Is it Possible for a Country to Dream Too Big?

Hope is required for big dreams, and Rwanda is certainly a small country that dreams big.  As exciting as it is to be in a place with so much collective momentum toward a common goal to alleviate poverty, it seems healthy to ask if it is possible to dream too big.

At the end of Rwanda’s Vision 2020 document, the author(s) seemingly anticipate the reader’s response to their audacious dreams.

”…Some will say that this is too ambitious and that we are not being realistic when we set this goal. Others say that it is a dream. But, what choice does Rwanda have? To remain in the current situation is simply unacceptable for the Rwandan people. Therefore, there is a need to devise and implement policies as well as mobilize resources to bring about the necessary transformation to achieve the Vision.”

Certainly Rwanda has more justification to dream big than most:

  • Rwanda had little, and lost even more, in the terrible genocide of 1994
  • It is ‘unacceptable’ for a dignified people to maintain the status quo in such poor conditions
  • You cannot underestimate the impact of one good leader in office for many years (especially in Africa today)
  • When starting from such poverty, any improvement is striking
  • It is easy to impress when the world expects little, and similar countries in the region disappoint
  • In a small country, with a common local language and culture, collective progress is easier
  • If you could succeed in Rwanda, you may establish a model that could be translated to other countries needing rapid development
  • To try and fail is better than not to try at all (or to aim low and hit the target)

I happen to believe, on the whole, Rwanda’s leaders have good intentions: they genuinely want, first and foremost, what is best for Rwandan citizens.  As a result, I like the direction that the leaders of Rwanda dream.  Dreams pursued with the wrong motivations are certainly problematic, but I don’t believe that is the case here.

Unfortunately, I do believe there can be some “downsides” to dreaming big.  Chief among them comes with initial success.  In right measure it is called confidence, but it can easily slide down the slippery slope into “pride”.  Without discounting the successes Rwanda has achieved, I cannot help but be disappointed by some decisions taken in recent years.  Why do the main roads from the airport get paved and re-paved so often when many of the roads that non-visitors (i.e. residents) travel remain nearly impassable?  English has been made the official language for education in schools, but couldn’t the transition be handled in a smoother, more professional fashion? Does Kigali City really need the cost and size of the current Master Plan, one that might rival such prescriptions for a developed country?  Does RwandAir really need a large luxury “787 Dreamliner” super-jet (recently publicized to join the fleet in 2015)?

In our work, Karisimbi Partners has seen enough over-development of agri-processing plants (beyond realistic demand) and luxury hotels (room capacity under development far outstrips current occupancy levels) to suggest that more careful and measured spending, by public and private entities alike, would be a better way to achieve Rwanda’s grand dreams without the perception of vanity spending commonly attributed to the ruling elite in other African countries.

Big dreams can be realized, and can inspire amazing achievements, but if the dreams are associated with a moral failing (pride), they will quickly lose their inspirational characteristics.  It would be wonderful to see Rwanda claim its place as a world leader, but to do so at a pace that accommodates the current realities on the ground.  Even grand ambitions benefit from a reasonable action plan, especially if they hope to be sustained.

Onward and upward,

– Carter

Sales Process for a Multi-Million Dollar Tea Plantation and Factory


An owner of one of Rwanda’s premier producers of black tea was interested in selling his stake in the company, and was in need of targeted advisory services in order to successfully achieve the following:

  • Clearly defining the opportunity for prospective buyer(s)
  • Valuing the equity stake
  • Marketing the opportunity to strategic and financial buyers
  • Engaging a shortlist of prioritized bidders
  • Supporting in the due diligence process
  • Negotiating and closing a deal

Karisimbi Partners Approach

Clearly defining the opportunity for prospective buyer(s)

The Karisimbi Partners team engaged with company management in an effort to analyze and understand every aspect of the business, from past financial performance, to current operations, to future opportunity. Through contact with company management, industry experts, government officials and other stakeholders in the local, regional and global tea industry, Karisimbi Partners identified and quantified several viable growth opportunities that could be realized by the future owners. These were codified into an Offering Memorandum to be distributed to interested parties, as well as a Company Profile Brief to market the opportunity without disclosing confidential information.

Valuation of the Equity Stake

Karisimbi Partners developed full financial projections with multiple scenarios estimating the future cash flow potential of the business. This was combined with internationally accepted methods of valuation, including Discount Cash Flow and Internal Rate of Return, customized for the Rwandan context. Karisimbi Partners then performed extensive investigation into historical tea factory transactions in Rwanda and the region and identified eight comparable transactions to be used as a baseline in determining the value of the tea company. This range of values was presented to the owner along with the professional opinion of the Karisimbi Partners team as to potential offers he might receive and negotiation strategies he could employ for the business.


Karisimbi Partners delivered a detailed Offering Memorandum and Company Brief utilized by the owner to market the company to local and international prospective buyers. The team then identified 34 potential strategic buyers engaged in the tea value chain that would have a high probability of interest in acquiring a Rwandan tea producing company, as well as 40 potential financial buyers whose stated target geographies/industries and preferred deal size made them likely to be interested in the company. Contact details for relevant managers were acquired and different contact strategies developed. Within 30 days multiple formal bid offers were received by the owner with additional offers expected and currently under review.

Kagame unveils model granite factory

President Paul Kagame officially inaugurated East African Granite Industries earlier this month, which immediately upon opening became the largest granite factory in the region.

Built on 72 hectares in Nyagatare district in the eastern province, the US$ 15 million factory was constructed via a joint venture between Crystal Ventures and Rwanda Social Security Board.

Read more about the new factory by following the link.

A big day for Karisimbi Partners in Nyagatare

Early July proved to contain a very big day for the Karisimbi Business Partners team in the Rwandan district of Nyagatare.

The President of Rwanda spent that day touring and inaugurating two new additions to Rwanda’s thriving business environment. One was a four-star hotel; the other, a brand new granite factory. But these two very dissimilar companies had one very interesting thing in common: the business plans and marketing strategies for both companies were developed by Karisimbi Partners.

The 61-room, four-star “Epic Hotel” brings a quality standard to a region of the country that was void of it until its development. East African Granite Industries is the newest, and largest, entrant to the growing domestic and regional market for granite products.