“Made in Rwanda” Price Hike affect Customer Perceptions on the Products

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Eccentric increase in prices of “Made in Rwanda” Products will continue to have a negative impact on customer perceptions of products manufactured by Rwandan factories and workshops, this website has established.

The Made in Rwanda Policy is a holistic roadmap aimed at increasing economic competitiveness by enhancing Rwanda’s domestic market through value chain development.

The Private Sector is a stakeholder in all Made in Rwanda activities, and public-private dialogue frameworks are explicitly strengthened.

However individuals involved in the production of Made in Rwanda including customers have mixed feelings about the products while at the same time the unfavorable prices lead to low purchasing of locally made products.

It was on Monday when our reporter traveled in Kigali where he met various group of people who sells locally made products known as “Made in Rwanda” countrywide.

It was really unclear whether there is an institution which regulates prices of made in Rwanda products.

An example of exaggerated price was noticed at Kigali Car Free Zone where Groups of people were showcasing their locally made products a big number of them are cloths and other handcrafts products.

To be clear, the price for a Medium Shirt for Men made in Kitenge stands at 28,000Rwf about $30 U.S Dollars.

To have enough information about the “Made in Rwanda” Products pricing, our Journalist interviewed a tailor in the city of Kigali and explains to him that “A loincloth of Kitenge costs 15,000Frw. When you want us to make shirts for you you can have at least four shirts from the whole garment. One Shirt costs at least Rwf 5,000 in addition to 15,000Rwf for the loincloth.”

Also Interviewed are customers. One from Gasabo District said “Me, I fear to even ask price because I know I can’t afford the cost. They are not reasonable to small customers like me.”

On the Next Day on Wednesday, the Journalist went to Amahoro Stadium where the Gasabo District in collaboration with the District’s Development Taskforce organized an exhibition where individuals, Private Sector and District partners showcased their locally made Products which are part of Made in Rwanda Products.

With the small observation, a big number of people involved in Made in Rwanda are Women, girls and a number young boys in wood industry.

One Mukabagenzi Adrienne, a tailor in Kinyinya Sector of Gasabo District said “I make clothes while using filaments materials. I make shirts, clothes for children and adults, so I can do all the fashions. Even if we do all this we have a customer problem. All know that our prices are up, but it’s not a reality.”

“Here for example, we sell a Kitenge Shirt at 8,000Frw (about $ 9 U.S Dollars). When you see our products and compare with price, really our prices are not threatening as most of customers say”. Mukabagenzi added.

Another Delphine Nyinawumuntu also involved in selling “Made in Rwanda” Products said “The people perception on Made in Rwanda is still low. Some had no information about the real prices on the market. Our products are good. People should start changing their beliefs on locally made products.”

As observation on Made in Rwanda, they are some vendors who hikes the Prices and the later threaten customers thus looking for Caguwa always. Others are not even aware of the quality of Made in Rwanda products and their perceptions are based on inaccurate information among other challenges.

In an Interview with Andre Mutsindashyaka, the President of Joint Action Development Forum (JADF) in Gasabo District said that challenges facing “Made in Rwanda” are known and people always work together especially Private Sector to look for a mutual response to such challenges.

“The reason why we do these exhibition is to give opportunity to customers to come and get enough and accurate information on the Ground. Our partners also takes this opportunity to exhibit their best practices.” Mutsindashyaka said.

The Private Sector in Gasabo District contribute 50% of total annual budget of the District.

The District has also a big number of Industries, Manufacturing factories as well as a big number of Handcrafts Workshops.

Rwanda’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce carried out two surveys in December 2016 with the sole purpose of measuring the success of the Made in Rwanda Campaign and to inform this policy.

This first survey targeted consumers to assess whether the campaign influences their perceptions towards locally made products.

The majority of the people surveyed fell into the 21-30 years old age bracket. Those surveyed were nearly evenly split between men and women (79:70).  Of these, the vast majority were Rwandan (97%) and residents of Kigali (86%). The survey discovered a number of key findings that have directly influenced the Made in Rwanda policy.

The Made in Rwanda Campaign has been successful in changing consumers’ perceptions towards locally made goods however, there were strong calls for the MIR Expos to be extended to the district level and for increased awareness, communications and marketing campaigns to be carried out across the country. Indeed, this was the number one recommendation from consumers – to expand the MIR Campaign to continue to educate people about the benefits of buying locally.