One of Rwanda’s best known juice makers and mineral water bottlers, Inyange, is currently in the process of unveiling a new state of the art plant that will have the capacity to produce five times the current capacity for its juice and mineral water brands while giving Inyange the ability to add new products into its product line.

The new plant is nearing completion with the installation of machinery planned for completion in October. While the new plant is supposed to be commissioned in the final quarter of 2008, full production is expected in the first quarter of 2009. The new plant will have several production lines and will be able to mass produce new products that will be unveiled to coincide with its opening.

The mineral water and juice lines will have the ability to bottle the products at an impressive capacity of 13,000 bottles an hour. This will be the largest industrial capacity in Rwanda and will ultimately reduce the cost to the customer. The newly designed bottles will be recyclable along with being more stylish.

The Tetra Pak line (UHT- Ultra High Temperature) will produce juice in cartons that will compete with more established foreign brands such as Ceres, Splash and Kenylon. The wide product range in the juice category will include syrup, a ready to drink carton and a low-calorie product for the more health conscious. The capacity of this line is 5,000 packs an hour and about 80% of this output is geared towards the export market.

Since most of these new Tetra Pak products are intended for the export market the branding and product quality are high standard and comparable to any imported brand. There are also plans to export 200 liter drums of concentrated juice to other African and Western countries.

Mineral water from the mountains of Byumba will continue to be bottled at the plant but there are also plans to produce table-water.

The other part of the plant will be dedicated to dairy products and there is a new product range as well. A UHT line to produce long-life milk in Tetra Pak cartons will be installed.

In a country like Rwanda UHT milk is particularly popular because its ability to stay fresh without refrigeration. This UHT milk line will be able produce up to 5,000 packs an hour and will cater for the needs of the local and export market. Three types of milk will be produced to cater for varied tastes; a skimmed (no fat), semi-skimmed (low-fat) and whole milk.

Inyange will continue to produce pasteurized milk but in a new package which will be opaque to protect the milk from damaging ultraviolet rays. Yogurt will also be produced in 250ML and 120ML containers. Yogurt is also going to be available in various flavors such as strawberry, apricot, vanilla and pineapple. Ice-cream, in several flavors, will be produced in the plant as well and will no doubt be a popular addition to the products on sale. Cream and butter will also round off Inyange’s product range.

Inyange is looking forward to the challenge of running this high-tech plant and is doing all that is necessary to achieve this.

Inyange is negotiating with local suppliers to ensure the raw materials of milk and fruit can be provided and it is working with local cooperatives to ensure supply. Inyange are now seeking to expand the skills base of its employee’s because the new plant will require a high level of expertise; it fully intends to employ locals and train its staff highly.

The new plant will employ 120 people but will also employ hundreds more indirectly as suppliers, logistical support and providers of other services. The current Inyange site will remain in use as a depot and is undergoing renovation.


Housing on the Rise

The housing industry in Rwanda is still very fragmented, with the majority of construction being undertaken by private under-capitalized firms and individuals as opposed to large-scale property developers. Planned settlement comprises a meager 7%, whereas the remaining 93% is catered to by spontaneous settlements. For the most part, individuals are allocated plots and they build according to their convenience, taste and capacity, irrespective of the area. The results are pockets of areas with slum huts next to good houses in otherwise high-priced communities. However, residential estates are slowly sprouting up through public institutions, such as the Social Security Fund of Rwanda, limited liability companies such as Rwanda Housing Bank, and a few private players such as Real Contractors, TRA Estates, STIPPAG, Kigali Top Mountain, the GOBOKA Housing Co-operative, etc.  Despite this upward trend, the market is still largely under-served. It will therefore be expedient for collaboration between local and foreign real estate developers, in conjunction with the Ministries of Infrastructure and Local Administration to develop well-planned residential estates with all the appropriate services. 

Another issue the industry has to confront is the cost of construction. Materials are mostly imported and so are skilled experienced personnel. The current cost of construction is estimated at $400 per m². 

Several studies carried-out by UN Habitat in conjunction with concerned organs of Government on housing needs show that the market potential is huge, though the repayment capacity remains a challenge. Another issue yet to be resolved is the provision of long term financing by lending institutions. 

All these issues emphasize the need for a specialized institution such as Rwanda Housing Bank (RHB) with longer terms and cheaper financing resources to mitigate this problem. The mortgage industry in Rwanda is quite undeveloped and unsophisticated, with RHB being the only institution specializing in mortgage finance. 

RHB was established in 1975 to serve as a governmental instrument for the implementation of sect oral policies of social housing and offering of mortgage loans. Like most Rwandan institutions, it was severely affected by the war and genocide of 1994; it lost staff, clients, assets, etc.  It has since undergone a restructuring aimed at cleaning up its financials and redefining its strategy and position on the national financial sector, and putting in place a strategic business plan to re-launch its activities. The new strategic actions that RHB has adopted evolve around an operational mission which is centered and adapted to its new image.

Its current share capital is 1,500,000,000 Francs (about 2.680 million USD). There is yet more capital increment scheduled for end 2007 that will target private investors, both local and foreign. This will be aimed at having the majority of shares in the Housing Bank in the hands of the private sector. 

In addition to its own resources, RHB mobilizes housing savings through Housing Savings Accounts (HSA) and Housing Savings Plans (HSP), housing deposits, and eventually, borrowings to finance the loans that are granted. Currently, RHB offers the following kind of loans: 

Home acquisition loans;

Home construction loans;

Home improvement or completion loans;

Diaspora home loans, a product called “Own a home at home”.  

The demand for housing in Rwanda today is quite high. The aforementioned 93% illustrates the amount of land available for development. In Kigali City alone, demand estimates are put at about 100,000 homes required to narrow the gap.  

With an annual increase of 10%, it comes to 10,000 units per year. Solvency is assured and conservative estimates value it at 10,000 units required per year.  

Homes that would sell at prices ranging from 25,000 USD to 80,000 USD would be sold off plan, as this is the affordability range for the medium to medium-high income earners.  

Mortgage financing can be available with a repayment period of up to 15 years. 

Construction of the houses is the responsibility of a professional property developer, be it national or foreign. Organizations such as RIEPA, the district authorities and other stakeholders are keen to collaborate in closing the housing gap.   

The housing gap can also facilitate in the soliciting of serviced plots of land and grant housing loans to qualifying beneficiaries. Other financial institutions have opened up as well. 

Charles Haba,

Business Development, Rwanda Housing Bank.



Come 2009, the craggy shoreline of Lake Kivu will be sporting a new hotel. While the establishment of a new hotel is generally a significant event, the bold design of Kivu Lake Hotel draws attention to itself. The structure is dominated by a long deck-like structure that extends into a pier on the lake. This structure is flanked on both sides by buildings that curve away from the centre so that viewed from the top, the whole hotel resembles a bow and arrow jutting into the lake. Continue reading



By Steven Nzaramba

2007 saw two large international conferences taking place in Kigali, the Women Parliamentarians International Conference and the AIDS Implementers’ Meeting. Is Kigali city becoming the next continental convention hub? For the moment that’s hard to say. The city’s claim to the title will be vastly boosted upon completion of the Kigali Convention Centre and Hotel as well as the adjoining IT Park and shopping centre.

For a long time, the nation’s capital has not had a landmark to make its own trademark. Even as Kigali, celebrates a century of existence, no one seems able to point at any feature of the city that it can use as a symbol. It appears that by the year 2009, Kigali will be able to point to a structure, distinctive for its uniqueness. At any rate, that is the idea. Continue reading