As 2009 comes to a close within corporate Rwanda, business leaders are dealing with how to embrace a new jargon within their working sites- competition.
For those wishing to stay on top of their game, competition will carry a lot of weight come 2010 when its true levers start biting.
One can say with some level of confidence that since the birth of the Rwandan nation competition has never really defined how business leaders design their strategies.
Even some of the known leading brands and businesses which have been around for decades, have never had their entities subjected to perfect competition in the true sense of the word.
Well, as far as things are unfolding, that is going to be history. Competitiveness will come in many ways. As Rwanda integrates with the East African Community markets, virtually all the sectors of the economy will have to develop a perfect competition structure.
Market distortions of yester years in which comfort zones that bordered on complacency will naturally give way to reconfiguration.
This, in a way will force very many business leaders as well as corporate board rooms to embrace more market insights to stay afloat if they want to survive.
The encouraging prospect about competition that I could notice was when I went to Nyabugogo to pick a parcel from one of the bus companies. Nyabugogo is a beehive of entrepreneurship; and this very location has been chosen as the staging ground for the raging battle for telecom supremacy.
That was last Friday. Just outside the taxi park MTN had pitched tent and were shouting on top of their voices.
They were trying to show presence to the gaunt hawkers within down town Kigali and other small scale traders, call it their turf. While I was asking myself why MTN was behaving crazy in down town Nyabugogo, shouting relentlessly on top of their voices, I noticed that the reason was up the street.
Competition had dictated their behaviour. Tigo was marking its territory within Nyabugogo. Like the new kid on the block, Tigo by pitching camp within Nyabugogo was spawning new ways of conducting telecom business.
For one I am being told that Tigo has a Rwf300 Top Up card, the lowest airtime denomination so far.
To make their power play and gain entry, Tigo has instead decided to attack the bottom of the pyramid within telecoms. Nyabugogo is perfect ground to kick off this strategy.
Later on Monday, what I found out was equally satisfying. While I was heading back to work after lunch I saw that Tigo was this time attacking the top echelons of the market; they had pitched camp at UTC.
The response from MTN is proof enough that perfect competition is good for the consumer.
Their adverts are saying it clearly. Competition has forced MTN to announce an early Christmas. That must be the very first time X-mas goodies are being dished out this early in Rwanda. Competition indeed, is a very refreshing encounter.
Fred Oluoch-Ojiwah is a journalist with The New Times