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Kit Cody - Rwanda Ventures
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Kit Cody - Rwanda Ventures


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Kit Cody talks about Rwanda Ventures at AGDC

Kit Cody talks about Rwanda Ventures at AGDC

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  • BRIEF background: Boom, bust, ‘rational’ boom. Entrepreneur, startups, Internet companies, application development, etc.

    Relatively happy in my cloistered career when good friend emailed last year with a novel proposal: come run a company he founded. In Rwanda.

    For profit ‘social enterprise’ , mission to create sustainable businesses in partnership with local entrepreneurs. Maybe, tourism, maybe, fashion, maybe agribusienss, maybe high tech. Small staff. Seed funding for one year. Not much more.
  • First, a refresher on where it is. Small, landlocked, hot, hilly, most densely populated country in Africa.
  • But beyond that, my reference followed from one major event: GENOCIDE. I knew what had happened, how the world had responded, and that I personally wasn’t particularly engaged in 1994. Another African tragedy.
  • I knew there was guilt, equally shared by world leaders at the time.
  • And shame for ignoring reports, or refusing to intervene.
  • Otherwise I had all the nuance I needed from Don Cheadle, Nick Nolte and the narrow lens of Hotel Rwanda.
  • If I thought or heard about Rwanda in the ensuing 15 years, it was in the context of human tragedy: orphans, tribunals, war crimes, despair.
  • If there was any positive news, in terms of economic gains, it was received in the generic context of struggling Africans overcoming insurmountable odds with negligible resources. THIS WAS MY NIAVE, TYPICALLY AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE.
  • I certainly had no knowledge of any ‘data’, like this figure, which I might have assumed was, I don’t know, the fertility rate
  • Not economic growth
  • 11.2%! That’s not, as would say in my past life as consultant, an insignificant figure.
  • I certainly would not have imagined the capital as a modern day Beiruit, lush, green, CLEAN, safe, bustling with commerce and activity. This shot is looking away from about a dozen skyscrapers currently under construction in the city center.
  • Nor would I have expected to discover it was on a trajectory to become the most business friendly country in all of Africa. Not Rwanda. Not Hotel Rwanda!
  • So what is it? Post Genocide apocalypse, or Singapore in waiting (#1 on ease of doing business, and a frequently cited Kagame favorite). The answer is both.
    To really understand the business and social climate of modern Rwanda, it’s necessary to peel layer after layer off the onion.
  • As I mulled over the theme of this conference, and my relatively limited exposure to both social entrepreneurship and ideas that can positively change this patchwork of extremely diverse countries, and cultures and capabilities we call AFRICA, I had to resort to what I now know best….
  • COWS. I wouldn’t have guessed it but my life is inextricably intertwined with these animals, as is the case of most Rwandans. Cows are status, cows are currency, cows are dowry, and, for many in East Africa, the sole source of income. AND RWANDANS LOVE MILK!

    The story of cows in Rwanda is the story of Rwanda Ventures pursuit of positive change.
  • Cows are nothing new to Rwanda, of course. They have been vital to the commerce and nutrition of Rwandans for millennia. BUT it has not always been an easy ride for these envied beasts. If 1994 was a bad year for people in Rwanda, it was far worse for cows. They were wiped out. And their inevitable recovery is parallels in many ways the rebirth of Rwanda.

    By the way, you see these crazy cows with the big horns and think those can’t still exist, right?
  • WRONG. Here’s a common site in most famrs. This one, by admission of our partners in the dairy cooperative, one of the nicest and most ‘modern’ in all of western Rwanda. Which gets to the heart of challenges (and opportunities) confronting Rwanda.
  • THIS IS WHERE THEIR MILK COMES FROM! Not a celebrated tradition here in food handling or hygiene. Cows are part of the family. They lay in their shit and some of that comes along with the goodies, well so be it!
  • From the filthy cow, it gets decanted, typically into 20 liter plastic jugs, and humped on someone’s back until they find a willing buyer. Could be 1 km, or 20.
  • From the filthy cow, it gets decanted, typically into 20 liter plastic jugs, and humped on someone’s back until they find a willing buyer. Could be 1 km, or 20.
  • Don’t worry. There is some regulation. The milk guys queue up and pour off a baby bottles worth of their load, and ‘technicians’ like this have a hydrometer that they drop in. It won’t tell the bacteria count, or somatic cells, or even acidity. You won’t know if the milk has brucitis, or bovine TB, or hepatitis, or a host of other debilitating diseases, but you’ll know if water has been added.
  • In the background, a milk kiosk very similar to thousands like it throughout Rwanda. Behind the beaded curtain, a tall glass of Rwanda’s finest, presumed to be at least a few days fresh. Parked in front, the delivery vehicle.
  • Back to the good news, bad news…
  • Farmers need reliable markets to motivate better practices and husbandry.
    Need understand the value and susceptibility of milk.
    Create a grading system. Encourage suppliers to user best practices. TEST, TEST, TEST.
    Vital to the transformation of Rwanda as ‘knowledge-based economy’ is reforming existing knowledge and resources.
    Complete protein, with calcium, and fat content is essential. Fat accounts for only 8% calories in Rwanda, should be 30% for kids and 20% for women.
    Excellent vehicle for fortification and nutritional supplements. Stable medium, taste not affected.
    No product more compatible with Rwandan preferences. Tap into existing markets and distribution.
  • Own the Milk Value Chain: Produce, Collect, Process. Only by controlling every stage of production can quality be ensured and efficiencies/cost savings be fully realized
    There are virtually no competitors. Modern, private companies offering comparable products/services simply do not exist, which is why controlling the entire chain is so vital.
    All businesses to have clear, measurable social metrics, and stringent financial controls.
  • established, profitable, inputs.

  • Positive Change requires positive people.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Kit Cody – CEO +1 505-500-4644 twitter: @kitcody US: RWANDA: PO BOX 250782 BP 7393 NYC, NY 10025 KIYOVU, KIGALI +250 78.536.9860 +1 505.500.4644
    • 2. RWANDA?
    • 3. GUILT?
    • 4. SHAME?
    • 5. 11.2%
    • 6. 11.2% (real GDP growth rate, 2008)
    • 7. 11.2% (real GDP growth rate, 2008) (not China, RWANDA)
    • 8. Doing Business 2010: Rwanda is Top Global Reformer (Surpasses 76 Countries on World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index)
    • 9. © The New Yorker
    • 10. Ideas for Positive Change?
    • 12. SUPPLY CHAIN
    • 16. GOOD NEWS BAD NEWS Lots of Tradition, not Cows Business Passion Unhealthy for Milk Addiction
    • 17. An Idea for Positive Change. • Establish Cows as Business. • Reward Quality, Require Hygiene. • Modernize Existing Resources. • Use Milk as Nutrition Platform. • Create Brand Rwandans Trust. • Good for Farmers & Consumers. got • Rwandans LOVE Milk. milk!
    • 18. Kivu Enterprises End-to-End Quality, Control + Consistency INPUTS PRODUCTION COLLECTION DISTRIBUTION Livestock Feeds Tropical Grazing Milk Collection Fortified Milk & & Supplements Dairy Farms Centers Dairy Products Increases yields Improves quality Improves yield, Low cost, high for smallholder of milk, and yield quality, increases quality milk to farmers per hectare farmer incomes the masses
    • 19. CONCLUSION?
    • 20. Kit Cody – CEO +1 505-500-4644 twitter: @kitcody "In Africa today, we recognize that trade and investment, not aid, are the pillars of development.” Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda