One of the simplest lessons I know in business is that population is representative of prospective customers. People need to consume goods and services if life is to go on. That being a default, anyone with business skills knows a good deal once they see people.
Places become trading centres once they have a critical mass that requires a range of goods and services. The efforts in meeting these needs are precisely what it takes to transform a village into a trading centre then into a town and maybe a city in the long run.
Kigali as a capital city is experiencing a lot of growth and changes. Some of the significant changes in the recent past saw the relocation of commuter taxis and minibuses from Rubangura’s stretch to the lower parts of the Central Business District close to Sulfo industries, “1930” prison, and Eto Muhima among others.
Suddenly, the mass of people that used to flock to Rubangura’s during the evening rush hour was no more. Soon after that, transport companies with offices in the Central Business District were also asked to relocate to the Nyabugogo main bus terminus where new offices had been constructed.
The above developments have seen the city centre less congested and on some days it may look like a ghost town compared to what it used to be. Consequently, the Nyabugogo area has seen a surge in its population.
Anyone who has been to Nyabugogo lately will concede that during the day, it is nothing but a sea of humanity. During the evening rush hour, the area gets so congested with both human and vehicular traffic you may think there is some kind of event that has drawn people to the area.
For a business person, Nyabugogo is simply a honeycomb full of opportunities waiting to be harvested. The sea of people is a mouth-watering opportunity for anyone willing to offer these people goods and services.
The fact that all those who used to go to the city centre to board buses belonging to Virunga, Volcano, Sotra and others are now to be found in Nyabugogo means that existing restaurants are likely to be overwhelmed with customers. A smart businessperson should be thinking of opening or expanding a restaurant in Nyabugogo.
Nyabugogo also serves as a terminal for international travellers heading to Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and DRC. With the borders now operating 24 hours, I believe this place is soon going to challenge Nyamirabo in the race to turn into a full 24 hour operating town.
The increased population will mean that banks in Nyabugogo will always be congested, thus the need for expansion. Most of them have branches that will soon seem too small for substantial operations.
Being the city and country’s main transport hub, the business community should be thinking along the lines of what the travellers and daily commuters need before and after their journeys. I am sure rent for office/shop space would rise with the assured profits for those operating in the area.
In the meantime, authorities should also be thinking of how to contain the traffic build up experienced there lately. Is it not time to accelerate the phasing out of small taxis (Nyakatsi)? All said and done, strategic investors should be planning for Nyabugogo’s masses.