Businesses struggle to cope minus varsity students

Friday August 28 2020


Shops around the University of Rwanda campus in Gikondo. Photo | Cyril NDEGEYA 

More by this Author

Businesses around universities have closed down as most of their clients – students — are still unable to attend school due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the University of Rwanda accommodating close to 30,000 students in different campuses across the country businesses have experienced drops in sells of over 90 per cent.

Restaurants and Internet cafes in the universities have moved quickly to make changes to survive and offer services that are relevant.

Restaurants are staying connected to customers in various ways, including creating entirely new services, changing how they provide foodstuffs, and also encouraging placing of orders to tolerate the social distancing requirement until universities resume operations.

Even though these businesses serve students as their main consumers, they also serve regular people around the universities.

Shema Ismail, a third-year student at the University of Rwanda's College of Medicine and Health Sciences, owner of Golden INN internet café and an employee there, said they are adjusting to survive until normalcy returns.


He added that before Covid-19, he could offer different services to around 50 students per day, earn between Rwf 15,000 and 20,000 per day.

“One factor that has made it hard is that businesses have already been holding their breath with drops in sales over the past five months, I used to serve almost 20 students per day which earned me Rwf20,000 per day, but this time around I only work on orders to reduce expenses and loses that could come along due to lack of customers,” Said Umutoni Mary, owner of a restaurant located opposite the university.