What are some of the challenges of setting up business in Rwanda?

Rwanda has been touted as one of the easiest places to do business. In November last year, World Bank ranked Rwanda 29th globally in the ease of doing business, maintaining its second position in Africa.

However, starting a new business can be as terrifying as it is exciting. Startups, at any given time, can come up against a number of common challenges.

Sharon Kantengwa asked about the challenges people face while setting up businesses in Rwanda.

Some people are not entrepreneurs, they are looking for too much profit at one ago, which is impossible. Other business people do not take the time to do market research before starting a business while some lack basics skills like customer care.

However, business people in Rwanda also face a challenge of competition which is very high, yet the purchasing power is low, accessibility of capital is still a challenge and bank interests are very high.

David Muhinda, businessman


The biggest challenge we face is in packaging and labelling of Rwandan products. We are sometimes forced to find other companies outside of Rwanda to help us package and label our products which affects our growth because we need to deliver on time.

The other challenge is training our employees to mind deadlines which takes time for them to master yet, we need to meet clients’ expectations.

Solange Nisingizwe, co-founder Sol & Wax


Raising capital is a challenge, and so many office buildings are empty because many startups cannot afford them.

Also, finding good employees, with skills and capacity, depending on the type of business is a challenge which is why big companies are hiring people from other countries.

While developing the vision and business ideas, we need to learn more about the business, one shouldn’t start a business simply because they have money, that is not enough.

Jemima Kakizi, artist and fashion designer


Limited access to finance, especially for SME’s. It’s difficult for SMEs to acquire loans from financial institutions due to different factors such as lack of or limited securities. Thus limited entry and maintenance of business.

Competition and limited market availability due to customer tastes and preferences and international products, are also a hindrance. Limited raw materials and resources to boost business, particularly production firms, and high import dependence, are also a challenge.

Inconsistent application of tax incentives and tax import duties are usually high, and then there is high advertising costs.

 Adrian Busingye, CEO East African Grocers Ltd