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StArfrica startup exchange program from Germany to Rwanda | Zewdi

My recent trip to Rwanda was an amazing experience that I will never forget. From November 16 to 23, 2022, I had the opportunity to take part in the StArfrica - Startup Germany-Africa exchange week and meet with many inspiring individuals. From meeting with the generous and knowledgeable Ambassador Dr. Thomas Kurz of the German Embassy in Kigali, to Deputy Head of Mission Peter Primus and representatives of the European Business Chamber of Rwanda, I had a wealth of insight into the country and its culture. This event provided me with the perfect platform to learn more about the country's businesses and culture, as well as a chance to launch my own company in Rwanda.

I started my journey in Kigali, the capital city. Its cleanliness and modern infrastructure blew me away. One of my most memorable moments was my visit to Norrsken, Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali powered by Evonik Stiftung – this incredible collaboration between Rwandan entrepreneurs and international business leaders is proof that great things can be achieved when different parties come together for a common goal. This was during Global Entrepreneurship Week. I also enjoyed learning about how sustainable farming can assist local communities at Sina Gerard/Ese Urwibutso near Muzane. The legal counsel I received from Marc Mudhahemuka was invaluable in navigating the local laws, regulations, and trade-related issues, while the course on how to conduct business in Rwanda gave me an invaluable understanding into their economy and commerce’s intricacies.

This trip gave me confidence that Rwanda has all it takes to be a leader in Africa's economic growth in years to come. The StArfrica Incubator facility at the University of Rwanda Remera Campus was eye-opening. During my stay, I got to witness firsthand how this nation is so kind, orderly, secure and modernized despite having gone through difficult times. Every Rwandese person I met treated me with great respect – something which was truly remarkable and deeply touching for me. The business contacts I made in Rwanda were formed quickly and easily via Whatsapp – something which proved very useful for networking within this tech-savvy nation.

The Rwandese people also seem to have a deep appreciation for nature – both in cities and rural areas – always keeping it clean and neat as if it were a conservation area. At the event, I also had the opportunity to visit a women’s center that was founded in 2007. This center was created by resilient single mothers who have organized themselves against gender violence, providing training and education for 55 women while creating cloth and organizing walking tours. During our visit, we were all invited to the home of one of the founders where I got to meet a lovely couple from Martinique who had come there for a cooking class with us. On our way back from the center we stopped at a renowned Milk bar that provided delicious milk products for all citizens of Rwanda. It was great seeing how something as simple as milk can bring so much joy and satisfaction to all its patrons!

I also had a very informative visit to the genocide memorial where I learned about the tragic events that took place there a few decades ago. It made me realize even more how strong and resilient these people are; they have been able to pick up from such an incident and move forward with their lives.

Rwanda is also known for its wildlife attractions like gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park where 12 gorilla families can be spotted or safari rides that let you observe Africa’s “Big 5” animals - lions, leopards, buffalos, rhinos, and elephants – in their natural habitat. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do either due to time but it’s something I would highly recommend if you ever visit!

In conclusion, my experience in Rwanda solidifies my belief that this country is set to become a prime example of how nations can thrive during challenging times. With its advanced technology sector, beautiful nature reserves, and a strong sense of community ties, it is no wonder why more businesses are looking towards investing here soon!



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