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Manufacturing and Infrastructure Development in Africa | Mainstage

programming partner:Rwanda Development Board Color e1635444567548 - Manufacturing and Infrastructure Development in Africa | Mainstage

H.E. Rt. Hon. édouard Ngirente, Prime Minister, Republic of Rwanda
Patience Mutesi, Country Manager, TradeMark East Africa
Clarisse Iribagiza, Founder & CEO, DMM. HeHe Limited
Yves Bernard Ningabire, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Rwanda; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Rwanda
Samir Ibrahim, Chief Executive Officer/Co-Founder, SunCulture

The Rwandan government is working toward a new mindset in manufacturing and infrastructure, said Édouard Ngirente, Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda. He explained his nation’s intention to promote innovation and improve digital access. The manufacturing sector has tremendous potential to create jobs and Rwanda is working to scale up production of medical products, including vaccines. 

Global disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was particularly acute in Africa, said Samir Ibrahim, CEO/Co-Founder of SunCulture, stressing the need for supply chain self-reliance. Patience Mutesi, Country Manager for TradeMark East Africa, agreed, highlighting Africa’s free trade area and the need for collaboration to develop cross-border change that particularly benefits women and small entrepreneurs. E-commerce, described Clarisse Iribagiza, Founder & CEO of DMM.HeHe Limited, will accelerate the dream of intra-Africa trade. Public-private partnerships can help facilitate the infrastructure necessary to get financial resources to small businesses, map and meet demand, and mutualize resources and logistics. The Rwandan government, explained Yves Bernard Ningabire from Rwanda’s Ministry of Trade & Industry, believes in a domestic market strategy that includes special economic zones for industry and manufacturing. He described that a national strategy for transformation will help Rwanda reach high-income status within a decade.

Ibrahim asked the panelists to consider what would help shift manufacturing to sub-Saharan Africa. Ningabire answered that he would focus on removing trade barriers, strengthening institutions, and establishing collaboration with the private sector, while Mutesi explained that she would invest in raw material supply, promote small scale traders, and continue to work closely with the government.

The pandemic has made clear Africa’s need for more self-reliance in strategic sectors such as manufacturing and infrastructure.

édouard Ngirente

I would invest in making sure that we have a steady supply of raw materials, because we know that there are a number of companies that fail because they cannot get a sustained supply of raw materials.

Patience Mutesi

E-commerce will simply fast track the realization of the stream of intra-Africa trade.

Clarisse Iribagiza

Our main focus is to really put in place institutions and instruments that remove all barriers to trade.

Yves Bernard Ningabire

This need to adapt and develop self-reliance was largely felt on the African continent following the disruption of global supply chains.

Samir Ibrahim

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • Improving intra-Africa trade could help develop stronger and more resilient economies throughout the continent. 
  • Public-private partnerships are necessary to develop the digital and physical infrastructure necessary to promote African manufacturing and trade.