By George Kalisa
Made-in-Rwanda kingpin and winner of several accolades in Rwanda’s agribusiness and export sub-sector, SINA Gérard, has paid tribute to H.E President Paul Kagame and the gallant freedom fighters of the Rwanda Patriotic (RPA) for stopping the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and sacrificial duty of rebuilding of the country that they found ripped and torn into pieces 26 years ago.
SINA Gérard, the Founder and Managing Director of SINA GERARD Entreprise Urwibusto and College Fondation SINA Gérard told this reporter in an exclusive interview at the Entreprise Urwibusto Headquarters at Nyirangarama, Rulindo District that the peace, security, political stability and vibrant economic reforms presided over by RPF-Inkotanyi led government hugely explain the landmark successes his agribusiness firm has recorded in the 26 years.
“The peace, security and the political stability Rwandans enjoy today are a result of the sacrifice of H.E President Paul Kagame and RPA. We as the business community have made capital out of this enabling climate by expanding investment, production and even successfully ventured into foreign markets,” observed SINA Gérard.
“His Excellency, the President of the Republic has relentlessly encouraged and supported the value chains in the agriculture sector, high quality standards and increased productivity per unit of land all of which explain the tremendous achievement of SINA GERARD Entreprise Urwibusto.
I heartily congratulate him and the First Lady, Madam Jeannette Kagame for the economic emancipation and rapid growth the country is experiencing today as we come together to celebrate the 26th anniversary of the liberation,” added SINA Gérard.
“I’m highly indebted to H.E President Paul Kagame for his initiative to mobilise Rwandans to fight poverty and restore their dignity as well as working for the country’s progress,” said SINA.
The highly soft-spoken and self-made local entrepreneur happily divulges his contribution to the growing economy with tangible illustrations mostly in the export and agribusiness sub-sectors. He said he has partnered with the government of Rwanda (GoR) to fight poverty and unemployment through job creation.
SINA GERARD Entreprise Urwubutso employs thousands of Rwandans from different walks across the country: men and women, the educated and rural peasants of all ages work either on the farms, in processing, transport or services department.
“(…) To ensure sustainability, reliability and increase in production, I work with fellow farmers practicing livestock farming and crop husbandry from all over the country either as individuals or cooperatives from. I’m happy to see that we’re moving together forward as Rwandan society,” said SINA Gérard.
He urges Rwandans to value work to not only improve their well-being but also contribute to building of their country.
SINA says his firm fetches foreign exchange through exports and hence contributing towards the country’s foreign exchange earnings that are now on the upward trend as the economy is implementing remedial interventions to reduce the gaping balance of trade gap.
He says that he is proud of the domestic market, which is rapidly growing with dynamics hugely linked to the growing spirit of patriotism among Rwandans that they should love what is theirs, and hence give priority to made-in-Rwanda products, a new trend in the Rwandan consumer market sub-sector.
He will also be keen to implement economic measures Rwanda will soon adopt to mitigate post-COVID-19 negative effects, which are already stinging harder on the economy.
“Our products such as Akabanga (Chili oils) have become competitive and constantly grow in popularity on both local and international markets, because all people need chili to make healthy diets. Notably, the chili is grown Rwandan soils by Rwandans and processed qualified Rwandans.
“Akabanga popular among Presidents and ordinary delegates who’ve seen it before,” Clare Akamanzi CEO, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) tweeted during the UK-Africa Investment Summit held January20, 2020.
“During the 26 years, Entreprise Urwibusto has adopted the modern farming and is now defined by high quality standards and growing productivity. We use raw materials from the produce on our farms and ensuring quality starts right from the farm,” says SINA Gérard.
He said that the controlled chain of production explains why all Nyirangarama products meet international standards.
Besides Akabanga we produce a wide range of juices from grapes, pineapples carrots, passion fruits, plums and other fruits,” adds SINA Gérard.
The famous 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 Akarushyo, SINA Natural Honey, AKA mayonnaise et cetera.
Entreprise Urwibutso heightens efforts to fight the Coronavirus pandemic
On COVID-19 pandemic, SINA says that fighting coronavirus should be a responsibility of all citizens by abiding by the government’s guidelines and measures in place to defeat the pandemic.
He said SINA GERARD Entreprise Urwibutso has managed to provide hand washing facilities at every entrance including a modern washing tool in the open space accessible by travelers and the general public, imposing parallel to the monument of a traditional Rwandan woman.
Two staffers stand strategically in this open air space, with welcoming smiles to guide traffic to the hand washing machines while at focal point stands a young female staffer recording measures of guests’ body temperatures with unusual vigilance, which is part of the preventive measures recommended by health experts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SINA calls upon thousands of guests who frequent the Nyirangarama shops across the country, SINA Coffee Shop and Kimaranzara Restaurant at Nyirangarama township, to comply with the Government measures and health guideline issued to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic as a basis for success in containment of the pandemic.
“I would like to assure our guests and travellers that SINA GERARD Entreprise Urwibutso is committed to furthering the fight against COVID-19 pandemic through maintaining the highest standards of hygiene and sanitation,” reiterated Sina Gérard.
He encourages anyone before accessing their services to properly do the hand-washing with soap and dry them after as well as avoiding body contacts like handshakes and hugging, and to always wear a mask.
Most travellers and tourists heading to Musanze and Rubavu districts find the Nyirangarama stopover very central. Here, they are treated to all kinds of healthy refreshments and foods exclusively produced by Entreprise Urwibutso.
Fighting joblessness through offering holistic and skills-oriented education
On education, Rwanda’s entrepreneur says that as part of his strategy to fight poverty and unemployment his school, College Fondation SINA Gérard offers a skills-promotion oriented school curriculum that aims at offering a holistic education and to produce trained youths that meet the dynamics and demands of the Rwandan job market and in the region.
College Fondation SINA Gérard boasts of a total of 2,092 students 1,294 of them are in the boarding section. It has all the education levels right from Nursery to Advanced Level with a highly facilitated Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) section.
The students get skills in Carpentry, Tailoring, Welding, Food processing, Agronomy [crop production], Veterinary Medicine [animal health] and Mechanics.
SINA Gérard was awarded the RDB Business Excellence Awards for Made in Rwanda Enterprise of the Year2018 on January18, 2019 before scooping the Friends of Media Award2019 on January 6, 2020 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 the public and private sectors, appreciate the role of the media in development.