Rwanda to host the World Export Development Forum
3 September 2014
The Government of Rwanda through the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) will host the World Export Development Forum 2014 from the 15 to 17 September in Kigali. This is the first time that the International Trade Centre (ITC), which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, brings its flagship event to Africa.
More than 500 representatives of government, the private sector and trade support institutions will contribute to the global debate on achieving inclusive, sustainable development through entrepreneurship, employment and economic growth. The urgent need to create trade and employment opportunities by increasing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be at the core of the discussions.
The plenary sessions will focus on topics such as unlocking SME competitiveness by creating an enabling business environment; boosting SME participation in international trade through trade facilitation and regional integration; capitalising on South-South trade opportunities and attracting investments; tapping trade opportunities for SMEs in tourism; and buying goods and services from women-owned businesses.
This year, WEDF will be held in conjunction with the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF), which matches women in business with international buyers.
WEDF parallel sessions will focus on impact investing, electronic solutions for SME export growth, sustainability standards, branding and marketing, business incubators in developing countries and the expansion of trade in services.
SMEs serve as the backbone of the economies of developing countries, where populations are predicted to increase by 400 million within the next decade, and SMEs can contribute to two-thirds of employment opportunities. Their role is particularly important in least developed countries, where they account for 80% of jobs across all economic groups, including marginalised groups such as women and youth.
WEDF this year will include a strong business-to-business dimension with the participation of a large number of exporters and importers from Rwanda, East Africa and the entire continent
Delegates will also have the opportunity to visit the Kigali Special Economic Zone and the main plant of Inyange Industries, a leading food processing company in Rwanda, during the morning of 18 September. The Kigali Special Economic Zone (KSEZ), a geographically specified and physically secured area, offers specific incentives including more liberal and simplified economic regulations for businesses to physically locate and operate within one industrial zone.
WEDF provides an issue-focused setting for policymakers, trade support institutions and business leaders to gain practical understanding in trade competitiveness. It also provides unparalleled opportunities for business operators to network and meet with potential partners. Organised by the International Trade Centre (ITC), the only United Nations organisation with an exclusive focus on assisting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to internationalise, WEDF is dedicated to the development of SMEs.
SMEs are the backbone of the global economy, especially in developing countries, where they contribute two-thirds of employment. Their role is even more important in least developed countries, where they account for 80% of jobs and are key to inclusive growth. Increased participation of SMEs in regional and global trade leads to improved livelihoods for a large segment of the population, including for women and youth. SMEs’ contribution to job creation in developing countries is thus essential. They will be a key source of employment as 500 million men and women enter the global labour market by 2030. Given their role in providing decent employment, supporting economic growth and reducing poverty, SMEs must play a central part in the global development framework.