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How A Rwandan Girl Manages Wine & Liquor Business During #COVID-19 Crisis

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Sometime in February 2019, Keithia Kayonga, a university student then, started a wine and liquor store business in the capital Kigali.

Despite the fact that she was young and still had school to attend, Kayonga knew her priorities and how to juggle both business and school.

Starting a business at a young age and taking on strong responsibilities did not stop her from going forward. The teenage girl dived in and took the risk.

She started with Rwf2 million (US$2,100) she had mobilised from her family and some savings from her small job she had acquired after high school.  

“I did not have the guarantee that my business would be successful, but I started it anyways with the small capital I had, and today I am proud of myself for not giving in to the fear of taking risks,” she says. 

Kayonga, now 21 years, looks to be too young to handle her this tricky business, but with commitment and believing in herself, she has managed to sail through.

As she says, owning a wine and liquor store can be challenging.

She has shifted to three locations in less than two years. She kept studying the dynamics of the market and making swift decisions to remain in business.

Each major busy location of the city has multiple liquor stores. New entrants get squandered and squeezed out of business. “It is rough,” she says. “The dirty games of the trade can swing you off the cliff so easily.”

Besides that, dealing with uncultured clients with all kinds of behaviours can discourage such a young girl to continue facing such a challenge. 

Also being able to secure reasonable contracts to supply hotels and bars, largely dominated by men and large businesses can scare off any prospects, but Kayonga has begun penetrating through.

Meanwhile, Kayonga has chosen to pitch her market through online marketing and physical mobilization through research and observations. She has also partnered with e-commerce platforms such as Flutterwave to occupy the digital space. 

The tough young entrepreneur finally graduated with a degree in transport, logistics, and management from the University of Tourism and Business.

She told Taarifa that she intends to use her knowledge to build her business as she has always done with the help of focusing on what is important.

Dealing with Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis did not spare her. Kayonga’s business was affected drastically. Sales went down and overheads to remain in the business sore.

Additional to being a supplier to the hospitality sector like hotels, resto-bars Kayonga’s wines liquor store faced a reduction of clients during the lockdown, and continuously after.

But that did not give her a reason to quit her business.  After the lifting of the lockdown, Kayonga deployed strategies that are helping her business survive even under the current unfortunate circumstances. 

She is currently injecting more capital to prepare to supply reopening hotels and restaurants. “I am also using gorilla tactics,” she says. 

“It is not easy to operate now, not for me or for most other businesses, but it doesn’t mean we should give up. As a business person, you learn to be patient about the tough times in the short run and focus on investing in the success of the long run and using all sorts of tactics to remain in business,” Kayonga told Taarifa.

Very optimistic, Kayonga has hope in the future of her business, despite all the stigma it carries for a young girl to be running a business that is culturally rebuked as a business not meant for women. 

Kayonga has a thick skin and is a perfect example of a new breed of Kigali’s metropolitan young entrepreneurs taking on business with all the muscles.

She is looking forward to becoming one of the biggest wines and liquor suppliers in the country. She does not mention how big her business is worth at the moment, but she says it has more than quadrupled. 

“The truth of the matter is, I treat business with a lot of seriousness, and I can tell you it is not easy and it is not for the soft-hearted, but when you put in all your heart in it, you definitely get something out of it,” she insists.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Rose

    August 1, 2020 at 9:04 am

    Good. Your phone contact is needed. I am a wine and liquor business women too. I operate my business in Eastern Provine I need to be your Client. Thanks.

    • Kayonga keithia

      August 2, 2020 at 11:19 am

      Hello Rose am really waiting for you here is my contact 0788290182. Thanks

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Business

Mozambique Scandal: Credit Suisse & U.S. Conclude Deal

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Credit Suisse Group AG is nearing an agreement with the U.S. government that would resolve a criminal probe regarding its role in a U$2 billion Mozambique bond scandal, according to people familiar with the matter.

The discussions with the U.S. Justice Department involve a deferred prosecution agreement that would include a fine, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are confidential. An agreement is expected to be announced Tuesday.

Any deal with U.S. prosecutors would be the latest action in a multi-year, international legal saga arising out of the 2013-14 deals that were supposed to fund a new coastal patrol force and tuna fishing fleet in Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries.

In a 2018 indictment, the U.S. Justice Department alleged the contracts were a front for government officials and bankers to enrich themselves.

Three former Credit Suisse bankers have pleaded guilty to U.S. charges stemming from the scheme.

Credit Suisse declined to comment on any agreement, as did the U.S. Justice Department.

A deal could help put to bed one scandal, even as the bank has been punished this year by investors for its stumbles with Archegos Capital Management and Greensill Capital, which have spurred broad management shakeups.

Mozambique has filed suit against Credit Suisse and shipbuilder Privinvest, one of several cases in U.K. courts that involve the bond deal.

Unlawful Conduct’

In defending its London lawsuit, Credit Suisse has insisted that it was deceived by rogue bankers and couldn’t be held responsible for their “unlawful conduct” when it arranged the loans in early 2013.

The Swiss bank has said it carried out its usual due diligence before the transactions and was aware of the risk of bribery and corruption.

Andrew Pearse, who led the global financing group in the bank’s London office, testified at a federal trial in Brooklyn, New York that he’d pocketed at least U$45 million in illicit payments for his role in the arrangement of the loans.

The Credit Suisse loans were for three separate maritime projects including a tuna fishing fleet, the building of a shipyard and surveillance operation to protect Mozambique’s coastline and protect against pirates, according to Pearse.

Mozambican government officials, corporate executives and investment bankers stole about U$200 million, prosecutors said.

Both Pearse and his successor at the bank, Surjan Singh, who also pleaded guilty, testified at the 2019 trial of Jean Boustani, a Privinvest Group executive accused by the U.S. of being behind the plan to get Mozambique to borrow billions of dollars and overpay for dubious maritime projects.

A third banker, Datelina Subeva, Pearse’s subordinate, also pleaded guilty but didn’t testify.

All three bankers await sentencing. After a six-week trial in late 2019, a federal jury cleared Boustani of all charges.

Bloomberg

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Business

DRC Opposition Protests Against Phone Tax

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Martin Fayulu, DRCs leader of opposition coalition LAMUKA has called upon all citizens to take to the streets and demand for the abolition of a controversial mobile phone tax.

In June 2020, the DRC government set up – through the ICT, Post and Telecoms Ministry – a CEIR system (Central Equipment Identification Register), with the aim to fight fake devices and the theft of mobile devices.

However, Telephony mobile users claim the Mobile Device Registry (RAM), a controversial new tax is robbing them of their units and making them poorer.

In terms of RAM, mobile operators are cutting a big chunk of units monthly from their customers’ mobile devices, which many users believe is too high and unnecessary.

“We are calling for the immediate withdrawal of RAM. Because it’s theft, a scam. That no one is demobilized. Let’s march and denounce it because it is outright  theft. Once withdrawn, all money collected must be returned, ”said Martin Fayulu.

During a meeting this Saturday, October 16, 2021 in Kinshasa, Martin Fayulu called for the outright abolition of this fee.

During the rally, the leader of Lamuka pinpointed other topical issues, including the issue of appointing the leaders of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).

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Business

Tanzania’s Economy Records 4.3% Expansion in 2nd Quarter

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Tanzania’s economic outlook seems very impressive as the country registered a 4.3% expansion between April and June according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Compared to the country’s economic performance in the same period last year, there has been a 0.3% upward expansion.

Briefing the media on Friday, Daniel Masolwa NBS Director of Economics Statistics, said, “Real GDP increased to Shs 33.4trillion from Shs 32trillion in the corresponding period in 2020, an equivalent to a 4.3% growth,” he said.

During the second Quarter of 2020, Tanzania’s economy registered the lowest growth rate of 4.0% since 2017 mainly due to the devastating effects of Covid-19 pandemic following the introduction of lockdowns and many countries to mitigate spread of this pandemic.

However, Masolwa tried to cool down any skepticism saying, the annual economic growth in 2021 is projected at a 5.0% rate. In terms of economic activities, he  said, during the period under review, information and communication attained the highest growth of 12.3%, followed by electricity generation at 12.1%.

Meanwhile, other services include arts and entertainment and households as employers (10.8%), accommodation and food services (10.1%), water (8.4%), and mining and quarrying (7.3%).

According to Masolwa, the expansion of economy by 4.3% during the second Quarter of 2021 was spearheaded by key drivers of growth which include Agriculture (13%), transport and storage (8.4%), trade and maintenance (8.1%), manufacturing (7.6%) and construction (7.1%).

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