learnt.
“Turkey has high quality products compared to Dubai and China, which have been our markets for decades,” says ldephonse Niyonsenga, a trader from Kigali.
Due to the restrictive nature of producing mashrooms in Congo Brazzaville, Niyonsenga could only get the appropriate incubation machine from Turkey.
George Gatari, who runs a hardware supply shop in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, Quincallerie Beta, imports Turkish power transformers that are on high demand in Rwanda.
Gatari says some markets produce ‘fake products’, which Rwandans are sensitive to, “but Turkey has a clean name. Their products are of European standard mostly appreciated here.”
In Turkey, Gatari was given an opportunity to assist in fabrication process of electrical equipment.
He says, “Buying something which you assisted in production is very assuring. It’s a chance we never stand in other markets.”
Other products imported from Turkey include; textile products, construction materials, medical products and electronics.
Recently there is new demand for fertilizers, irrigation machines and other agricultural machinery.
Imports have reached about $ 150M since 2012 when Turkey and Rwanda signed bilateral ties.
The signing was followed by both heads of states paying each a visit.
Eventually, Turkish Airlines, Europe’s premier airline, established a direct route to Rwanda.
Burcin Isler, the carrier’s General Manager in Kigali, says Kigali-Istanbul flights have increased to 7/week last year up from three, in May 2012.
The carrier will cut fare to $700 in 2015 from $900 to squeeze competition and maintain growing revenues.
Isler said he will resume cargo flights which he had earlier suspended due to low volumes of cargo from Rwanda.
Rwanda is yet to export much to Turkey as traders continue to seek deeper connections to the Turkish market.
Rwandan exporters say there is a niche for tropical fruits in Turkey as well as coffee, tea and other raw material products such as skins and hides.
Meanwhile, Rwanda Active Businessmen Association (Rwaba), the business umbrella for Turkish business community in Rwanda is facilitating trade links.
Rwaba has helped 13 investors, worth $360M in total to set shop in Rwanda in construction, education, mining and manufacturing subsectors.
For example, Hakan, an investor in energy, was contracted to set up a $335.1M peat extracting plant. The plant will generate 100 MW in Gisagara, Southern Rwanda.
By : Jean de la Croix Tabaro