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How This Coffee Shop In Kigali Navigates COVID-19 Storm




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.

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Most Expensive Home in America To Be Auctioned



The One mansion of the largest private homes ever built, with a colossal 105,00sq ft of living space will go to the highest bidder tonight during a public auction.

Once valued at $500 million, The One mansion in Bel-Air is being sold for $295 million and will be on the open market until it is auctioned off by Concierge Auctions, an online auction marketplace, from February 28 to March 3.

The home will be sold without reserve, meaning it will sell to the highest bidder. Even if it sells close to the price it’s listed at, it will surely break records.

Currently, billionaire and hedge fund tycoon Ken Griffin’s $238 million New York penthouse in 2019 holds the record as the most expensive U.S. home ever sold.

Developed by Nile Niami, the massive estate took more than 10 years to build and created massive debt for Niami. His development company, Crestlloyd, filed for bankruptcy last year, forcing the home to careen towards auction as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

However, the home still has about 12 more months of work. The buyer will have to put down nearly $340,000 as a deposit.

The Los Angeles home is one of the largest ever built, and is twice the size of the White House. It spans 105,000 square feet and the property sprawls over 3.8 acres.

Outdoor features include a moat of water on three sides of the home, five pools, a 10,000-square-foot deck and a 400-foot outdoor running track.

The home is more like a personal, private resort than a single-family home. There are a whopping 21 bedrooms, 42 full bathrooms and seven half bathrooms.

Despite its grandiose nature, there is a pared-down, neutral color palette throughout and calming water features.

Within the home, there are custom-curated artworks from artists Mike Fields, Stephen Wilson and glass artist Simoe Cenedese, to name a few. Soaring, 26-foot ceilings make the home feel even larger than it is (if that’s possible), and rooms are oversized and expansive.

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Rwanda-Uganda Full Trading Resumes



Full trading between Rwanda and Uganda is scheduled to resume on Monday January 31st following Kigali announcement that it had opened locks on its borders shut in March 2019.

“Rwanda has taken note that there is a process to solve issues raised by Rwanda, as well as commitments made by the government of Uganda to address remaining obstacles,” Kigali said in the statement.

Since the border closure Rwanda and Uganda recorded a significant reduction in trade flows and was further worsened by the covid-19 pandemic that struck a year after Rwanda had slammed its doors to the northern neighbour.

Before the border was closed in 2019, Uganda export revenues fetched from trading with Rwanda were valued over U$600million. During 2020 Uganda Exports to Rwanda was US$2.31 Million, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.

President Paul Kagame said in his new year address that Rwanda prospered in the economic front.

“We are beginning the year 2020 after a successful 2019.Our country remained safe as a result of our efforts”.

The Africa Development Bank in its 2019 outlook on Rwanda, projected robust growth prospects even as the standoff with Uganda heightened.

For example, Rwanda and Tanzania signed the standard gauge railway (SGR) deal dubbed, sub-Saharan Africa’s first 570 Km bullet line with Tanzania worth US$2.5 billion.

Also Rwanda by December 2019 signed a U$1.3 billion deal on Bugesera Airport with Qatar.

One of the biggest blows that Uganda suffered in its standoff with Rwanda was the emergence of Tanzania as Rwanda’s new major trading partner.

Uganda exports to Rwanda include; mineral fuels, oils, distillation products ,plastics ,textiles ,cereals , electronics, vehicles, machinery, fish, edible fruits, soaps, cement, lubricants, waxes, candles and an assortment of manufactured articles.

With the border slated for opening on Monday, the gesture is expected to boost  the movement of goods, transport, persons and services and under strict observation of restrictions against covid-19 pandemic.

How Museveni Lost to Kagame in Race For Regional Dominance

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Akabanga Tycoon Diversifies to Petroleum



Sina Gerard famed for producing the hot oiled pepper ‘akabanga’ has diversified into petroleum products, Taarifa Business desk reports.

Under a new company registered as Sina Gerard Petroleum Ltd, the tycoon’s decision indicates that he is reading from a good business book on diversification strategy.

Diversification is a business development strategy in which a company develops new products and services, or enters new markets, beyond its existing ones.  Companies diversify to achieve greater profitability.

Diversification will never be an easy game, and managers must study their cards carefully. It takes smart players to know when it’s best to raise their bets and when it’s best to fold.

Havard Business review research suggests that if managers consider the following six questions, they can push their thinking still further to reduce the gamble of diversification. Answering the questions will not lead to an easy go-no-go decision, but the exercise can help managers assess the likelihood of success.

The issues the questions raise, and the discussion they provoke, are meant to be coupled with the detailed financial analysis typical of the diversification decision-making process.

Together, these tools can turn a complex and often pressured decision into a more structured and well-reasoned one.

Thus, when managers consider whether or not to diversify, they should ask themselves the following questions:

What can our company do better than any of its competitors in its current market?

Before diversifying, managers must think not about what their company does but about what it does better than its competitors.

What strategic assets do we need in order to succeed in the new market?

To diversify, a company must have all the necessary strategic assets, not just some of them.

Can we catch up to or leapfrog competitors at their own game?

Will diversification break up strategic assets that need to be kept together?

Managers need to ask whether their strategic assets are transportable to the industry they have targeted.

Will we be simply a player in the new market or will we emerge a winner?

What can our company learn by diversifying, and are we sufficiently organized to learn it?

Like good chess players, forward-thinking managers will think two or three moves ahead.

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