Members of the business community have welcomed the announcement that Pakistan will soon be importing Rwandan tea directly instead of buying it through the Mombasa tea auction in Kenya.
This follows the announcement to Rwanda by the Pakistani High Commissioner, Amir Muhammad Khan, when he paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), Robert Bafakulera, at the PSF headquarters in Gikondo.
The meeting took place on Tuesday, August 31.
With an export volume of over 40 percent to the Asian country, Pakistan is one of Rwanda’s largest importers. The current exports are via Kenya via the Mombasa tea auction.
Amir Muhammad Khan, High Commissioner of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Rwanda, said there is potential for investment in every sector in Rwanda but will focus on importing tea.
Pakistani High Commissioner to Rwanda Amir Muhammad Khan during the meeting (Dan Nsengiyumva)
“We will be able to export tea directly from Rwanda rather than as a third destination where Pakistan sources Rwandan tea from other countries, and this will help boost trade between Rwandan tea exporters and Pakistani importers,” he said .
Speak with The new time, Roger Rwasa, General Manager of Mushubi Tea Company Ltd.
“Usually the tea we sell is auctioned in Mombasa, which reduces the profit margin, but with this direct market we can sell the tea at a stable and hopefully better price,” he said.
According to Rwasa, this will also seep through to the farmers and all those involved along the production value chain.
“Perhaps most importantly, Pakistanis can get original tea from Rwanda, because sometimes the tea is mixed in the port and in the end is of poor quality.”
He said that with the new collaboration they will be able to export branded tea directly to the market, “which will pave the way for more investors”.
Robert Bafakulera, chairman of the PSF, said this trade cooperation will be of great help to Rwandan tea exporters due to the enormous potential of the Pakistani market, which is a country of over 200 million people.
Bafakulera added that the cooperation between Rwanda and Pakistan will also benefit Rwandan importers.
“Aside from rice, the largest product we import from Pakistan, it will make it easier for Rwandan importers to import textiles, agricultural machinery and surgical instruments from Pakistan, among other things,” he added.
Strengthen trade relations with Zimbabwe
Meanwhile, Bafakulera also welcomed the Zimbabwean Ambassador to Rwanda, where they discussed various areas of trade and investment cooperation.
After the meeting, Ambassador Charity Manyeruke said they had worked with Rwanda at the government level through various signed pacts but wanted to involve the private sector to increase the flow of trade between the two countries.
“The main sector is agriculture, where we can share and share expertise on products such as soybeans, sugar and milk, among other things, where both countries can learn from each other about food processing, preservation and farming methods,” she said.
Bafakulera said the collaboration between Rwanda PSF and Zimbabwe will help create a larger market in which to supply other African countries as well as the rest of the world.
“Intra-African trade is still at a low level; In order to boost trade between African countries, we need the cooperation of different private sectors from other countries on the continent, ”he added.