With the help from the Italian Trade Commission Rwanda launched a Leather Community Processing Center (CPC) in Kabarore Sector, Gatsibo District in Eastern Province.
The Center currently hosts artisans’ trainings on production of Footwear and Leather products, supervised by Dr. Giorgio GADINA, Expert from the Italian Trade Commission
According to the Minister of Trade and Industry, François Kanimba, the basic idea behind setting up the CPC is to increase access to technology by a demo center and training activities
The initiative will result in growing business innovation within the country, supporting start-ups and developing existing SMEs.
He added that the Community Processing Center (CPC) is designed to provide facilities for producers at the community level to engage in value-added processing of raw materials without bearing the total cost of the machinery and technology required for the processing.
“CPCs will act as demonstration units in fostering value addition, innovation and technology transfer”, the Minister noted.
He called up on Leather artisans to take full advantage of the training offered by the Italian Coach.
Once exposed to the CPC, entrepreneurs will go back and apply a similar model in their respective businesses.
Early 2013, the Government of Rwanda and Italy signed an agreement to boost Rwanda leather industry.
Both Parties agreed to establish a technical and financial cooperation in the set-up, organization and installation of a Training and production laboratory for the footwear and leather goods industry in the Community Processing Center of Gatsibo District.
The Italian partners have already equipped this Center with 24 machines.
The agreement will mainly serve to transfer and apply advanced Italian technologies and know-how to the Rwandan local industry in terms of development of new product designs, training on new product development and other technical services and technologies in the local footwear and tannery industry.
Currently the Center is being managed by “Star Leather Company” comprised by the Business Development Fund (BDF) as a quasi-equity shareholder and the Rwandese Association for the Promotion of Leather and Leather Products (RAPROLEP).
Gatsibo District Mayor Ambroise Ruboneza said the factory employs former small scale shoe makers, cobblers and also university graduates.
The factory was established after the district authorities realized there were gifted shoe makers in the district.
Mayor Ruboneza told media that very soon Shoes with an Inscription ‘Made in Gatsibo’ will be available on the local and regional market.
“We have well trained Italian technician and designer at the Gatsibo based shoe factory. We expect high quality shoes from this factory. There is modern machinery installed at the complex located at Kabarole.”
The Government intends to establish similar Community Centers specialized in processing dairy products, banana wine,
Irish potatoes and meat through a public private partnership arrangement where the District and Cooperatives will provide land and building
The government will avail technology, equip the centers with appropriate equipment and technologies and ensure that effective management systems are in-place.
The Minister noted that, development of the leather value chain through value addition also contributes to female employment, particularly in the upstream sector of leather finishing and leather product manufacturing.
Gatsibo is one of the few districts with a high population of cattle in the country, and its strategic location between other cattle rich districts like Nyagatare and Kayonza makes it an ideal location for the hides and skins industry.