Technologies Making Humankind More Equitable

Technology use to improve farming techniques has existed since the beginning of the technological revolution itself. Mapping of farms, specifically, to advance farmer knowledge and maximize yields has occurred since 1970 when satellites began processing weather data. Generally, only the most developed countries and large-scale farmers have access to this advanced technology. Barriers still exist in developing countries where smallholder farmers are unable to capture the value of technology due to deficiency of plot allocation, underdeveloped information networks, and overall lack of expertise in management of the tools. The impacts, however, can be significant. Drone technology provides an efficient means of increasing information available to farmers who do not have access to these metrics otherwise – the technology can assess for crop deficiencies and optimal harvesting times. Rwanda is a primarily agrarian economy, and increasing yields not only benefits the farmers but the overall economy. This is not only good for smallholder farmers but for the GDP of the country and its overall growth rate as well.

AgriLift infographicAgriLift is an agricultural technology company that uses drones to fly over farms and capture data. It then uses a web-based platform to analyze the data for diseases, crop growth and meteorological information. The captured information is sent back to farmers; allowing them to improve their techniques, maximize their resources and eventually their yields as well. Drone technology reduces the costs usually associated with constant crop monitoring, where satellite technology is expensive and often vulnerable to cloud coverage, and it can benefit people throughout the value chain, from farmers to processors, traders, input dealers, financial service providers and government.

Drone use in Rwanda has been highly reported on in the context of aiding delivery of essential medication to rural areas. Laws in Rwanda are highly favorable to the use of drones across all sectors. In the case of agriculture, the specific type of drone is not as important as how the information is processed and integrated into a farmer’s techniques. When considering agriculture development in Rwanda and East Africa, on the ground and implementable solutions that solve for an actual need and can be efficient in the long-term are crucial considerations. By simplifying the presentation of data and making it easily accessible, we are working to account for many of the problems that face development projects.

Countries with structural challenges are often the ones best equipped to take advantage of technological innovations coming out of the developed world. In Rwanda, the newest and most innovative technologies are being used to benefit the ones that would not have had access to it otherwise. AgriLift is using drone technology to impact the quality of life of those in the most rural areas. With investment in the private sector, Rwanda’s GDP is growing at a rate higher than developed economies. With a focus on using innovative technology to reach the country’s most in need, there is potential to become a middle-income country in the near term.

Artificial Intelligence and use of technology will play a role in changing and defining new ways to work and interact. There are countless applications of the technological revolution in the developing world – sustainable and efficient means of development. Rwanda is ready to reap the benefits of the technological revolution, and to implement the use of technology into its everyday life to create long-term sustainable changes that impact the lives of everyone.

Relaunching in 2017

2016 Team Photo

As our company faces a new and exciting period of growth, we are relaunching our website and blog to showcase this work, and to more broadly highlight economic development and entrepreneurship in Rwanda and East Africa. At this moment in time, development in Africa and its perception on a global scale is shifting. We are turning away from tradition and moving toward practical implementation and outcome-driven plans. In Rwanda, private sector development has been at the forefront of sustainable economic growth. Returns to shareholders are the definition of business success in the global economy. While our company aligns itself with this goal, we feel there are other equally important milestones to be met.

Karisimbi Business Partners is a socially motivated consulting and investment firm with the mission to alleviate poverty one business at a time. The work we do and sectors we cover are broad, but we have a deep knowledge of Rwanda’s economic development and have been closely involved in its growth over time. We advise government and private sector clients; we invest in companies like Asili Natural Oils, AgriLift, and Acacia Accounting, and we are business operators and managers for clients such as Abahizi Rwanda, a fashion products manufacturer supplying the Kate Spade On Purpose line. As a firm, we are more than just business advisors; we are owners, who live and work in East Africa, building businesses, involved in the day-to-day.

We started this firm with the mission of alleviating poverty through job creation. In the world of Impact Investing, there is a belief that Africa is the “next big market.” We believe there are other important milestones beyond accessing this growing market. While turning profit is of course proof that a business is viable, the real need in Rwanda and throughout the region is job creation. The discipline of a commercial mindset, coupled with intentionally valuing the “other” above the “self,” motivates our work. Yes, being part of Africa’s rise is strategic thinking for doing business, but changing people is strategic thinking for doing life, and that happens in the day-to-day, on-the-ground, shoulder-to-shoulder partnering with those same people.

The purpose of this relaunch is not only to renew our commitment to these goals, but also to share more broadly with the community of economic development professionals. Whether through the private sector trying to fill a need in an untapped market, or at an NGO managing a complex web of relief and development objectives, we all get out of the bed in the morning because we want to “change the world,” and that starts with thinking honestly about how are valuing the other ahead of ourselves.

For more information about Karisimbi Business Partners, please contact Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Dano Jukanovich: