The Government of Rwanda, through the Rwanda Development Board, is hosting WEDF 2014 in Kigali. Rwanda, an excellent gateway for doing business in the East African region and beyond, is an emerging services and outsourcing hub. It has been ranked by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitive Index Report 2013–2014 as the most competitive country in East Africa and the third on the entire African continent.
The theme of WEDF 2014, ‘SMEs: Creating jobs through trade,’ reflects the importance that ITC and its partners attach to the role of a vibrant private sector in driving trade-led growth and development. The urgent need to create employment opportunities, in particular for youth, will be at the core of the discussions between global thinkers and practitioners from the public and private sectors. They will explore the necessary policy and support measures required to enable SMEs to realize their potential as growth and employment drivers. The task for governments, trade support institutions, trade and investment promotion authorities, multinationals and the international development community is to unlock SMEs’ potential by investing in building productive capacity, improving skills and supporting access to capital and finance. SME competitiveness is a key factor in determining a country’s overall competitiveness and its ability to respond to international market demand.
WEDF 2014 explores how SMEs can become and remain competitive by addressing issues that impact their entrepreneurial capacity and operating environment. Developments in trade facilitation, regional integration, South-South cooperation and trade in services will be examined.
In the main sessions, high-level speakers and participants working in complex and dynamic environments share best practices to address the challenges faced by developing countries and economies in transition, and propose solutions based on the principles of partnership, inclusiveness and sustainability.
See the full programme.
WEDF 2014 includes a strong business-to-business dimension with the participation of a large number of exporters and importers from the region.
See more on our networking page.
The Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF), held in parallel with WEDF, connects high-growth women-owned companies to buyers and investors to do business. WVEF provides an avenue through which corporations can operationalise commitments to build sustainable and inclusive supply chains. Through a rigorous selection and matching process, up to 150 women-owned companies have been selected to attend the event during which they participate in facilitated bilateral business-to-business meetings. WVEF 2014 focuses on the coffee and services sectors.
See more information on our WVEF page.
If you are interested in learning more about WEDF, please contact us at wedf[at]intracen.org