The latest entrant-to-be on the posh Rwandan retail market is the bourse-listed Uchumi Supermarket, which seeks to flex its muscle almost five years after another Kenyan retail chain, Nakumatt supermarket, made landfall in the heart of Kigali.
According to Uchumi’s CEO, Jonathan Ciano, speaking from Nairobi, the supermarket is keen to further its interests in Kigali subsequent to the impressive scoring of its dual subsidiary base in two other East African nations bordering Kenya.
Uchumi may also make a dash for the Rwanda Stock Exchange, following the lead it has set back in its home country, by listing at the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
The Rwanda market has been a bittersweet welcome for the already established Nakumatt, which in its multinational status, has already cut to the chase as the largest retail outlet in the capital, courtesy of attractive subsidies that has other supermarkets receiving chiding by local consumers for their standard price tags.
Nakumatt entered the market in 2008, and took over City Supermarket and to date it has catered for local interests by having Rwandan staff numbering eighty-five.
Speculation is rife that Uchumi’s announcement for expansion may spur a rush from other retail chains in Kenya, including Tuskys who are eager to pursue their bedfellows, in trade, across borders. Indeed, one of the reasons that many foreign interests are setting base in Kigali is to escape the cutthroat rivalry in their home turfs. Nakumatt, for example, vaunts 20 branches in Kenya alone, besides having several chains in Tanzania and Uganda.
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has spread its arms wide open for investors from the region and hinted of the fact that its commitment and diplomatic engagement has been partial to the reason Uchumi, in particular, is willing to make the next move after Nakumatt. However, the board says that the supermarket’s plan is only at the budding period and may hatch soon.
Rwanda is not just whetting the wanderlust of supermarkets from Kenya, for financial establishments including KCB as well as the macro–and micro-financial institution, Equity Bank, have existing branches here.that is quickly seen taking shape as one of the best investment destinations in the larger opportune African continent.