Kigali — Uchumi Supermarkets, a Kenyan based mass retailer, will soon open another branch in Rwanda. According to company sources, the move is intended to grow business and promote entrepreneurship through dealing with local suppliers and industry.
Jonathan Ciano the Managing Director Uchumi supermarkets said: "Our entry to Rwanda started when our shares were cross listed in Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE), and it is our intention to open the first operating supermarket as soon as any of the two signed sites agreements with developers are ready. This should be done by November/December this year."
On the 19th April 2014, Uchumi supermarkets and Champion Investment Corporation (CHIC) which is in charge of constructing the shopping complex from which the supermarket will operate signed an agreement to lease the building. Present during the signing were Uchumi MD, CEO CHIC Tharcisse Ngabonziza, and City of Kigali Vice Mayor Alphonse Nzeyimana.
"Our heads of State in East Africa Community signed market protocol a few years ago and it is time commercial organizations and our people view themselves as one market," Ciano said.
Ciano said Rwanda had a good business environment and therefore is an attraction to Uchumi supermarkets. he said it was good to make available alternative shopping experience to Rwandans.
In terms of investment, Ciano said they company is investing in manpower development, growth of working capital and contributing to wealth creation. According to Ciano, total employment directly will be up to 500 farmers and SMES. But indirectly the company intends to target about 2000 farmers and SMEs.
"We have a focus of opening up a of minimum six outlets in the country," Ciano said. Under the terms of agreement signed, Uchumi shall be the anchor tenant of the shopping complex and this is where its headquarters will be located.
Ciano said Uchumi supermarkets Ltd is the only listed operator in the region and anyone can own a part of the supermarket by buying sections. The size of the space to be occupied by Uchumi shall be about 3,000 square metres. The supermarkets will be operating in almost all the East Africa countries when Rwanda falls in line.