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How This Coffee Shop In Kigali Navigates COVID-19 Storm

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Kigali Craft Café (KGC), a medium-sized coffee shop in Kigali City, lost 80% of its revenues due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The effects include recent lockdowns imposed by the government as part of the measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Yves Niyongabo, the proprietor of the coffee shop, is confused. He does not understand how he even made it today considering the level of pounding on his business by the effects of the pandemic.

“It is a miracle,” he says, wondering how long it will take for his business to recover from the storm. “I am still in shock. I am stressed and very worried. I am uncertain about the future, considering that this virus seems to be elusive.”

Niyongabo is a professional barista; one of Rwanda’s finest. He worked with major brands such as Bourbon Coffee before he began his own. Everything was running smoothly until coronavirus the virus disrupted his trajectory.

“I was planning to expand; set up a bakery and suddenly the shop succumbed to the pandemic,” he tells of his ordeal on a Saturday evening while two clients stood outside the coffee shop waiting for their orders since government directives prohibited restaurants from serving clients at the premises.

When the first lockdown was imposed in March 2020, KGC, located in Kacyiru, operated like any other business then; staff working and serving clients by orders through deliveries. By then the shop made some revenues, enough to cover a few expenses.

clients still had some disposal income to spend. After the lockdown, many employers began experiencing difficulties because the economy was beginning to shrink. Businesses were losing traction and laying off some employs. Gradually the trend deepened as the pandemic gained momentum until the end of 2020.

This time KGC’s revenues had shrunk significantly because peak hours (evening hours), most clients were beginning to rush home to beat the curfew. Niyongabo was still hanging in there. He had reduced salaries for his employees, cut down other expenses, and kept his expansion project on hold.

“When the second lockdown was announced, I was jittery. I was not only worried, but also ran out of ideas,” he says. “I did not know how to sell coffee because coffee is an experience. It is an interaction between a barista and a client.”

“I was able to suck it up and deal with my emotions,” he says. “But then orders dropped, almost to zero, yet we had to open doors everyday just not to disappoint our clients.”

The nightmare

The hardest times were yet to come. “We began thinking about very bad things. Thoughts of losing our shop, the welfare of our employees, taxes, rent, and so on…” Niyongabo recalls. “Numbers were not adding up. I compared the cost of opening doors just one day to the daily sales, and then my heart began swelling. I asked my wife to pray. I was losing it.”

Niyongabo realised that he was not only operating at a loss, but also encroaching on his savings to ensure the coffee shop remained operational.

He counted days, but the seemed very long. “I knew i had to do something and stop agonising,” he says. “I engaged my staff, and we come up with some kind of formula.” “We agreed that the business had been hit hard. And that we would do whatever it takes to remain afloat. “

Instead of laying off some and retaining others, they agreed to take a two-weeks pay cut by turns. Each one would take two weeks cut off interchangeably. Additionally, each employee would use their social media accounts to advertise. And the choose, intelligently, which items to promote depending on the cost of production.

They also cut dropped prices on the menu to become competitive and attractive to those who were able to move and pick something to grab, particularly those in security and other essential services. “Home deliveries were almost impossible.” “By God’s mercy, we would get two or three orders placed.

“We survived like that, but were still operating on losses. You imagine making Rwf30,000 (US$30) per day when you have to pay rent, salaries, utilities and so on,” Niyongabo narrates. “We are now emotionally devastated, but mentally focused and optimistic that since the new directives allow clients to come and sit and consume, maybe we might make some recovery.”

While he was sharing his experiences, he was at the same time reading a devastating story of one of the restaurants, ViaVia, that closed shop a week earlier. “It is hard,” he says and posses. “It is very hard brother,” he insists and walks away.

Business

Rwanda’s Weekly Agro Exports Performance

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Last week Rwanda shipped out various tonnes of horticultural products coffee and tea fetching an impressive amount of foreign revenue.

According to National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) mandated to develop and enhance Rwanda’s agricultural exports, Last week Rwanda exported 255,298Kg of horticultural products which earned U$441,679.

Details show the Main Countries of destination of Rwanda’s horticultural products were mainly Holland, United Kingdom, DRC, Germany, among others including USA, UAE, France, Uganda, Belgium, Tanzania and Denmark.

A total of 431,107Kg of Rwanda Coffee worth U$1,383,622 was exported compared to previous week, export quantities and revenues increased by 86.2% and 83.9% respectively. 52.2% of the consignment was fully washed. Destinations: China, UK, Belgium, Russia, Kenya, South Sudan & Nigeria.

Meanwhile, 449,000Kg of Rwanda Tea  were exported generating U$1,146,118. Compared to last week, the average price slightly reduced from U$2.78/Kg to U$2.5/Kg. Main country buyers were Pakistan, and UK among others.

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Business

Tanzania Unveils Aggressive Plan For Livestock

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Tanzania has announced that it is seeking to revamp its livestock subsector with the aim of making it more profitable.

Dr. Jonas Kizima the Acting Director-General of Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (Taliri) said on Tuesday that Preliminary studies have discovered that most industries in the livestock products category are performing shoddily due to poor production and supply of raw materials.

The Tanzanian government said it is embarking on implementing a special five-year programme (2021-2025) to push for improvement of the livestock industry.

“The programme seeks to enable stakeholders in the beef and dairy cattle chains in all regions of to improve their performance by adopting better technologies and practices so that they can stand a professional chance to meet actual raw material demand in the livestock industry,” Dr. Jonas Kizima said.

Tanzania is therefore arguing that it is going to introduce and help livestock keepers across the country to raise hybrid animals, provide best animal health services, animal compounded and feeds, put in place animal husbandry infrastructure, improve milk handling, grazing systems and maintain good diary animal genetics.

“Inbreeding is the biggest technical challenge livestock keepers are facing- it is detrimental to livestock,” Dr Kizima noted.

The new agenda is in compliance with President John Magufuli’s directive issued to revive and promote animal industries for the next five years in the coastal East African country.

According to Concerns by Magufuli at least 90% of animal skins and skins produced in Tanzania were of very poor quality due to poor slaughtering methods.

Magufuli says he is seeking to motivate investors from within and outside the country to invest in meat industries, but also in leather production and other animal products such as hoofs.

Under this new program, Tanzania wants to construct seven major abattoirs in different regions with the capacity to slaughter at least 6700 cows and 11000 goats per day.

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Business

Global Oil Prices Fall Ahead of OPEC Meeting

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As the alliance of Oil producing countries under OPEC meet on Thursday, global oil prices have reportedly fallen according to sector experts.

Details indicate that the alliance is expected to loosen the taps after prices got off to their best ever start to a year.

But it’s unclear how robustly the group will act, with the Saudi Arabian energy minister calling for producers to remain “extremely cautious.”

The market continues to face risks in the near term. China’s Unipec was re-offering cargoes of April Angolan crude amid weaker sales.

Diesel demand in India was also down versus a year earlier amid record pump prices in the country. Both point to a limit on some of the recent firmness seen within the oil market.

“Now that oil’s back at $60, there’s going to be a push to wean off of those cuts,” said Stewart Glickman, energy equity analyst at CFRA Research.

“The question is how much are they going to bring back. The biggest risk is if supply presumes we’re back to pre-pandemic demand in 2021 and that turns out not to be the case.”

Still, there has been a raft of bullish calls in recent weeks predicting the rally will continue as the producer response trails consumption, while maintenance in North Sea fields is set to further reduce supply.

There are also some signs that demand is starting to pick up. U.S. gasoline demand jumped by 1 million barrels a day last week to 8.76 million barrels a day, a level comparable to March 2020 before the pandemic, according to Descartes Labs.

“People have become very optimistic about the ability of OPEC+ to manage a return to a balanced market,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research.

The market continues to “see improved demand down the road and OPEC+ not oversupplying the market as they ramp up again.”

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies must decide how much output gets restored — and at what pace — with current reductions amounting to just over 7 million barrels a day, or 7% of global supply.

The 23-nation coalition will choose whether to revive a 500,000-barrel tranche in April, and in addition, whether the Saudis confirm an extra 1 million barrels they’ve taken offline will return as scheduled.

Citigroup Inc. thinks the coalition will boost output by about 500,000 barrels a day next month, with Saudi Arabia unlikely to continue its voluntary curbs.

“A higher oil-price environment, an increasingly promising demand picture by summer, and the recovering but still growing U.S. oil production outlook for 2021 should give OPEC+ the confidence to slightly increase supply,” said Louise Dickson, an analyst at consultant Rystad Energy AS.

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