KIGALI, August 25 – Supermarket chain Nakumatt Holdings has opened a Sh204 million branch in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Kenyan -headquartered supermarket chain, which has announced plans to cover the Pan African market in the coming years, officially opened the doors to the 24 hour supermarket outlet at the Union Trade Centre (UTC) in Kigali City.
The opening ceremony held on Saturday serves to formally crystallise Nakumatt Holdings East Africa regional expansion plan.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Rwanda’s Minister for Trade and Industry Monique Nsanzabaganwa, confirmed that Nakumatt’s entry had been made possible by the Rwanda government’s ongoing private sector investment policy reforms.
The Rwanda government, she explained, is now taking the lead in the facilitation of private sector development by ensuring a conducive business climate. Such a climate, she further stressed, is geared at ensuring the rapid growth of business related investments in Rwanda.
“The government of Rwanda has already achieved a range of investment reforms necessary for rapid growth of business and many more are still under review,” Nsanzabaganwa said.
She added: “The entry of Nakumatt to this market is a clear indication of the government’s commitment to foster private sector development and is a hundred percent in line with the Kigali City 24 hour policy.”
Kenya’s Ambassador to Rwanda Alex Keter also confirmed that the regional governments had moved to initiate national and regional measures to address the relatively high cost of doing business in the region.
The new Nakumatt City Centre outlet covering a shopping floor space of more than 25,000 square feet is the first operational Nakumatt outlet outside Kenya with plans to open similar stores in Uganda and Tanzania now at an advanced stage.
Speaking during the formal opening of the new branch, Nakumatt Holdings Operations Director Thiagarajan Ramamurthy described the opening of the new store as a milestone.
Nakumatt Holdings, Ramamurthy disclosed, will be investing more than US$20 million in the East Africa expansion plan, which will see the chain opening 3 branches in Uganda, 2 in Rwanda, 4 in Tanzania and raising its Kenyan network to 30 in the next two years.
“Through this supermarket, we shall also be focusing our energies on the transfer of global retail best practices to the Rwandan retail marketplace,” Ramamurthy said.
“Such international best practices will be undertaken alongside a very strategic effort to foster the growth of local manufacturers and producers.”
With the opening of the new Nakumatt City Centre branch in Kigali city, Nakumatt Holdings has managed to attain an East Africa presence on schedule while raising its total branch tally to twenty.
The Supermarket chain’s entry to Rwanda is a culmination of an investor partnership programme spearheaded by the Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA).
RIEPA Director General Francis Gatare described Nakumatt’s entry into Rwanda as a very rich harvest.
The RIEPA boss expressed optimism that Nakumatt’s entry into the Rwanda market will facilitate further development in the country’s retail sector as envisioned in the Rwanda Vision 2020 development blueprint.
“To us, the launch of Nakumatt in Rwanda is like a very rich harvest for the good farmer. Today’s launch follows a period of great partnership between RIEPA and Nakumatt throughout the sequence of their investment interest and execution,” Gatare said.
And added: “We applaud them for believing in and experiencing Rwanda’s vision and determination to provide the best environment for business operators.”
Nakumatt has 19 branches in Kenya’s major towns of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Meru and Kisii.