Enterprise Urwibutso: Leveraging enabling investment environment to become Rwanda’s leading domestic investor
Written by: Ernest Nyetera & George Kalisa
Thursday, May 30th, 2019, 1:40
Rwandan outstanding private investor and Founder-Director of Entreprise Urwibutso locally known as Nyirangarama, SINA Gérard, has won several accolades including the Made in Rwanda Enterprise of the Year 2018 prize, awarded him this last January during the 6th edition of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Business Excellence Awards.
According to the latest World Bank Doing Business Report, Rwanda is ranked 29th in the world in the as one of the top 30 countries in the world in terms of ease of doing business, speaking volumes of her goal to aspire for the premier destination for investment in the region. Entreprise Urwibutso has leveraged the enabling investment climate to effectively contribute to the growing Rwandan economy.
Sina Gérard who was among the 11 private winners of different categories is mostly known in the agro-business where he dominates Rwanda’s processing sub-sector. He produces a variety of soft drinks, foods and beverages which include the Akandi natural mineral water, agashya, akabanga, akanoze, yoghurt, JAM, banana wine and akarusho.
He helps local small scale farmers get farm tools like seeds alongside arable land and guaranteed market for their produces which double as the raw materials for the Nyirangarama factory.
He hence partners with the government to eradicate poverty and enhance development under the Private Public Partnership, one of the strategies Rwanda adapted to fast-track socio-economic transformation along ensuring social protection, a departure from the genocide regimes which left the economy in shambles.
Entreprise Urwibutso gives back to the community. For instance, it constructed a protected well for the community, just a few metres from the source. Some residents whom The Light Magaine interacted with at the well in Gihora village said they were grateful to SINA Gerald for constructing a well, which they fondly call Akandi.
“He helped the community, the water is now protected, clean and safe following the construction of this well and he has been there for us. Apart from water he has established schools in the area,” said Anastase Nteziyaremye, one of residents who were fetching water during a visit to the area.
Though SINA Gérard is famous for his role in agro-processing, he has invested in education and service sectors and proudly owns several schools and restaurants. Not to mention, he has created many jobs for Rwandans including transporters and traders.
How and why he settled to business in 1983 when Entreprise Urwibutso opened shop and how he weathered through until 1994 when President Paul Kagame and the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (FPR-Inkotanyi) government massively invested in the investment climate is another story for another day.
Today, as Rwanda joins the rest of the world to celebrate the International Labour Day The Light Magazine has documented thrilling facts about SINA Gérard’s own experience as an employer of hundreds and view on why Rwandans should celebrate the international Labour Day and its significance in the promotion of the wellbeing and complementarity between employers and employees in good working environments.
SINA Gérard’s told The Light Magazine during a one-on-one interview two days shy of this day at the home of Entreprise Urwibutso in the city of Rulindo District, Tare also known as Nyirangarama.
Rwanda’s investor calls on Rwandan workers to develop work ethics and exhibit rare dedication for their jobs as well as taking a leaf from him to enhance the employment sector by becoming job creators as they utilize the viable political stability and political will to create a conducive working and investment climate.
“Over the time I have expanded my production and to date I employ hundreds of Rwandans in nine different departments in nine different production and services sub-sectors,” observed SINA Gérard.
“Today we have about 550 permanent workers, 660 part timers and 5,000 families nation-wide earning a living in different sectors mostly agriculture,” adds SINA.
SINA’s Labour Day message rhymes with the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) campaign dubbed Nkuwikorera currently rolling out in the country aimed at increasing awareness on effective service delivery between service providers and service recipients.
Entreprise Urwibutso employs Rwandans from all walks of life. SINA says apart from promoting capacity building in the workers right from the farm through production to the market, they find working with the local firm a great learning experience and opportunity which makes the appreciate the value of work every single day of their life.
“Workers feel at home from the moment they are recruited and find it the best training firm,” says SINA, “they have access to the service of a full time veterinary officer and agronomists who assist them all the way to mastery of their jobs throughout the chain of production to the market”.
Besides creating employment opportunities, the investor partners with the government to promote skills development by establishing vocational and technical training schools that have produced several students.
“I encourage school leavers and dropouts to join the SINA vocational school to pursue skills in various fields such as carpentry, brick laying, welding and motor vehicle mechanics to become more employable and/or self-reliant on joining the markets locally and beyond,” noted SINA.
Secretes behind Entreprise Urwibutso’s success story
SINA attributes his success in providing high quality service delivery and production of competitive and quality products that meet international standards to H.E Paul Kagame who has not only attracted international markets for domestic products but also encouraged producers to embrace value addition and quality through creating mass awareness on the benefits of streamlined production.
The proprietor of Enterprise Urwibutso says compliance to the best practices promoted by the government is one of his strengths that have seen him moving from humble beginnings up to becoming an outstanding indigenous producer and exporter.
He extends gratitude to Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Ministry of Trade and Industries and the government in general for supporting investors through “institutionalizing friendly investment policies and laws, reforms, including ICT solutions, overhead infrastructures like roads, airports and one-stop centres at Rwanda’s borders - initiatives that have eased the cost of doing business along helping Rwandan exporter access regional markets”.
“The government of Rwanda, in particular, President Kagame, has continuously positioned the country as an investor-ready destination, by improving the business environment for local and international entrepreneurs to establish their enterprises in Rwanda,” said Clare Akamanzi, the CEO at RDB recently.
By 2017 over 1,000 investments had been registered with RDB since 2010, translating to a total investment of over $7billion of which over $5billion worth of projects are either under implementation or operation phase , Kamanzi added.
Entreprise Urwibutso exports several products, including Akandi natural mineral water, akabanga, agashya, akabanga among others.
Rwanda’s investor called on Rwandans and exhibitors to participate in the upcoming Trade Expo scheduled July in order to showcase and widen markets for their commodities.
By and large, SINA says Rwanda has registered milestones in the labour sector worth celebrating today.