Here is an extract many of you might be familiar with.
“Rwanda aims at having a successful private sector to drive the country’s bid to create prosperity for the average citizen by shifting from informal to formal businesses.”
It is against this background that the, Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (RPSF) created the Business Development Services (BDS) to assist, train and inform business persons.
This is a clear vision that is shared by all including government and development partners. RPSF therefore, is expected to play a crucial role in achieving a successful private sector.
The BDS are meant to serve, cooperatives and entrepreneurs by offering on top of the above mentioned financing facilitation, networking and consulting services.
RPSF promised that as the centres mature, additional services would be added as required in each region.
Not in Nyagatare! Munyemana Jean Pierre, the BDS Manager for the Nyagatare told me that, “We have good services to offer to our clients, who are the businesspersons in this district.
But very few seem to understand our importance. Even when we call meetings, the turn up is so miserable. They even have this funny tendency of asking if the seminar is to be accompanied by some cash. So that is how we are in our area.”
The attitude of Nyagatare businesspersons is actually not so different from the one we see in other districts in Rwanda. It all starts from the way they start doing business.
No one puts into consideration prior arrangements like a project proposal, before investing in a given business.
According to Munyemana, very few seek for expertise so that they do not embroil themselves blindly in business.
This probably explains why they end up bankrupt in short time.
Illiteracy and modern business are not good allies, which is why every failure thinks the last option, would be doing business. People have borrowed bank money only to end in trouble.
In Nyagatare bussines registered are quoted 106. Only 20 have gone to school, with two university graduates. ”Mind you, this is a good percentage compared to some districts.
So, with these levels of education in a very demanding institution, you expect challenges. They do not know the importance of consulting,” observed Munyemana.
As the old adage goes, “you can take a camel to the well, but you cannot force to drink”. It is up to the people of Nyagatare, especially leaders, to sensitize business people in the area, to match the required standards.
They can use the Umutara polytechnic scholars to help them in the process.
Currently BDS offices in Nyagatare are too off side, to attract the lazy businesspersons in the area. It would serve them better if the offices were shifted to the centre of the town, where people can easily read communiqués even when they never intended.
The issue of proximity in such environment makes a difference. Otherwise, Nyagatare BDS remains under utilised.