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Tue. Jul 27th, 2021

Provincial leader lauds tycoon SINA Gérard for partnership with gov’t in rebuilding Rwanda



George Kalisa

The new Governor of Rwanda’s Agricultural rich northern region and home to more than a half of the remaining endangered Mountain gorillas, Dancilla Nyirarugero said that her Provincial administration and Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) – Inkotanyi led government recognize the contribution of millionaire SINA Gérard in the social and economic transformation of the people of Rwanda.

“As leaders we recognize SINA Gérard as a model farmer in the Agriculture Sector whose selflessness and zeal to uplift the wellbeing of Rwandan rural farmers and Rwandan youths through empowering them with skills of practicing commercial farming and promoting value chains in the sector has been infectious and appreciated throughout the country over the years, “observed…..the new Governor of the Northern Province.

Nyirarugero replaced Jean Marie Gatabazi who is now serving as Rwanda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.

“SINA Gérard has played a key role in transforming Agriculture from traditional agricultural systems such as subsistence farming to modern commercial farming,” she added.

The Governor said that the vocational and technical education skills the Rwandan youth acquire at Fondation College SINA Gérard have helped them become more employable and earn a living through starting their own jobs or work for reputable economically sound agribusiness companies among others.

Nyirarugero remarked on April20, 2021 during her first visit to the modern demonstration farms and factories of Entreprise Urwibutso/ SINA Gérard Agribusiness Company since she assumed office early this year.

Agriculture is the second foreign exchange earner of Rwanda coming after Tourism. The sector directly and indirectly employs more than 70 per cent of the Rwandan citizenry.  

In spite of the heavy rains the Governor flanked by leaders of the Rwanda National Police (RNP), Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) and the Mayor of Rulindo District toured the processing plant, carpentry workshop and the modern farms including pigsty at Entreprise Urwibutso/ SINA Gérard Agribusiness firm where white pigs grow, relax and feed while listening to music of all sorts.

SINA Gérard is Rwanda’s icon in Agribusiness Sector and Founder and Managing Director of Entreprise Urwibutso/ SINA Gérard Agribusiness company, which exports Akabanga (Chili oil) and Akarusho wines to the US and European markets. He also owns Fondation College SINA Gérard which offers quality vocational and technical education as part of its curriculum.

On his part, SINA Gérard reiterated his commitment to continue the existing partnership with the government in its efforts to transform agriculture and increase the exports base to improve the current trade deficit.

“Entreprise Urwibutso/ SINA Gérard has gradually grown in terms of production and visibility locally and regionally. For a couple of years we have been exporting different products like Chili oils (Akabanga), Akarusho wines and we hope the international market will expand following the recent launch of online shopping as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” remarked SINA Gérard during a press conference held at the end of the tour.

SINA said that he has managed to maintain a steadfast supply of raw materials such as bananas, passion fruits, milk, pineapples et cetera to his factories through mobilizing and supporting Rwandan farmers with farm inputs and toolkits. SINA has expanded cash crop varieties on his farm to include macadamia, grapes, and plumps (ibinyomoro). 

He is working with local cooperatives and smallholder farmers in all districts in the Province particularly the Rulindo District where Entreprise Urwibutso/ SINA Gérard, the leading Agribusiness Company is headquartered.

SINA is optimistic that the Governor’s visit will increase the visibility of his products and the social and economic activities at large.    

Millionaire Sina Gérard is one of a few Rwandan business people that heeded to the plea made by H.E President Paul Kagame more than a decade ago to the private sector and all Rwandans to join him in building a knowledge-based economy.

In the light of this, Sina Gérard expanded his realm of investment to include education as a way of responding to President Paul Kagame’s call of walking together the talk of creating a knowledge-based economy as well as to bolster the Private-Public partnership (PPP) in the country. In 2003, Rwanda’s millionaire opened Collège Fondation/SINA GERARD, which he built right in his home area.

Commenting on the school’s role in the country Nyirarugero said the government was satisfied with the learning environment at Collège Fondation/SINA GERARD where students acquire both theories and practical skills from the processing plant and farms they attend for practical sessions until they graduate.

Residents in Rulindo District and neighbourhoods regard Sina’s actions as heroic because he addressed the problem of lack of access to education particularly, post-Secondary education by providing a Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) education in Collège Fondation SINA GERARD, which he established in this area nearly a decade ago. Most Secondary school leavers would not continue with post Primary education largely because there was no single Secondary school in the area. Yet, many parents engaged in subsistence agriculture and couldn’t afford to pay school fees for their children leave alone having enough food in their households.

By then, Rulindo was one of Rwanda’s remotest areas with alarming levels of illiteracy and poverty. Two people out of five had completed Primary education. Most youths were unemployable not only due to lack of relevant skills but also having plenty of time that they’d to fill by resorting to reckless activities. The youths in this part of the country had indulged in irresponsible drinking and stealing of the residents’ property, especially food crops. They would steal foodstuffs from residents’ farms. Indeed, stealing had become a way of life for hundreds of youths. The folks of Tare say that Sina was one of the victims whose passion fruits and pineapple farms had turned into communal assets for whoever was hungry to harvest and take home for eating and/or selling.

The students get skills in Carpentry, Tailoring, Welding, Food processing, Agronomy [crop production], Veterinary Medicine [animal health] and Mechanics.

Sina Gérard contends that education devoid of Christian values is useless, stressing that he is investing in Religion to give students an opportunity to get holistic education that builds a complete person.

“Discipline, humility, reliability and trustworthiness are some of the values Christianity instills and reinforces,” remarked Sina Gérard at the presser.

“If such values are incorporated with the Rwandan cultural values and national aspirations like unity of all Rwandans, I’m sure we shall produce responsible citizens who put Rwanda above all individual interests that make corruption thrive and negatively impact on the economy,” added SINA.

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