Light at the end of tunnel at last as economy finally opens

Friday October 29 2021
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Demand for goods and services, especially in the hospotality industry, has started to increase, thus the profits. PHOTO | FILE

By Ange Iliza

Businesses in hospitality, retail and restaurants are beginning to pick up as the government continues to lift restrictions. 

The government has intensified vaccination drive to ensure the virus is contained even as the economic activities pick up.

The fresh air of hope was brought back by the Covid-19 vaccination and dropping numbers of deaths and Covid-19 infections.

With over 3,033,000 people inoculated with at least the first jab across the country and 99 percent of Kigali residents vaccinated, business people are coming back with ambition and hope.

Joselyne Gihozo, a retailer of second-hand clothes in downtown Kigali, is one of them.

Three months ago, she was making profit only to pay rent to retain her space in the market. Her income had dropped by 70 percent. She would spend a week without a single customer.


Today, her business is picking up. Wedding and party goers are coming to her for new styles.

“The fear to catch Covid-19, the rush to get home before curfew and all the Covid-19 paranoid is fading. I have not fully recovered yet but my income is on an upward trend. If it continues like this, I may resume paying back my bank loan in three months. The clientele is promising,” Ms Gihozo recounted.

In Kigali, where Gihozo’s shop is located, the curfew has been extended to midnight from 8pm two months ago.

Allowing her business to operate until 11pm. She is fully vaccinated, and so are the majority of her customers.

The situation is similar to restaurants. The demand has started to increase, thus the profits. Workers who had been laid off due to dropping number of clients and profits are now coming back to work

“Ever since the curfew was extended to 11pm and midnight with the bars open, we have seen an increase of over 20 percent in profits. The majority of our clients are no longer online orders. All of our staff are vaccinated with both doses and take the Covid-19 tests regularly to keep our restaurants and clients Covid-19-free,” said Desire Ngamije, owner of Meze Fresh restaurant.

Pursuant of the government's decision to gradually reopen businesses and public events, Rwanda Development Board issued guidelines for businesses to follow as they reopen.