Lakeside Fish Farm Reaches Major Milestone

Lakeside, which will be the most advanced commercial fish farm in East Africa and the largest in Rwanda, yesterday achieved a major milestone with the introduction of its first Tilapia fingerlings to the newly constructed hatchery ponds and facility.  Further construction is ongoing in accordance with the business plan.

Reaching this point is an important step for the high-growth start-up, which plans in 2012 to begin provision of millions of fingerlings to government institutions for regional lake stocking programs, and to provide two varieties of table fish for consumption by local consumer markets.

Roger Shaw, the founding entrepreneur and Managing Director of the enterprise was elated at this critical development: “This is a key objective to completing our first stage. Now we are a real fish farm.”

Karisimbi Partners has supported this project from its earliest stages, currently focused on market development, financial analysis and capital raising.  Interested parties are encouraged to contact

Tilapia fingerlings being released into a Lakeside Fish Farm hatchery pond

Karisimbi Partners featured in the largest Rwandan daily newspaper

The New Times recently sat down with the three founding partners of Karismbi Business Partners to track progress of the firm over the past two and a half years and to get some better insights regarding business and development in the country. The story, published today, is a follow up to a similar one that was published by the New Times Newspaper soon after the three partners had first arrived in Rwanda. Read the feature here.

The three founding partners of Karisimbi Business Partners

Visa adds to what is becoming a common theme for Rwanda as the “ideal testing ground”

Visa Inc, the worlds’ biggest bank-card network, last Monday unveiled a partnership with the Government of Rwanda to expand its business and service offerings in the country.

The company will modernize the nation’s payments network under an accord with the government, working with partners to upgrade automated teller machines, install merchant card readers, develop e-commerce capabilities and provide financial education, said Elizabeth Buse, Visa’s group president responsible for most business outside the Americas.

But more interesting than Visa’s operational plan for Rwanda is the motivation underlying their decision to expand in Rwanda; Buse continued:

“Our intent is to take what we are doing in Rwanda and repeat it across other developing economies. [Visa] chose Rwanda, because of its friendliness toward private enterprise, stable regulatory structure and smaller population.”

Visa is just the next in a long list of companies who are viewing Rwanda’s positive business and investment climate, stability and small size as an opportunity to test and launch models that can be replicated elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa.

What Visa didn’t explicitly mention but undoubtedly also held sway in their decision was Rwanda’s high population density, enabling companies to reach a large number of customers over a relatively small geography, as well as its single language, Kinyarwanda, spoken by the entire population. The latter benefit has enormous implications for advertising and business management, especially when compared with other countries in Africa (companies operating in Rwanda’s neighbor Uganda, for example, have to deal with 43 different languages spoken across the country).

Karisimbi Business Partners has become an asset for multinationals hoping to take advantage of the opportunities that Rwanda offers. In early 2011 KBP implemented a pilot sales and marketing campaign for solar panels manufacturer ToughStuff which resulted in the company investing in a Rwandan operation and acting as a launchpad for sales in neighboring Burundi and DR Congo (read the ToughStuff case study here). Currently, Karisimbi Partners is in the midst of a full market and feasibility study for a multinational and publicly-traded agri-processor that could lead to a multi-million dollar investment by the company.

As the continent continues to develop the business environment will only become more attractive to multinationals who see Africa as “the next frontier,” and Rwanda will continue to serve as a testing ground and launchpad for those business models.

Read the Visa article here.

Rwanda, United States Ratify Investment Treaty

Rwanda and the United States have strengthened their economic ties, thanks to a recently ratified trade agreement. The U.S.-Rwanda BIT is the first BIT that the United States has signed with an African country in nearly a decade. It will be the sixth to enter into force with a partner in sub-Saharan Africa. The United States currently has BITs in force with Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, the Republic of Congo and Senegal.

Go to the article here.

Report ranks Rwanda least corrupt nation in East Africa

A global report on graft released on Thursday last week by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has ranked Rwanda the 4th least corrupt country in Africa and among top fifty ‘clean’ countries in the world. Rwanda has fought corruption in the country with tenacity and at a rate that is unparalleled in the world today.

Read the article here.

Agri-business opportunity for Africa

In this article, Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization makes the case that, “an agribusiness development strategy focused on higher-value output and stronger productivity growth throughout the value chain represents one of the best opportunities for rapid and broad-based economic growth and wealth creation in Africa. It also may be one of the few local pathways out of poverty for small farmers.”

Karisimbi Partners works regularly with businesses and government institutions to make this strategic thinking a reality here in Rwanda and the region.

Read the article here.

Rwanda fares well in Africa corruption report

The country has seen remarkable progress in its campaign against corruption and bribery, to the recognition of Transparency international and other global watchdogs. Botswana, Cape Verde and Mauritius are still top among African nations on the list compiled by global watchdog Transparency International, but Rwanda ranked fourth after scoring a 5.0 on the chart that ranks countries from sleazy zeroes to virtuous 10s.

Read more.