OCTOBER 2017 ISSUE 80
TELLING RWANDAâ€™S STORY
For Ecobank, the future is here! it's Digital
INSIDE ISSUE 80 HOPE MAGAZINE
Highlights ... The GLC 250 4MATIC is Mercedes-Benz bid for the crossover market, which are essentially vehicles built on a sedan platform but with the high-performance features of a sport utility vehicle (SUV). “It gives you the feeling of a sports car, but also the functionality and utility of an SUV,” says Roopak Gorajia, Marketing Director at ABG. But while ‘SUV’ might evoke rather large and not aesthetically pleasing, the GLC 250 4MATIC doesn’t compensate on looks or sophistication. “Curvaceous styling, active and passive safety, refinement and 4x4 capability are the reasons why Mercedes-Benz is certain you will opt for the GLC 250 4MATIC,” reads the review on the specialised website autocar.co.uk.
AKAGERA BUSINESS GROUP
20 PRESIDENTIAL MONTH
Bourbon Coffee Airtel Rwanda
COVER For Ecobank, the future is here! it's Digital
WAKA Fitness Group
Access Bank Rwanda
Akagera Business Group
Kigali Serena Hotel
Lake Kivu Serena Hotel
7 EDITORIAL Pioneering Ecobank payment system opens door to cashless economy
10 ECOBANK’S digital portfolio Provides for all Individual and Commercial needs
16 AKAGERA MOTORS The MERCEDES-BENZ GLC 250 4MATIC Luxurious, High-Tech & Raw Power
Ultimate Developers Ltd
40 41 46, 47
Herocean Enterprises Limited
Sinotruk Rwanda Limited
24 KCB BANK RWANDA launches MobiLoan for instant credit
32 MOBISOL Provides Solar Electricity to 2,965 Homes to Improve Livelihoods
25 KCB BANK RWANDA donates water tanks to Bugesera communities
34 ENGEN keeps the wheels of progress turning for Rwanda’s Economic Growth
25 KCB BANK RWANDA calls on students to adopt digital banking
42 BRD to raise more funds to Support Energy Sector
26 BRALIRWA to Support Triathlon Federation
42 RIDERS LOUNGE Pomp and Glamour as Riders Lounge officially opens in Kigali
28 AIRTEL RWANDA Launches “Bomba Packs”
BPR ATLAS MARA
38, 39, 52
Davis and Shirtliff
14 ECOBANK the future is here! it's Digital
UAP Group Rwanda
30 BPR Thanks Clients for Loyalty with Cocktail HOPE OCTOBER ISSUE 80
48 VISIONFUND transformed a forest dweller into an Urban Businesswoman
EDITORIAL HOPE ISSUE 80
Editor's word ... TEAM
Albert Ndata Allan Migadde Ben Gasore Erwin Winkler Himbana Alexandre Ishimwe Yvonne Iradukunda Anime Keith Ntagozera Manzi Joseph Mbanda Claude Mucyo Rodrigue Mutabazi Jackson Rumanzi Abraham Shema Ignace Sindayirwanya Isabelle Rebero Daniel DESIGN & LAYOUT Dani K. PUBLISHED BY
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Pioneering Ecobank payment system opens door to cashless economy
hen Ecobank launched its digital strategy earlier this year, in Rwanda and the other 30-odd African countries where it operates, the element that stood out the most was its mobile app. Among its more remarkable features are the possibility to create an account without any paperwork in just a few minutes on your phone, as well as a system to pay for goods with your smartphone which requires only a QR code printed on cardboard instead of hi-tech equipment such as PoS card-readers. This means that the system is easily deployable in areas where cash is still often the only way to pay, such as markets, small shops, and taxis (both motorcycles and cars), all the more so since Ecobank has promised that the payment system will soon be adapted for USSD codes, so that you donâ€™t need a smartphone to use it. Other commercial banks, too, are in a drive to make more and more of their services available digitally, so that people can manage their accounts wherever and whenever they want, without the need the go all the way to a banking hall. Many banks also have systems that allow customers to use their phones to buy airtime or Cashpower, or pay water and TV subscription bills.
Yet with its QR code payment system, Ecobank is a trailblazer on the road to a cashless economy, as it takes the cashless option to people who in general are less tech-savvy and do not have access to sophisticated gadgets. This is exactly where the battle for the cashless economy will be won, and before Ecobank came in, this group was only served by the telecoms and their mobile phone payment systems. So we can only hope that other banks also get on board, and that QR code payments can be developed into a universal system as it has been done with Visa or Mastercard. As the Managing Director of Ecobank Rwanda, Alice Kilonzo-Zulu, points out in her interview with Hope Magazine, this will of course require a change in mindset, and this is where the authorities can play a role. They can actively promote such cashless payment systems, for example by ensuring that in every market there are a few pioneers who adopt those systems, and can then inspire others. Or they can make cashless payment options a requirement to obtain a license for a car or motor-taxi. It is only when the masses start abandoning cash that the dream of a cashless economy can become a reality.
HOPE HOLDINGS LIMITED All rights reserved. The opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the editors and publishers of Hope Magazine.
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Care is taken to ensure accuracy, Hope Magazine assume no liability for error or omissions in this publication. All Advertisements are taken in good faith, opinions and views contained herein are not necessarily those of the Publisher. All copyrights and trademarks are recognized. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system or transmitted in any form without written permission by Hope Magazine. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts with the purpose of fair review. ÂŠ 2013 www.hope-mag.com
ECOBANK SPECIAL FEATURE
Ecobank’s digital portfolio Provides for all Individual and Commercial needs
ffIN FEBRUARY THIS YEAR, ECOBANK RWANDA UNVEILED THE GROUP’S DIGITAL STRATEGY WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE MOBILE APPLICATION. YET WHILE THAT APP IS THE COMPANY’S SIGNATURE PRODUCT WHEN IT COMES TO E-BANKING, ECOBANK HAS A WIDE RANGE OF DIGITAL PRODUCTS FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF CUSTOMERS AND NEEDS.
Ecobank’s mobile app
cobank’s mobile application, which is available in both the Apple iOS Store and the Android Playstore, is the cherry on the cake in the company’s e-banking strategy. It brings the bank to your phone, and allows you to do any transactions you can do in a banking hall or even through internet banking. And no need to worry about the safety of your personal data, as all protection standards are complied with.
The Ecobank mobile app features include: � Open a bank account With the Ecobank Mobile App, you just enter your details and in an instant you have an Xpress account to send money, pay bills or buy airtime credit – all from your mobile. � Money transfer With the Ecobank mobile app, you can transfer money to Ecobank account, other accounts in Rwanda or abroad and to mobile money wallets. 10
Those who love RapidTransfer, The Mobile App did not forget them as you can send money across africa with Rapidtransfer using the Mobile App. � Settle bills, utilities, school fees and more The app allows you to pay for water, electricity, pay TV, top up airtime and pay for airline tickets with select partner airlines, among others. Xpress Cash service (ATM withdrawals without card). The Xpress Cash service allows customers access cash from Ecobank ATMs using e-Tokens generated from their Mobile App. Request a cheque you have issued or a debit/ credit card to be blocked. Balance inquiry, mini-statement display, account statement request, locate nearest Ecobank branch / ATM, check forex rates “We are the only bank in Rwanda that has the capability of using either mVisa or Masterpass with one QR code,” says Alice Kilonzo-Zulu, Managing Director of Ecobank Rwanda. “With the POS machines, it takes about 24 hours HOPE OCTOBER ISSUE 80
Alice Kilonzo-Zulu, Managing Director of Ecobank Rwanda
'When I leave home or travel, I never have to worry whether I carry money or not, as long as I have my phone' before the vendor sees the credit in their account, but with our QR ystem, Once you scan, the merchant immediately gets an SMS message confirming that the payment has been made to their account.”
ECOBANK SPECIAL FEATURE
John Rwangombwa National Bank of Rwanda Governor, (C) is aided to make a shirt purchase using the Ecobank mobile app by the bank's directors during the launch
Aline Rwigimba Head of Consumer Banking at Ecobank acknowledges how easy it is to transact using the app
And as the system doesn’t require hi-tech POS machines, or cards to make the payment, but just a QR code printed on cardboard, it is extremely useful for the less banked places where a lot of cash changes hands, such as markets or taxi-motos. Soon, this feature will also be available for plain feature phones through USSD code.
The Famous “SCAN+PAY” You are probably used to paying with your card after a family shopping or after you sip in that last coffee drink at your favorite coffee shop. But For Ecobank, your card can be transformed into an-allin-one-paying platform and from now you can start paying using your phone with this latest Ecobank QR system called the “SCAN+PAY”. A consumer with the Mobile App will need to scan the QR (Quick Response) of his or her merchant in order to make the payment. Once you scan, the vendor immediately gets an SMS message confirming that the payment has been made to their Accounts. “We are the Only Bank in Rwanda that offers this capability of using either m-Visa or Master pass with one QR code” Says Alice Kilonzo-Zulu, Managing Director Ecobank Rwanda. This came as a solution to most of the Business owners who sell goods and services that use the POS machines, it takes about 24 hours before the vendor sees the credit in their account, and with the QR code, the successful payment will instantly generate an SMS to the vendor as successful. This is also comes at the Time, the Rwandan Government is pushing for a cashless economy.
Minister of ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana (L) shares a word with the Ecobank Group CEO, Ade Ayeyemi (R) during the app's launch earlier this year
A high educative campaign usually run by the central bank was launched earlier this month and Ecobank was in the spear head to introduce this new way of payment by a phone.Most of the Merchants always have issues with POS machines, Low Battery or other technical issues which consumes their time, but this is not the case with the QR codes, all you need is QR code printed on a paper or cardboard and you are good to go. This is very useful for the less banked places like markets and Taxi-motos. Soon this feature will also be available on the USSD code.
More Electronic Products
Ecobank Omni: A Commercial and Corporate digital solutions platform, this is a full integrated, multi-geography, multi-language, multi- currency platform offering a set of online cash management (Account services, Collections, Payments) Other e-products are Mass collection solutions like Bank collect, Electronic financial supply chain (eFSC) and added on the usual SMS alerts, e-alerts and e-statements.
Scan here to download the Ecobank Mobile App
Ecobank is continuously investing in the latest internet and security technologies to help customers take control of their finances. Parts of this are some other electronic products currently available: Internet Banking: An online Platform that lets you manage your finances online & 24/7. Cards: Ecobank ranges of cards vary from Debit to Prepaid cards with either Visa or MasterCard Option. www.hope-mag.com
ECOBANK SPECIAL FEATURE
A customer pays for a purchase at fashion house, Inzuki Designs using the Ecobank mobile app after scanning through the Masterpass and mVISA QR Code
Through digital platform, Ecobank Commercial Banking offers a wide range of electronic tools and services dedicated to businesses – from straightforward cash management to payment tools that capture turnover securely, including most recent applications using mobile phone technology. It creates visibility along the supply chain with the goal of your business’ working capital throughout the supply chain.
Point of Sales A classic electronic collection tool aimed at getting a business paid by its customers using their debit and credit cards. Ecobank’s POS do accept all Visa, MasterCard and China Union Pay and NedBank cards (if in partnership with Visa or Mastercard).
Mobile Banking Solutions
Ade Ayeyemi Ecobank Group CEO holds a shirt he has purchased using the new revolutionary Ecobank mobile app
Internet Banking Solutions Ecobank Omni: This Ecobank proprietary corporate electronic banking platform facilitates accounts management in an efficient and secured manner. It is a fully integrated, multi-geography, multilanguage, multi-currency platform, offering you a comprehensive set of online cash management services (e.g. Account Services, Payments, Collections, Liquidity Management).
Transform the speed of your business process through electronic financial supply chain management and access to Ecobank Research Ecobank electronic financial supply chain (eFSC): Working through Ecobank Omni, this solution is a supply chain management tool with the ability to electronically link a business to local and regional principals (large corporate, multinationals, international organizations, etc.).
It is a secure electronic banking channel providing corporate clients with a single point of access for their transaction and reporting needs. Now keeping track of payments, receivables, liquidity, value chain and the latest insights, is available in one secure, global solution:
Ecobank Bank Collect: This solution is a quick and efficient receivables service that gives a business owner an easy way to mass collect money and follow all their transactions in real time.
Rapidtransfer: This solution is the only panAfrican money transfer and payment service that enables entrepreneurs to send money easily and rapidly online. Rapidtransfer can be accessed on a smartphone through the downloadable Ecobank Mobile App. It can also be made at any Ecobank branch or Rapidtransfer agent.
Transact more efficiently when making payments, forecasting and investing.
Mass collection solutions
Monitor cash management with greater control
Translate information into better decision-making through enterprisewide visibility of data.
Ecobank Mobile APP or USSD: This smart, cardless, contactless, cashless innovative payment solution leveraging on mobile technology, allows someone to receive payments on their mobile, initiated by their customers on their mobile phones, but also to transfer funds and to check account statement and loans and deposits status. An Xpress account can be opened via Ecobank Mobile App with no references required and zero account fees.
In order to pay a merchant using the app one has to scan the SCAN+PAY QR code for fast and easy payment HOPE OCTOBER ISSUE 80
Western Union: In addition to money transfer solution, Western Union and Ecobank have developed a new service called Account Based Money Transfer (ABMT). This innovative transfer service allows businesses to receive a Western Union mandate on their Ecobank account.
ECOBANK SPECIAL FEATURE
Cover Story ...
For Ecobank, the future is here! it's Digital ff FOR THE BOSS OF A MAJOR BANK, IT MIGHT SEEM STRANGE NOT TO LIKE CASH. YET THAT IS THE CASE FOR ALICE KILONZO-ZULU, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ECOBANK RWANDA, AND IT IS THEREFORE NOT SURPRISING THAT SHE IS RATHER EXCITED ABOUT THE COMPANY’S MOBILE PHONE APP, WHICH ESSENTIALLY BRINGS THE BANKING HALL TO YOUR SMARTPHONE AND ALSO FUNCTIONS AS A DIGITAL WALLET.
rom a digital perspective, our signature product is the Ecobank mobile app,” she explains. “Ecobank is present in 33 countries in Africa – largely subSaharan Africa – and the same app can be used in all those countries.”
The Ecobank app allows you to do everything that can be done with a bank account and more since you can even open an Xpress account without the hassle of filling in forms. Other features are money transfers (to Ecobank accounts, to external accounts in Rwanda, abroad and to
mobile money accounts), paying for goods and services by scanning a QR code, paying bills and buying Cashpower, stop a cheque that you have issued and even send a token number to someone which allows them to withdraw cash from an Ecobank ATM without a card.
Alice Kilonzo Zulu the Ecobank Rwanda Managing Director says the app is a one of a kind and revolutionary to the banking industry 14
HOPE OCTOBER ISSUE 80
ECOBANK SPECIAL FEATURE
“Because it might be a bit far, they may have to get a moto and may not have the money. So what we are saying is, bring the bank to the customer. And which better way than through the phone?” “The unbanked, they are people who have a lot of payments: the moto guys, the market people, there’s a lot of exchange of money, and most of it is cash. So that’s what we are targeting to make sure that we can actually get that cash out of the system,” she adds. The digital strategy also reduces costs for the bank, and not just by having to build fewer branches.
Customers are facilitated to pay using the Ecobank mobile app during its launch earlier this year. The Ecobank Power Team agents are located across the country
And the best thing for Kilonzo-Zulu is that it’s all on your smartphone. “It is the one gadget which you never leave behind; you can forget your chequebook, your credit card – but your phone, you look at it when you wake up to see what’s new,” she says. “So what we’re saying is: this phone which is so powerful, why not use it for banking? Now, when I leave home or I travel, I never have to worry whether I carry money or not, as long as I have my phone.” That doesn’t mean that those without a smartphone are left in the cold. The option of paying for goods and services will soon also be available via the USSD codes used by feature phones. The mobile app is part of the Ecobank Group’s wider strategy to promote electronic banking and go digital on many levels. “The thinking behind digital is that, as we look at the future, if you want to meet the customer it is going to be digital; it is quick, simple, convenient and safe,” Kilonzo-Zulu explains. “Digital banking is the future because in the day-to-day interaction, it’s no longer about the premises but about how you can support the customer in the transactions they’re doing.” And it’s not limited to the customers.
For us, digital is three levels “customer interaction, internally (if you’re not digital internally you can’t expect your partners outside to be digital) and the third level is our ecosystem – our suppliers, our vendors, … we’re also saying, you all need to be digital. So that the primary way to deal with Ecobank is digitally,” the MD explains. As charity begins at home, she takes the internal part very seriously. “The reason why we’re pushing digital is that we want to create value to the customer, not just convenience. So if we go digital internally, we spend more time looking for ways to create value for the customer,” she says.
“But as the MD, I’m not relying just on my salespeople, I expect my entire staff to be talking to their family members so they are able to do things digitally. It’s going to be a way of life.”
Expensive And there are more advantages to going digital, in the first place that it makes it easier to reach the unbanked. “The unbanked are living in rural places, and you can never take the physical bank really into the rural places – no matter how much you want to build a branch, really getting to the person in the village is very difficult,” Kilonzo-Zulu points out.
For a bank, dealing with cash is expensive. The cash has to be brought in, somebody has to count and separate it, you need a vault to keep it and there’s also security. So it’s actually more secure and critically less expensive when you take away the cash,” the MD says. www.hope-mag.com
“For a bank, dealing with cash is expensive. The cash has to be brought in, somebody has to count and separate it, you need a vault to keep it and there’s also security. So it’s actually more secure and critically less expensive when you take away the cash,” the MD says. Yet to make a cashless society a reality, promoting digital banking in itself isn’t enough. “It’s a journey and I don’t think it can be done purely by the banks; you need the government to step in, it’s a combination of the players in the market that will have the ability to drive that change,” KilonzoZulu says. “And I think here in Rwanda we’re extremely lucky that we have a government that is focused on making sure that we really reach a cashless economy, as digital as possible.” But in the end, the crux is that the people get on board, and while Ecobank Rwanda has launched a vast campaign to promote e-banking, its boss realises that it will take time. “We have a very strong campaign, but it’s not an overnight thing because it’s also about changing the mindset,” she points out. “A lot of people still believe that cash in their hand is better. So we also combine it with educating people about the value of going digital.”
Contact Ecobank Rwanda 3300 / 0788384000 email@example.com www.ecobank.com
Social Media EcobankRW EcobankRW 15
AKAGERA BUSINESS GROUP SPECIAL FEATURE
“Curvaceous styling, active and passive safety, refinement and 4x4 capability are the reasons why Mercedes-Benz is certain you will opt for the GLC 250 4MATIC,” reads the review on the specialised website autocar.co.uk. Both the GLC 250 4MATIC interior and exterior are designed with the AMG line, which is Mercedes-Benz performance package of styling and options.
GLC 250 4MATIC Luxurious, High-Tech & Raw Power
f you are someone who enjoys the occasional sporty car adventure, but you also need a vehicle that can transport your family in all comfort, then Akagera Motors – division of Akagera Business Group (ABG) and exclusive distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Rwanda, has just the treat for you: the Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 4MATIC (with AMG kit).
To name but a few: keyless entry and start, mirrors that automatically retract on exit, intelligent LED headlights, 360° camera for manoeuvring assistance, rain-sensing wipers, and a touchpad command console that allows you to adjust the cars behaviour to the road conditions.Yet, all this beauty and sophistication does not mean you do not have a powerhouse in your hands. The GLC 250 4MATIC available at Akagera Motors has a petrol engine, with four inline cylinders, which gives an acceleration from 0 to 100 KM/H in 7.3 seconds. Four-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic gearbox are standard, although manual gearshift is also available, operated by levers on the steering wheel.
The GLC 250 4MATIC
is Mercedes-Benz bid for the crossover market, which are essentially vehicles built on a sedan platform but with the high-performance features of a sport utility vehicle (SUV). “It gives you the feeling of a sports car, but also the functionality and utility of an SUV,” says Roopak Gorajia, Marketing Director at ABG. But while ‘SUV’ might evoke rather large and not aesthetically pleasing, the GLC 250 4MATIC doesn’t compensate on looks or sophistication. 16
This results in a gorgeous exterior, which will make heads turn, as well as a luxurious interior, that feature Mercedes-Benz glossy fusion of metallic trim and vinyl upholstery, including a panoramic roof. As it is styled as a family car, it comes as standard with most of the essential infotainment items. This brings us to the high-tech part, which as can be expected with Mercedes-Benz is top-notch.
HOPE OCTOBER ISSUE 80
For that off-road adventure, occasional pothole or speed bump, the GLC 250 4MATIC can easily handle it with a standard ground clearance of 181 MM, in off-road mode an extra 20 MM, improved clearance angles and an under-body guard. The MercedesBenz GLC 250 4MATIC is available at Akagera Motors in dark grey exterior with black interior for €47,790 duty-free / ex-magerwa. It comes with a warranty of 2 years or 100,000 KMs. More info via firstname.lastname@example.org / +250 781 466 886 / +250 788 447 630 / www.abgafrica.com
PRESIDENTIAL MONTH ff HIGHLIGHTS IN PICTURES ON SOME OF THE MONTHLY ACTIVITIES THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS UNDERTAKEN IN AND OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY, FOR YOUR RECAP
President Kagame Launched the Gahanga Cricket Stadium on 28 October 2017.
President Kagame presided over the signing of 2017-2018 Imihigo (Performance Contracts) on 6 October 2017.
President Kagame addressed the 72nd UNGA in New York, on 20 September 2017.
President Kagame attended the Unity Club 21st Anniversary Dinner on 27 October 2017.
President Kagame delivered a Public Lecture on AU Reforms at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C, on 21 September 2017.
President Kagame attended the 7th ICGLR Summit of Heads of State and Government in Brazzaville on 19 October 2017.
President Kagame attended the Africa Global Business Forum in Dubai, on 1st November 2017.
President Kagame attended the RDF Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise in Gabiro, on 10 November 2017.
President Kagame received at Urugwiro Village, President Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia on 16 November 2017.
President Kagame attended the celebrations of the Centenary Jubilee of Priesthood in Rwanda at Kabgayi, on 7 October 2017.
President Kagame addressed the International Achievement Summit in
London on 18 October 2017. 12
President Kagame attended the 4th edition of the International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa in Dakar, on 13 November 2017.
President Kagame attended the World Bank session on Maximizing Finance for Development in Washington D.C, on 14 October 2017.
President Kagame addressed residents of Gahanga during monthly community work in Kicukiro District, on 28 October 2017.
President Kagame received theÂ World Tourism Award 2017 in London on 6 November 2017.
KCB BANK SPECIAL FEATURE
KCB BANK RWANDA launches MobiLoan for instant credit ffKCB BANK RWANDA HAS LAUNCHED ITS MOBILOAN PLATFORM, WHICH ENABLES ITS CUSTOMERS TO APPLY FOR AND RECEIVE LOANS INSTANTLY. IT’S THE FIRST SUCH SERVICE IN THE COUNTRY. George Odhiambo KCB Bank Rwanda’s Managing Director, presents MobiLoan
“All clients with regular current and savings accounts qualify for the KCB Mobiloan. They will receive credit ratings for efficiency in loan access,” Odhiambo noted. KCB Mobiloan allows eligible customers to borrow between Rwf 500 to Rwf 500,000, depending on their credit rating. The loans are to be paid back within 30 days at a 6% interest. The service can be accessed by dialing *522#, then following the prompts. It is accessible on all mobile platforms. So far, KCB Bank Rwanda has given out some 1500 Mobiloans, and with the official launch the bank expects this number to grow rapidly.
Mobiloan launch KCB Bank clients at the launch of Mobiloan
he launch follows a test phase of the 24-hour selfservice mobile loan service that had been running since June this year. “We are currently in an era where digitalization is key for product efficiency. Customers today are looking for convenience in all areas of service delivery, and this new mobile technology is therefore essential for easier access to our services,” explained KCB Bank Rwanda’s acting Managing Director, George Odhiambo. The service is available to all KCB Bank customers who are registered on the company’s mobile banking service.
At the MobiLoan launch KCB Bank clients could win goodies in a raffle
HOPE OCTOBER ISSUE 80
KCB BANK SPECIAL FEATURE
KCB BANK RWANDA donates water
tanks to Bugesera communities
ff KCB BANK RWANDA, THROUGH THE GROUP’S CHARITY KCB FOUNDATION, HAS PARTNERED WITH WORLD RELIEF RWANDA TO DONATE FIVE WATER TANKS TO RESIDENTS OF JULU, NTARAMA, GASHORA AND RIRIMA SECTORS IN BUGESERA DISTRICT, HELPING SOME 2,500 PEOPLE TO ACCESS CLEAN WATER.
he wellbeing of our communities is what we thrive on as a bank. It all begins with the livelihoods of the people, and what affects their domestic needs, before any economic transformation,” remarked KCB Bank Rwanda’s acting Managing Director, George Odhiambo. Bugesera district still has several areas which experience water scarcity and residents sometimes have to resort to fetching water from
Water tanks Inauguration Locals and KCB Foundation officials cut the ribbon to mark receipt of the donation
unimproved water sources. The provision of water tanks will help them to collect rainwater during this rainy season, and use it during dry spells. Each of the five water tanks has a capacity of 10,000 litres, and is equipped with a filtering system; one tank is can provide for 500 people daily, according to the WHO standards of 20 litres per person per day for domestic use. The donation is worth over Rwf 6 million. The KCB Foundation, through
Speciose Ayinkamiye KCB Bank Rwanda board member
which KCB Bank implements its social corporate responsibility projects wherever the company is operational, supports various aspects of local community life. Through the Foundation, KCB Bank Rwanda recently sponsored eye surgery for 22 cataract patients in partnership with the Rwanda International Institute of Ophthalmology and donated sewing machines to Buzima Jyejuru, a cooperative of former street children.
One tank can provide for 500 people daily
KCB BANK RWANDA calls on
students to adopt digital banking ff KCB BANK RWANDA HAS HOSTED A DIGITAL BANKING PRESENTATION AT THE COLLEGE OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS (CBE) OF THE UNIVERSITY OF RWANDA, CALLING ON STUDENTS TO ADOPT DIGITAL BANKING.
he event, hosted by renowned radio host and comedian Arthur Nkusi before over 300 university students and staff, showcased new technologies in banking on both mobile and internet platforms. “Banking today has been revolutionized to cater for the needs of our customers. The youth are key elements in technology advancement especially in financial services. They expect services instantly and usually on their mobile phones,” said KCB Bank’s Head of Marketing and Corporate
Communications, Albert Akimanzi. He remarked that it is vital for the bank to continuously inform its customers about the most recent methods of managing their money and transactions. At CBE, KCB Bank presented its recently launched mobile banking service ‘Mobiloan’ which enables customers to apply and receive loans instantly, as well as a new product that lets non-customers instantly open an account using their phones by dialing *552#. This will enable the unbanked community to access banking services at
Digital Banking event There were some goodies to be won
any time, taking away the need to walk into banking halls. Students participated in question & answer sessions to learn more about digital banking platforms, and could also win some prizes. “Understanding digital banking will go a long way in promoting a cashless economy. The youth will ultimately be the engine that drives digital financial usage and we are happy to facilitate this process,” Akimanzi said. 25
BRALIRWA SPECIAL FEATURE
Bralirwa to Support
ffBEVERAGE COMPANY BRALIRWA, THROUGH ITS FLAGSHIP SOFT-DRINK COCA-COLA,
HAS ENTERED INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH THE RWANDA TRIATHLON FEDERATION (RTF) TO SPONSOR THEIR ACTIVITIES OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS.
nder the agreement, which was signed on Friday, Coca-Cola will provide logistical support to ensure the successful implementation of RTF’s planned activities. Coca-Cola as a global brand has always supported an active lifestyle through the sponsorship of major sports events including the FIFA World Cup, NBA or the Copa Coca-Cola to nurture young football talent. Alex Mbaraga, the president of the Rwanda
Triathlon Federation, noted that Bralirwa is the first private company to support them and added that they will always be Bralirwa’s ambassador within the country and beyond. Bralirwa’s Sales Director Ngange Ngxiki explained that the partnership will be mutually beneficial as RTF will be able to carry out its activities, while Bralirwa will have a platform to promote its soft drinks. “We encourage all Rwandans young and old to come out, support and actively participate
in the Rwandan triathlon, and together we can take this competition to greater heights,” he said. Bralirwa’s Managing Director Victor Madiela said that the partnership is testimony of Bralirwa’s commitment to the sports fraternity and to the development of Rwandan sports. “Through this partnership, Bralirwa aims to continue to promote local sports and elevate the standard of Rwandan athletes to compete on an international stage,” he noted.
Bralirwa and RTF officials at the presentation of the deal
Bralirwa MD Victor Madiela (C) RTF president Alex Mbaraga(R) and Bralirwa Sales Director Ngange Ngxiki 26
Victor Madiela, Bralirwa’s MD and Alex Mbaraga Rwanda Triathlon Federation president, shake hands on the deal HOPE OCTOBER ISSUE 80
AIRTEL RWANDA SPECIAL FEATURE
Airtel Rwanda Launches
The best ever internet packs with unlimited calling Additionally, Bomba Packs also have an option of subscribing to Monthly pack at only 10,000Rwf and the customer gets to enjoy 30GB (1GB/Day), Unlimited calls & SMS to Airtel numbers and 20Rwf/ minute to call to other networks. Commenting at the launch, Airtel Rwanda Commercial Director, Moses Abindabizemu said, “At Airtel, we cherish the fact that Rwandans deserve the best and this is engrained in our approach to all product propositions. This time, we not only give Rwandans the Best Internet Experience –Which most of you already enjoy, but also a product that addresses all your communication needs all through the month at the very affordable price.
Moses Abindabizemu Airtel Commercial Director addresses the press during the Bomba Packs launch
n an effort to continue giving Rwandans value for their money, Airtel Rwanda has launched “BOMBA PACKS” – Bomba Packs are the most affordable Internet and calling offers that give customers unlimited calls/SMS to Airtel Numbers and the lowest rate of 20Rwf/Minute to call other networks. Bomba packs give Rwandans a choice to enjoy daily, weekly and monthly Best Internet Experience, making calls and sending SMS
without any limitation at lowest rates in Rwanda. Rwandans who subscribe to a daily pack of 500Rwf will enjoy 1GB of data, Unlimited calls & SMS to Airtel numbers and 20Rwf/minute to call to other networks. This even gets better for those who opt for the weekly pack of 3000Rwf for they will enjoy smooth streaming with 7GB of data (1GB/Day), Unlimited calls & SMS to Airtel numbers and 20Rwf/ minute to call to other networks.
Bomba packs have been built keeping in mind the need for a customer to budget for his/her communication needs.” “The package is ‘selfcontained’ and no need for numerous subscriptions. Simply dial *456#, follow prompts, pick the pack of your choice and enjoy the Best Internet in Rwanda with Unlimited calls and SMS not forgetting the lowest rate to call other Networks. To check your balance, Dial *131*3# ” added Moses. Bomba Packs are open to all Rwandans. It’s time for you to switch to Airtel and enjoy what you rightfully deserve. For more information and inquiries, follow our Airtel
About Bharti Airtel Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 3 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company’s product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services and mobile commerce. Bharti Airtel had over 353 million customers across its operations at the end of January 2016
Bomba Packs press conference attended by Journalists 28
To know more please visit, www.airtel.com HOPE OCTOBER ISSUE 80
BPR - ATLAS MARA SPECIAL FEATURE
Corporate Responsibility ...
Bpr Thanks Clients for Loyalty with Cocktail LAST MONTH BPR HOSTED ITS CLIENTS TO A COCKTAIL AT KIGALI SERENA HOTEL TO THANK THEM FOR THEIR CONTINUED PARTNERSHIP WITH AND TRUST IN THE BANK.
From right to left: BPR customer Egide Gatera of Petrocom Ltd cuts the cake appreciating customers with Atlas Mara Legal Counsel Beatrice Hamz
he event was also an occasion for the bank to introduce its new Board Chairman Prof Njuguna Ndung’u, the new CEO Maurice K. Toroitich and to bid farewell to the outgoing Managing Director Sanjeev Anand who was promoted to Atlas Mara group Managing Director for Retail and Commercial Banking Operations. The two new leaders noted that digitizing the bank’s services and modernizing its branches is part of a strategy to serve their clients better, in addition to always maintaining the highest standards in customer service.
“There is no doubt that digital transformation will increase the uptake of banking products and also make the sector more profitable and competitive,” Ndung’u said. “Moving forward, we want to listen to our customers and respond to their needs in the most innovative and effective way,” Toroitich added. “We are working on exciting, affordable and innovative products that we will soon bring to the market.” Last year, BPR unveiled a new mobile application to boost efficiency and revolutionize the way the bank’s customers are served by reshaping customer experience and reducing cost of transaction. HOPE OCTOBER ISSUE 80
BPR new CEO, Maurice Toroitich speaks to journalists after the cocktail event
BPR - ATLAS MARA SPECIAL FEATURE
It also opened a modern, hi-tech branch in Kisimenti, Remera, and is in the process of upgrading others. Ndung’u noted that recent analysis shows that over the next five years more than two-thirds of bank customers in the region are likely to be “self-directed” and highly adapted to the online banking. This underlines the importance of embracing financial technology (fintech) by sector players. Toroitich said there is need for banks to embrace a strong credit
score card system that will allow effective integration between banks and digital platforms, including mobile money transfer service. According to Toroitich, such a system would allow banks to effectively assess the level of risk involved while lending to clients via mobile money platforms. “Moving forward, we want to listen to our customers and respond to their needs in the most innovative and effective way,” Toroitich added. He revealed that the bank is currently
working on “exciting, affordable and most innovative” products that it will soon bring to the market. Early this year, BPR unveiled a new mobile application to boost efficiency, revolutionalise the way the bank’s customers are served by “reshaping customer experience” and reducing costs of transactions. The bank recently scooped the “Best Bank in Rwanda Award” at the annual Banker Africa 2017 awards for the East Africa, thanks to such innovations.
The two new leaders pledged on leveraging on technology to improve the bank's customers' banking experience
Some of the BPR clients that attended the event
A client interacts with a BPR staff during the event
Musician Mani Martin was on hand to entertain the guests alongside his band at the event
About BPR part of Atlas Mara Founded in 1975, BPR started as a cooperative to help its members achieve better livelihoods. In 2008, it transformed to become a fully-fledged commercial bank while retaining its cooperative roots. In April 2015, Atlas Mara Limited ( LSE: ATMA ), a financial services holding company, acquired minority shares in BPR and in 2016 it merged BPR with the commercial wing of the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRDC) which it had acquired in 2014. This gave Atlas Mara a controlling stake of 62.1% in BPR, while strategic partner Arise and local shareholders remained with the rest of the shares. BPR is the second largest commercial bank in Rwanda by total assets, and the largest bank by customer base and branch network. Earlier this year, BPR was named the Best Bank in Rwanda 2017 in the Banker Africa Awards for the East African region by CPI financials. BPR's loyal customers interact during the event www.hope-mag.com
MOBISOL RWANDA SPECIAL FEATURE
Corporate Responsibility ...
MOBISOL Provides Solar Electricity to 2,965 Homes to Improve Livelihoods
Mobisol representative demonstrates the solar systems that will be installed in Kayonza on behalf of Bralirwa
MOBISOL, RWANDA’S LEADING OFF-GRID SOLAR ENERGY COMPANY, HAS ELECTRIFIED 2,965 HOUSES DURING THE MONTH SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER, TO CURB DISEASES CAUSED BY KEROSENE FUMES AND OTHER DISADVANTAGES THAT COME WITH NO ACCESS TO ENERGY. 32
obisol partnered with MTN Rwanda, Bank of Kigali, the Rwanda National Police (RNP), the Rwanda Governance Board, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority and Bralirwa to connect houses in ten districts: Gisagara, Nyaruguru, Nyagatare, Rwamagana, Gatsibo, Bugesera, Burera, Musanze, Kayonza and Ngoma. For instance, in October Mobisol provided 283 systems when Bralirwa signed an MoU with the district of Kayonza and the Energy HOPE OCTOBER ISSUE 80
Development Corporation Ltd (EDCL) to supply solar electricity to vulnerable families in Ndego sector. At the occasion, the executive secretary of Kayonza district, Ronald Kiwanuka, expressed his gratitude and said the solar system would be very useful. “It will bring relief as Ndego is one of the few sectors in the district which still doesn’t have electricity,” he said. And in September, Mobisol joined hands with Bank of Kigali to light 500 households of ubudehe category 1 in nyagatare district.
MOBISOL RWANDA SPECIAL FEATURE
Mobisol’s Head of corporate and Government Relations, Louis Rwagaju, said the solar company has managed to connect 500 households in 14 sectors of Nyagatare district. “We managed to cover the entire district because of the support we got from Bank of Kigali,” he said, calling upon all the beneficiaries to take good care of the equipment which consists of a solar panel, three lights plus a charger that can charge two mobile phones per day. Mobisol also partnered with RNP during the Police Week in May and June to provide solar systems to hundreds of homes around the country. In all the above cases, Mobisol provided free delivery and installation, a 3-year warranty, as well as interesting discounts. Mobisol’s equipment helped the beneficiaries to improve their livelihoods as the reliable green energy provides better learning conditions to their children, ensures a healthier environment as kerosene lamps, which produce hazardous fumes, become redundant, keeps them connected as they are able to charge their mobile phones and radios, and makes it easier to engage in income-generating activities. Gatsibo beneficiaries with their Mobisol kits dontated by RNP
Mobisol and Police representatives visit Gatsibo residents whose solar system has just been installed
Mobisol solar panel installed on a house in Gatsibo
Mobisol employees after installing a solar system in Nyagatare
Nyagatare residents rejoice in the donation by BK of 500 Mobisol solar kits
ENGEN RWANDA SPECIAL FEATURE
ENGEN keeps the wheels
of progress turning for Rwanda’s
� AS THE YEAR 2017 DRAWS TO A CLOSE, COMPANIES AND INSTITUTIONS TAKE TIME TO LOOK BACK AND ASSESS THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE YEAR. ONE COMPANY BOSS WHO WILL CERTAINLY BE SATISFIED WITH THE RESULTS OF HER TEAM IS SARAH DOUKOURE-BEBEY, THE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ENGEN RWANDA.
t started excellently, as the company was chosen as the fuel supplier for the construction activities of Bugesera international airport. As a land-locked country, Rwanda is that places great reliance upon its freight and transport infrastructure. This infrastructure is essential, considering the country’s dependence upon tourism and imports for growth. Travel and tourism are important growth sectors for the Rwanda economy, delivering an estimated 7.3% of the country’s annual GDP. As a result, Rwanda’s aviation industry is one of the fastest growing and the most competitive in the East Africa sub-region, with an average annual growth rate of 10%.
Architectural impressions of the new Bugesera airport 34
It comes as no surprise that Rwanda, through its MICE Strategy, has positioned itself as a preferred destination for Conferences and Tourism in Africa, with Kigali International Airport (KIA), the country’s current international airport, the main air gateway for all destinations in and out of the country and a hub to the rest of Africa and the World. The airport is located in the suburb of Kanombe, on the outskirts of Kigali, approximately five kilometres east of the central business district. Kigali International Airport has been vital to the growth of the country and its national carrier Rwandair and has been the fastest growing airport in East Africa.
However, the airport was constructed for 300 000 passengers in a year and is currently serving over 700 000 people (almost the size of the population of Kigali!). The location offers limited opportunity for expansion due to its proximity to the city and surrounding hilly terrain. To solve the problem, the Government of Rwanda under the visionary leadership of His Excellency Paul Kagame resolved to build a new airport in Bugesera Town, about 10km from Kigali. In September 2016, the Government of Rwanda signed an agreement with Mota-Engil from Portugal, to fund, build and operate the New Bugesera International Airport.
Engen Rwanda won the tender to supply fuel and lubricants to the contractor, Mota-Engil Africa HOPE OCTOBER ISSUE 80
ENGEN RWANDA SPECIAL FEATURE
agreement which was challenged by the Landlord and Engen was forced to vacate the storage facility in 2012. “We believe in the Rwanda judicial system so we went to court to have our rights restored, the proceedings took close to 5 years and we are pleased that the Supreme Court the highest instance of the Country has finally ruled favourably” Doukoure-Bebey notes.
“In the 15 countries in Africa where Engen is present, we run a service awards program which monitors service excellence and rewards the best agents on a monthly basis. The results have been satisfactory with Engen Rwanda has emerged as the best of these 15 countries with a score of 77%. We do acknowledge however that we still have to put in efforts to meet our customers’ satisfaction”
“It also shows that the justice system in Rwanda is truly working– if you have a claim, you put it forward and if you are right, you eventually get rewarded.” “Having a storage facility is critical for Engen due to its positioning as major petroleum importers as it enables the full integration of our supply chain” the Engen boss explains.
Another improvement at the stations which Engen has continued to push this year is the drive for cashless payments. “The petrol station is unfortunately still an environment with a lot of cash handling, so with the support of Visa and Mineacom, we have been implementing cashless solutions at the petrol stations,” the MD explains.
Sarah Doukoure Managing Director of Engen Rwanda
On 8th March 2017, after a competitive bidding process, Mota-Engil awarded Engen Rwanda Limited (a subsidiary of Engen International Holdings) - a three-year contract that will enable the Construction of the Airport. The Mota-Engil tender covered the supply of diesel, lubricants and related diesel storage and dispensing equipment for the works construction for an estimated contract value of RWF 30 billion. The New Bugesera International Airport (NBIA) will become Rwanda’s largest International Airport whilst KIA will remain mainly a technical training Centre. NBIA will have a 3750 metre runway, a terminal capacity of 1.8 million passengers per year, along with modern retail outlets, and with state-of-the-art cargo, air traffic control and car parking facilities. To service this contract, Engen installed a state-of-the Art Fuel Farm that provides 500 cubic meters of Diesel storage with the latest technology of self-bunded tanks, along with a fully enclosed pump bay with 3 units. This was achieved with a total investment of close to RWF 500 million. Commissioning of the ‘Fuel Farm’ was completed in June 2017. Sarah Doukoure, Managing Director of Engen Rwanda Limited is pleased with this important milestone.” It is rewarding to work on a project of such strategic importance to the Country,” she says. “There is a real sense of honour and gratitude for the privilege of working on a development that will significantly boost Rwanda’s economic growth and development, and unlock our country’s potential in terms of tourism, business and cargo.” With the project well on track, Engen, in partnership with MOTA Engil, expects the first phase to be completed by end of 2019. Engen is proud to play a key role in ensuring that the wheels of progress keep turning smoothly during this partnership. Another milestone for Engen Rwanda is the successful completion of a long pending court case with the former Entreprises Rwandaise des Petroles over the Kabuye fuel depot. When Engen entered the Rwanda market in 2008, the Company was operating the fuel storage facility over a long term lease
MD Sarah Doukoure observes MTN Mobile payment processing on the Engen pump at the launch in February
Such litigations dating back to the Total era are also the reason why, over the years, Engen Rwanda had to relinquish some of its petrol stations, notably those in Kigali city centre and in Remera, which the Company’s MD says were big losses to the Company. Yet that didn’t stop them from expanding, and this year is a great achievement with an additional 3 brand new petrol stations to our portfolio: Kibungo, Musanze and Kayonza, and another 3 planned for next year. “We are confident in the Rwanda market due to its stability and rapid growth, reason nwhy our strategy mainly focus on the local market expansion” Doukoure-Bebey adds.
Improving services, cashless payments Yet the company didn’t simply expand its network, it also worked hard to improve the service customers receive at its stations. “We constantly thrive to improve our customer’s experience and deliver on our brand promise ‘With us you are Number One,” Doukoure-Bebey says. www.hope-mag.com
“We first enabled visa payments on all our petrol stations, and this year we launched our partnership with MTN for mobile money payment solutions for fuel, with later on Tigo and Airtel also joining the platform.” One last but not least, partnership which Doukoure-Bebey seems particularly proud of is Engen Rwanda’s 5-year partnership with the Imbuto Foundation, which was initiated last year and in which the company sponsors the education of 10 underprivileged but brilliant young children who are in grades 6 to 9. Clearly, Doukoure-Bebey has reason to be satisfied with her team’s performance in the past year. Today, Engen is one of the major player in the Rwandan market, with 22 service stations and also distributes its own range of lubricants and Liquified gas products for domestic use. ‘We are proud of our achievements in Rwanda and intend to continue growing with more planned for next year” With the celebration of ten years of operations, 2018 augurs well for Engen Rwanda. 35
DEVELOPMENT BANK OF RWANDA SPECIAL FEATURE
BRD to raise more funds to
Support Energy Sector ff THE DEVELOPMENT BANK OF RWANDA PLANS TO RAISE MONEY THROUGH THE CAPITAL MARKET TO SUPPORT THE ENERGY SECTOR AS IT PLANS TO BOOST OFF-GRID ELECTRICITY IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITS FIVE-YEAR OBJECTIVES.
Panellists at the Renewable Energy conference
his was announced by Dennis Rugamba, BRD’s Investment Analyst for the Energy Sector, during a presentation at “Renewable Energy for Sustainable Growth – Matchmaking, Conference & Exhibition” held in Kigali on the 19th and 20th October.
In its five-year strategic orientations (2016-2020), BRD focuses on five key strategic sectors to foster the country’s economy, one of which is energy. “In its five year objectives, the bank will foster the development in the energy sector by contributing to the generation of at least 65.5 MW and the saving of 6.6 MW through the efficient energy programme,” HOPE OCTOBER ISSUE 80
Rugamba said. During the first 18 months of implementation of the strategic plan, the bank has managed to finance energy projects for the generation of 82.2 MW, compared to 10 MW targeted in this period.
DEVELOPMENTBANK OF RWANDA SPECIAL FEATURE
BRD’s current pipeline for electricity generation has project equivalent to 52.5 MW, for which the bank will partner with other FDIs and invest up to $24.3 million. Its current intervention in energy stands at $37.5 million invested into projects that have a cumulative total cost of $378 .9 million and a capacity of 93.4 MW. The bank is also the custodian of the Renewable Energy Fund worth $48.94 million under a subsidiary loan agreement with the government.
Dennis Rugamba BRD’s Investment Analyst for the Energy Sector, during his presentation
Renewable Energy for Sustainable Growth Conference & Exhibition was held in Kigali on the 19th and 20th October
BRD CEO Alex Kanyankole and Benjamin Nyakeriga with a certificate of merit from the European Organisation for Sustainable Development
Participants in the conference
BRD’s current pipeline for electricity generation has project equivalent to 52.5 MW, for which the bank will partner with other FDIs and invest up to $24.3 million. Its current intervention in energy stands at $37.5 million invested into projects that have a cumulative total cost of $378 .9 million and a capacity of 93.4 MW. The bank is also the custodian of the Renewable Energy Fund worth $48.94 million under a subsidiary loan agreement with the government. It consists of a line of credit and direct financing for off-grid projects.
This latter will start with three windows: on-lending through SACCOs to households; on-lending through banks to households, OSCs & SMEs; and direct financing of mini-grid developers. The Renewable Energy Fund was set up to facilitate private sector participation in renewable off-grid electrification and increase electricity access through off-grid technologies. It aims to reach 1,280,000 individuals through 445,000 off-grid connections. 52% of the beneficiaries should be women. Eligible SACCOs and banks will enter into a loan agreement with BRD. www.hope-mag.com
Commercial banks will then sign service agreements with off-grid solar companies to coordinate their energy lending, disbursement and customer service processes. SACCOs will sign loan agreements with households and will monitor the off-grid solar companies’ customer service. The energy sector is developing rapidly, and the energy policy targets to achieve 70% access to electricity by 2018 and 100% by 2024. The current installed capacity stands at 208 MW, while demand is predicted to reach 512 MW in 2024. 43
VISION FUND SPECIAL FEATURE
Success Story ...
How VisionFund transformed a forest dweller into an Urban Businesswoman ff IF YOU WOULD HAVE ASKED VESTINE NYIRASAFARI 15 YEARS AGO IF SHE MIGHT SOMEDAY LIVE IN THE CITY, SHE WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT VERY UNLIKELY. AT THE TIME, SHE AND HER FAMILY WERE LIVING IN THE FORESTS OF FORMER RUHENGERI DISTRICT, TODAY’S NORTHERN PROVINCE, AND WERE BARELY GETTING BY
Thanks to her habit of punctually paying back the loans, VFR granted her gradually more credit, going up to Rwf 2 million. At that point, Nyirasafari decided to switch from her small retail business to importing secondhand clothes and textile. “When the business was making enough profit, I decided to buy a house from which I could sell my goods,” she explains. “It was going so well that I also went into the taxi-moto business and wholesale instead of retail.” Today, she has a well-stocked shop, and in only three days sells 40 bags of rice which she brings from Kigali, alongside cooking oil and other foodstuff.
“I can afford private schools for all my kids, and our lives keep improving; we have managed to buy a plot of land where we have built our own house,” Nyirasafari says. Based on her own experience, she calls on women in Musanze and elsewhere to have the courage to stand up and start their own business with small loans, instead of waiting for their husbands to provide for them. “They should leave their comfort zones, staying at home isn’t helpful at all,” Nyirasafari advises. “With the help of VisionFund you can’t fail; they never delay the disbursement of the loans, so your projects can go ahead as planned.”
Vestine Nyirasafari in her shop in Musanze
et today, the 38-year-old, her husband Emmanuel Kanyamugabo and their eight children (five girls and three boys) are living happily in Musanze city; she has her own business, their children go to school and they all have health insurance. The turnaround came in 2003, when she met members from a women’s group in Musanze. “Since then, my life has changed considerably,” Nyirasafari says. The reason is that the women were doing business with VisionFund Rwanda (VFR), one of the biggest microfinance companies in Rwanda, and linked to the organization WorldVision. The institution particularly focuses on giving disadvantaged people small loans to improve their livelihoods and thus ensure a better future for their children. It also provides some basic financial management training to the beneficiaries. “I started working with VisionFund in 2003, as member of a group of 60 women, and we used to get Rwf 60,000 each every 3 months. I immediately started making a profit,” Nyirasafari recalls. Two years later, she became eligible for personal loans and initially received Rwf 300,000.
Nyirasafari owns a well-stocked shop and easily sells 40 bags of rice in three days HOPE OCTOBER ISSUE 80
For Ecobank, the future is here! It's Digital.