Kenyan Firm Injects $15 Million Into Rwandan Macadamia

Demonstration of planting Macadamia crop

Demonstration of planting Macadamia crop

Rwandan farmers have a new money making crop, macadamia, which has high potential of improving their lives.

The crop, maturing after five years, is raw material for high end nuts, butter and ice cream.

Farm Gate East Africa (EPZ) Limited, a Kenyan company specialising in Macadamia Nuts and Cashew Nuts processing and packaging said it will invest $ 15 million in macadamia farming in Rwanda for the next ten years.

The investment includes supporting macadamia farmers to grow enough for export to USA, South Africa, Kenya and other potential markets.

The firm is also planning to build a processing plant in Rwanda, which will allow it to export finished products.

“It is a good opportunity for our farmers; the plant requires a few input and procures huge returns,” Ambassador George Bill Kayonga, the Chief Executive Officer of National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) has told KT Press.

Macadamia growers plant seeds and wait for four to five years before harvesting. Every hectare accommodates 200 trees which can be mixed with other crops.

At harvest, they sell nuts at Rwf900 per kilogram. One macadamia tree yields up to 50 kilogram per season-once every year.

“We realized Rwanda has a favorable climate for the plant,” says Mahomed Jassat, CEO for EPZ adding, “An investment climate is also favorable in Rwanda than in many African countries.”

Besides the two factors however, Farm Gate is expecting a huge profit in the next ten years. Jassat said, they hope to reap over $100 million, from their $15 million capital.

The world is relying on 45% of macadamia demand, which, according to Gatarayiha Norse Elizé, a macadamia grower, is an unlimited opportunity for Rwandan farmers.

Currently, Rwanda has about 120,000 trees on 600 hectares of macadamia whose products are exported row.

The country has started a One Million Macadamia Campaign, which intends to plant one million trees (5000 hectares) in one year, to satisfy Farm Gate demand.

The campaign was launched today in Rwabicuma sector, Nyanza district in Southern Rwanda, where 1000 trees were planted on five hectares.

Rwabicuma, with potential 500 hectares for macadamia, has a chance to host a processing plant, according to Francois Muhinzi, in charge of crops in NAEB.

Rwanda encourages farmers across the country to consolidate their land to grow macadamia intensively.

Trees will be distributed free of charge by government through districts to registered cooperatives. An individual can only be given trees if they grow at least one hectare of macadamia.

A display of various products made from macadamia nuts

A display of various products made from macadamia nuts

Rwanda macadamia nuts packaged and ready for consumption

Rwanda macadamia nuts packaged and ready for consumption

Source: KT Press

Business lessons from mega-entrepreneur Chando Lydia Lauryn

Business lessons from mega-entrepreneur Chando Lydia Lauryn

Chando and her cakes.

Ever wondered how the brightest start-ups and small businesses in Rwanda have been able to take their business idea and make it a success? It’s all well and good having a great idea, but how can you bring it to fruition?

According to Chando Lydia Lauryn, managing Director of Yummy cakes while speaking to young entrepreneurs in Kigali on Wednesday said that most people venturing into private enterprise believe that money determines the success of the business as you start, “this is wrong” she cried out.

“What will make you succeed as a business person is not the money but that great idea, it is what the business is all about,” said Chando.

Like other entrepreneurs, Chando have made it –she says that money will further supplement the good idea an entrepreneur has implying that the best entrepreneurship will start with a best business idea.

“My passion was into bakery and I always believed I can make a cake that can add meaning to a celebration,”

“I started making small cakes just for my friends from home and my quality attracted them and I started receiving calls for demand. This is when I know my idea works out,” Chando who started two years ago said.

With new addictives like creamy sugar balls around the cake and designs well molded around the cake depending on the customer’s choice, Yummy cakes now slowly take a big toll on the market.

Experts too believe that the challenge of lack of innovative business ideas that would be generated into   profitable businesses is affecting entrepreneurs, which has seen startups dying during their infant stages.

“Coaching and mentoring is important to help entrepreneurs…….,” said Maia Gedde, country Director of Spark Rwanda, a not for profit organization igniting entrepreneurship.

Nevertheless, the government through the Business Development Fund-BDF has set up guarantee funds of up to 75 percent to help financial institutions to lend startups with no collateral, another step to increase access to credit in the country.

Three young entrepreneurs win DOT business competition

Clarrissa Murekatete being handed her Rwf2.5 million dummy cheque after becoming the first in the DOT Rwanda business competitions.

Clarrissa Murekatete being handed her Rwf2.5 million dummy cheque after becoming the first in the DOT Rwanda business competitions.

But although starting required capital and dedication which at her age required a lot of saving, Clarrissa Murekatete, didn’t not give up but rather start with the little she had to make her dream come true.

And these ambitions saw her smile as she bagged Rwf2.5 million during a grand finale of the business project competitions that also saw six projects competing for top three cash prizes.

“This is another shot to expand my business so that I can produce more to meet the demand,” said the 22 year old entrepreneur who makes cookies and pastries from sweet potatoes.

Murekatete says that the challenge she has been facing like other young entrepreneurs is enough capital to purchase equipment that would ease processing as well as improve the quality of products.

“I have been producing using manual methods, but now with this money I will be able to buy machines to help me in processing,” the jolly Murekatete noted.

Other winners included, Amani Twagirayezu who became second with his children’s food  processing business from fish who received Rwf2 million while Clementine Mushimiyimana who rears Japanese quail became third taking home Rwf1.5m.

The competitions organized by DOT Rwanda in partnership with Rwanda Development Board and several stakeholders saw 16,000 young entrepreneurs from 15 districts pitch their business projects.

Rosemary Mbabazi, permanent secretary in the ministry of youth and ICT urged youth to have   financial discipline in order to make their dreams come true through setting up their own businesses.

“So you have to have discipline with money and don’t rush to become rich in a short time,” she said.

The competition according to Violet Uwamutara, country director for DOT Rwanda is aligned with the government initiatives aimed at promoting job creation and entrepreneurship.

Experts call for problem based education to bolster entrepreneurship

In a bid to bolster entrepreneurship seen as an engine towards job creation, experts say there is need to shift to problem based education from the current academic based learning.

Chando Lydia Lauryn of Yummy cakes explaining to customers how she makes her cakes during the entrepreneurial conference in Kigali on Thursday.

Chando Lydia Lauryn of Yummy cakes explaining to customers how she makes her cakes during the entrepreneurial conference in Kigali on Thursday.

This comes at the time when several graduates from higher learning institutions who are not absorbed into the job market end up unemployed despite having acquired the needed credentials.

These experts says as a result of the academic based education provided in the universities today cannot help students to be entrepreneurs and set up their own jobs.

“Education at the university is quite academic. There is need to shift from academic based education to problem solving based education,” said Maia Gedde, country director for Spark    in Rwanda.

Gedde while speaking during an entrepreneurial conference that brought together university leaders, students and policy makers in Kigali on Thursday said problem based learning will foster students and encourage them to be job creators.

“So it is about learning how to solve the problem,” she added.

SPARK-Rwanda, an international not for profit organization develops higher education and entrepreneurship to empower young, ambitious people to lead their societies into prosperity.

“But entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone so we look for people who are good entrepreneurs who can create jobs,” she further noted.

Moreover, Prof Ashraph Sulaiman, Vice rector, academics and research at Polytechnic Institute of Byumba-IPB says there is need for acquisition of skills that would help students put into practice what they learn in schools.

“It is important for the students to know how they can use the knowledge to encounter challenges in real life,” he noted.

The conference that ran under the theme, ‘The Role of Higher Learning Institutions in Creating the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs and Job Creators: From Theory to Practice” is under the Global entrepreneurship week that   aims at promoting entrepreneurship in the country.

Rwanda bourse remains silent

Rwanda bourse remains silent

The Rwanda stock market index and all shares remained constant to close 164.37 and 132.78 respectively.

The Crystal telecom counter was quiet today and closed at Frw 105.The last trading session recorded a total turnover of Frw 2,965,000 from 31,200 shares traded in 2 deals.

Bank of Kigali counter was quite today and closed at Frw 280. The last trading session recorded a total turnover of Frw 56,000 from 200 shares traded in one deal.

While the Bralirwa counter was quiet today and closed at Frw 218. The last trading session recorded a total turnover of Frw 87,200 from 400 shares traded in one deal.

KCB counter was quiet today and closed at Frw 330. The last trading session recorded a total turnover of Frw 198,000 from 600 shares traded in one deal.

EQTY, NMG and USL counters were quiet today and last closed at Frw 334, Frw 1,200 and Frw 104 respectively.

At the end of formal trading hours, there were outstanding offers of 405,200 BK shares between Frw 278-300 and outstanding bid of 8,600 shares at Frw 265.

On Bralirwa counter, there were outstanding offers of 351,800 shares between Frw 210-240 and no bids. On CTL counter there were outstanding offers of 562,000 shares between Frw 105-114 and no bids.

Hopes For Rwanda Cooperative Bank Frustrated

Hopes For Rwanda Cooperative Bank Frustrated

Small and Medium Enterprises have to wait longer to access lower cost funds as plans to operate the much awaited Rwanda’s first cooperatives bank continue to delay.

The bank, according to the Rwanda cooperative Agency-RCA, perhaps, might begin operations early in 2016, but that is still ‘hopes’, and not an ultimate plan.

Members of Rwandan cooperatives had in May told KT Press that they didn’t expect the project to “come through” almost a year after President Paul Kagame had promised to have this bank operational.

About 4000 cooperatives with 2.5 million members across the country are coordinated by the Rwanda cooperative Agency-RCA.

They urgently need a bank from which they can borrow at lower interest rates than those of other local commercial banks.

For such a bank to be established, the investor must have about $7million (Rwf 5 billion). The Rwanda cooperative Agency had already made an initial deposit of 60% (Rwf 3billion).  They needed an experienced investor to take up 40% (Rwf 2billion).

Rwanda Cooperative Agency has a total investment capacity of over Rwf 150 billion ($216 million), but lacks expertise to run a bank.

Trade Minister, Francois Kanimba, told KT Press on May 5, 2015 that bids for a potential investor were issued late last year, but there had been no prospective investor; “We have no investor to take 40% yet,” he said then.

“The idea of a cooperative bank is still there and its establishment is set for next year,” Damien Mugabo, Director General at Rwanda cooperative Agency told KT Pressearlier today.

According to RCA, the delay was because some Saccos were still operating manual systems. They are required to implement automated systems which would enable them to work with the bank.

“Saccos should first be automated and this is what we are now doing. Once the automation is completed, we will move to establish the bank,” Mugabo says adding that; “We are already working-out a business model for the cooperative bank which is a prerequisite for its establishment.”

The bank was expected to begin at the end of 2014, but was later pushed to the first quarter of 2015. This was not possible and attracted alot of pessimism from partners.

The bank will increase  financial inclusion, but the government has advised members that the expected cooperative bank has to bring together all micro-finances and cooperatives.

This way, members of the various cooperatives will easily access credit as opposed to current establishment under the commercial banks.

The microfinance sector has 493 institutions, including 13 limited companies and 480 SACCOs of which 416 are Umurenge Saccos.

The sector plays a critical role in fostering economic development by offering financial services, particularly loans and opportunities for savings to those who can’t access or afford commercial banks.

Micro-finances and Saccos deposited Rwf50.0 billion in commercial banks as of June 2014 from Rwf 42.9 billion the same period of 2013.

Once the cooperative bank begins its operations, such huge funds will go directly to the bank and benefits its members.

But this to happen, all institutions must go digital. “A cooperative bank cannot work with Saccos that still use manual procedures,” Mugabo said.

Source: KT-Press

Spark to unveil Doing business booklet


SPARK, a not for profit organizations set to unveil the doing business booklet this week, another step towards supporting entrepreneurship and job creation in the country

Priscilla Ruzibuka, Spark employee says that the booklet will help in sharing of information within Rwanda’s entrepreneurship ecosystem as well as provide database for entrepreneurship service providers in Rwanda.

“Spark is determined to help the private sector in enhancing youth entrepreneurs and university students with entrepreneurial skills that will lead to self-employment and job creation,’ she noted on Monday.

SPARK-Rwanda develops higher education and entrepreneurship to empower young, ambitious people to lead their societies into prosperity.

The launch on Thursday, November 19 is part of the Global Entrepreneurship week that kicks off on November 16 and will see several activities geared towards promoting entrepreneurship done.

Again, the organization is also expected to carry out one-off conference offering university leaders, students and entrepreneurs which is aimed at empowering university students on tools on how to create jobs.

“The conference will offer practical support to those interested in starting up their own businesses or developing their business networks,” said Ruzibuka.

“We are excited that entrepreneurship service providers like Spark with universities during this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week and contributing to a more entrepreneurial Rwanda” – says Isabelle Byusa , the national coordinator of GEW Rwanda and the country director of IDEA for Africa.

She adds, “Our aim is to create a collaborative, local and practical week, which enables people to learn more about the wealth of support that is available to entrepreneurs in Rwanda.”

Accordingly, the Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest campaign to promote entrepreneurship and creates  a vital part of making Rwanda more entrepreneurial  thus contribute to  government’s efforts of  creating 200,000 off farm jobs annually.

Tigo focuses on digital revolution to augment sustainable change

Tigo focuses on digital revolution to augment sustainable change

Shymaa Binbrek, head of Strategy and business Evolution at Tigo International extreme left hands over dummy cheque to Zizinga Sam, of the Tigo changemakers competition2015.

Tigo Rwanda, the second operator by subscriber base says it focuses on digital revolution to usher in a digital lifestyle that will boost sustainable change in the country.

Tongai Maramba, general manager Tigo Rwanda notes that Tigo’s digital efforts will boost the    government’s ambitious plans of promoting the use of technology that will shift the economy to middle income.

“Tigo is at the forefront of creating a digital lifestyle, which includes using technology to create sustainable change in our country,” he said while speaking to this website on Friday in Kigali.

Tigo Rwanda recently announced it plans to increase more investments in data as opposed to voice in a bid to bolster technology in the country which came with the announcement of 4G mobile internet, the first in the country.

Experts say that telcos contribute a bigger part in fostering access to internet which is a major contribution towards use of technology.

Maramba notes that the operator is looking at supporting innovative ideas that   would create impact in the community and drive   change towards social economic development of the country.

To enhance this, Tigo has under its Tigo Digital changemakers competition 2015 has supported two innovative ideas from entrepreneurs that are geared towards causing change in the community by improving livelihoods.

“It is with great pleasure that once again, we get to support two more innovative digital ideas that will create impact for future generations,” he said.

The two winners   for this Tigo Digital change maker’s competition include, ZizingaSam who pitchedCartoon Home Network project, a 3D simulated animation which animates theory to help students understand difficult concepts with ease.

While, Louis Ngabonziza presented the Nyabihu Demonstration Center for the Deaf which delivers ICT skills to deaf children through an inclusive education program.

Rutsiro: Business Operators Urged to Register Entities


The administration of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is urging business operators to register their entities to ensure compliance with the Registration of Business Names Act.

This was revealed on October 16during the meeting between RDB officials and Private Sector Federation (PSF) in Rutsiro district.

During the meeting, business operators were reminded about the benefits of formalization of operations that provides greater protection and proof of ownership.

 “We came to discuss with private sector on how RDB works and encourage them to register businesses to make more profits and that of the country,”  Eusebe Muhikira, RDB Head of Export and Business Development Department.

“You are given a certificate of registration, which shows clearly who the owner of the business is,” she said.

Possession of the certificate of registration, she pointed out, helps to inspire customer confidence, while most banks require that business operators produce the document in order to open a bank account in the business’ names.

Also, businesses may only obtain certain contracts and access some loans and grants after they have registered with RDB.

Africa Mobilising $300billion To Create ‘Smart Continent’

Africa Mobilising  $300billion To Create ‘Smart Continent’

Africa needs more than $300 billion to fully invest in Information communication technologies (ICTs) to establish a smart continent, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi said during the Transform Africa summit in Kigali.

Murekezi challenged participants at the ongoing summit to work hard and apply all measures possible to raise the funds required for ICT investment in Africa in the next five years.

He said transform Africa should be based on delivery of ICT services, “We must establish a strong regulatory environment and work with the private sector to accelerate the smart Africa community.”

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is committed to lending support in ensuring the implementation of the ‘Smart Africa Agenda’, its Secretary General said on Monday.

Rwanda hosts the 2nd edition of Transform Africa summit that has attracted over 1000 companies including global giants Facebook, CISCO and Ericson.

As ITU, we continue to value the importance of technology in transforming lives. ICT will be central in the success of the SDGs… and without ICT, the 7 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be easily achieved,” Houlin Zhao said.

Much as Rwanda has registered lucrative deals in IT development through this summit, the ITU Secretary General said; “Together we have the power to transform Africa.”

Since the 1st edition that of Transform Africa Summit was hosted in Rwanda, the country has registered more than $150 million worth of investment in ICT projects over the last two years.

Francis Gatare, CEO of Rwanda Development Board charged with luring investments into the country, told the summit that Rwanda is more than ready to lend a helping hand in transforming Africa into a vibrant economy.

“We are pleased to host this 2nd edition of Transform Africa Summit 2015. Rwanda is pleased with its achievements in ICT development and we are ready to work together.”

About 850 companies are participating in Transform Africa-2015 to transform Africa through the power of ICT innovation.

For Francis Gatare, “This year’s summit will help us push the progress that has already been made through the previous transform Africa summits.”

While expectations from this year’s summit are high, ITU Secretary General noted, “This summit comes at a time when we believe we can accelerate digital Africa.

With the 3.5 billion active mobile subscribers in Africa, there is a prospect of the number to double in the next year.”

He added that ICTs have contributed enormously to humanity and will enable achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Source: KT Press


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