By George Kalisa
Rwanda’s renowned entrepreneur SINA Gérard was January 6 awarded the Friends of Media Award 2019 in recognition for his contribution to media development through tenacious engagement and collaboration with media as a key partner in Rwanda’s development.
The annual Award is given by Light Publications Limited, the owner of The Light Magazine and The Light News TV (Youtube) in order to encourage members of both the public and private sectors appreciate the role of the media in development.
“SINA Gérard has been nominated as the winner of the first edition of the prestigious award for his vehement engagement of the media, which is incumbent on his strong conviction that media plays a key role in economic development of a country,” observed Ernest Nyetera, the Chief Executive Officer of Light Publications Limited during a colorful Award giving ceremony at Entreprise Urwibutso Head Office at Tare also known as Nyirangarama in Rulindo District.
Nyetera said that the seven-man nomination team, which included communications experts and independent economic analysts considered willingness to give information and appreciation that the media creates awareness of the trends of Rwanda’s economic development locally and internationally as well as the growth of companies owned and/or managed by media partners.
“SINA is one of a few entrepreneurs in Rwanda who all the year  expressed rare enthusiasm and readiness to engage the journalists in the creation of awareness of his steadfast expansion in production and services in agri-business,” said Nyetera.
Nyetera thanked SINA for winning the Award and other friends of the media whose names were among the nominations of year 2019, especially those who narrowly missed the Award.
On his part, the tycoon said that he was happy to win the award and also know that the media appreciated his openness and transparency in his day-to-day activities, aspects which he attributes for the unequalled quality of the Entreprise Urwibutso products locally known as Nyirangarama products.
“Several people from Rwanda and outside Rwanda visit the factory to share experience on how we ensure the quality of our products especially in agro-processing department,” observed SINA Gérard.
“For example, last year I received the a delegation from the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate led by Dr. Volker Wissing the Minister of Economic Affairs, Transport, Agriculture and Viticulture.
Also, their visit meant an expansion of the Nyirangarama wine market to German.
The composed, down-to-earth and industrious entrepreneur said that he is hopeful Entreprise Urwibutso will benefit a lot from their expertise in viticulture, technology and wine processing, which put Rhineland-Palatinate in the global limelight for now decades,” he added.
SINA has attributed his colossal achievements in the export trade subsector and growing popularity of his products to media coverage and quality assurance made possible by the committed, motivated and highly qualified staff which is involved in the chain of production.
The local entrepreneur produces a variety of soft drinks, foods and beverages which include the AKANDI natural mineral water, Agashya, Akabanga, Akanoze, Akarabo, yoghurt, JAM, banana wine and Akarusho, SINA Natural Honey, AKA mayonnaise et cetera.
He exports to Europe and the United States products such as Akabanga, Akarusho and banana wine where they’re not only competitive but their demand has maintained an upward trend since they penetrated these markets.
The industrialist who is all praises for the enabling investment climate in the country has won many accolades for his contribution in Rwanda’s economy.
The Rwandan investor who boasts a humble beginning was the most enterprising entrepreneur in the made in Rwanda subsector according to Rwanda Development Board (RDB) latest ranking, and earned the RDB Business Excellence Awards for Made in Rwanda Enterprise of the Year2018 on January 18, 2019.
Over the years, the tycoon from Northern Rwanda has been expanding production and to date employs hundreds of Rwandans in nine different production and services departments.
“Today we have about 550 permanent workers, 660 part timers and 5,000 families nation-wide earning a living in different sectors mostly agriculture,” SINA recently told The Light Magazine.
SINA Gérard leverages backward and forward linkages in agriculture to ensure quality, steady production as well as minimizing costs related to transport of mostly the primary agricultural produce, Rwanda’s prominent producer controls the entire chain of production right from the farm through production to consumption.
He is also the owner of SINA GERARD Nursery school and College Fondation SINA GERARD which have helped Rwandan children access basic education and vocational and technical skills.
Thousands of young people mostly from his home district of Rulindo and neighbouring districts who cannot continue with education for various reasons enroll here for vocational and technical education. The youth gain skills in carpentry, plumbing, catering, wielding et cetera.