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Rwanda conference focuses on sustainable packaging

In Central-East Africa, Rwanda's capital city of Kigali hosted a June 3-4 international conference titled "Sustainable Packaging for Competitiveness and Development on SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) in EAC (East African Community) Region."

East Afripack 2014 is drawing international attention.
East Afripack 2014 is drawing international attention.


Rwanda is a luxuriant country located in Central-East Africa with a population of about 9 million and is characterized by one of the highest economic growth rates in the Sub-Saharan region: a yearly 7-8%. Ipack-Ima SpA, a leading event organizer specializing in B2B shows for processing, packaging, material handling and converting, organized the June3-4 conference in Kigali with the support of the Italian Trade Promotion Agency (ICE) and the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) and in partnership with: East African Community, UNIDO and Kenya’s Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development.

The event, presided by Prof. Claudio Peri, Professor Emeritus of the University of Milan, raised the interest of a large, attentive public. Both the organizers and partners had a double objective:

- emphasize the importance of packaging as a strategic leverage for technological upgrade and increased competitiveness of local SMEs; in this connection, a dedicated paper will be presented at the CAMI conference, which this week (June 10-14, 2013) will gather the Ministers of Industrialization from across the continent in Nairobi;

- promote East Afripack 2014, the first exhibition showcasing the global state of the art of processing, packaging and converting technology scheduled for September 9-12 in Nairobi.

The issue of technology and competitiveness of the local entrepreneurial tissue is of great current interest in East Africa. On June 1st the newly elected President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta declared: “With respect to value addition, we want to see more cooperatives venture not only into value addition, but also Packaging, Branding and Marketing of highly quality products…”.

The Kigali conference is just one more step in the path leading up to East Afripack 2014, which also includes roadshows and presentations across the region with the goal of of uniting and building awareness among the local business community on the issues connected to processing and packaging technology and promote the 2014 event. 

In this connection, in order to better understand the innovation drivers and needs of the local industry, Ipack-Ima SpA has commissioned UNIDO to perform a market research involving the most significant industries (both food and non-food) across the entire East Africa region: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda. The most significant evidence emerging from the study shows that:

- 63% of interviewees intend to plan technology investment in the next 3 years to expand their manufacturing activities;

- 78% plan to update their processing and packaging machinery in the next 3 years;

- 70% believe that a better packaging technology improves their products’ image and branding.

In 2000 The Economist dedicated the cover to the African continent with a headline that read “The hopeless Continent;” after 11 years, The Economist changed the title into “Africa Rising.”

According to estimates by UNIDO, in the last decade 6 out of 10 emerging economies enjoying the highest growth rates have been located in Africa. In 2012 IMF estimated Africa’s economic growth at nearly 6%, the same as Asia’s. Emerging industries include: finance, distribution; agro-food; transport and telecommunications. Both data and forecasts bode very well for East Afripack 2014.


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