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Second E-Commerce Public-Private Dialogue Convened, June 11, 2020

Hon. Minister Soraya Hakuziyaremye convened the second E-commerce Public Private Dialogue that aims at opening up new opportunities for technology companies to better understand the need for the digital trade and develop solutions to drive the sector’s growth, especially the SMEs. The dialogue is jointly organized by Ministry of Trade and Industry in partnership with ICT Chamber.

In her opening remarks, Minister Soraya reiterated that, the growth of e-commerce is a unique opportunity to open access to international and local markets for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As such e-commerce holds a key role as an enabler boosting SMEs capacity to export; it is also an ingredient that we must leverage on to strengthen private sector’s contribution to the national growth.

She further cautioned the E-commerce players that “as more consumers globally switch to buying online, it will be critical for Rwandan companies to improve their online capabilities to be able to rapidly respond to changing consumer preferences”.

Some of the challenges highlighted by E-commerce players

Lack of trust and limited skills holding back E-commerce advancements: Rwanda’s Small and Medium Entrepreneurs have cited challenges in the pick-up of electronic-commerce ventures. Clients are accustomed to physically purchasing products, which includes closer inspection of goods which e-commerce outlets do not provide.

Entrepreneurs still lack skills in technology- Small and Medium Enterprises have to be the first people to understand how the platforms work and finally the customers will become accustomed to using the model; The inability to offer international customers fast and effective shipping at reasonable prices is a competitive handicap for small firms aiming to sell on international marketplaces;

Delays in payments- Whereas local products are widely available on online platform as well the shipping system, delays in the payment system, which holds the seller’s money for two to three weeks derails the country’s efforts to digitise the economy; There is a general low awareness levels for e-commerce Value Chain as well as online purchase websites in Rwanda thus, impacting on the usage levels.

The Minister assured the e-commerce actors that both government and private sector are keen to see e-commerce development in Rwanda and will work together tackle these identified challenges.

The Government of Rwanda aims at establishing a dynamic digital ecosystem focused on driving new competitive digital products and services across trade, industry and commerce supported by various proactive rules and regulations that are flexible and adaptable to new emerging trends in industrial development, export management and international supply chain management.

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