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‘I started a fashion business from two suitcases’

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Jeroen Van Loon

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In 2018 one of Joselyne Umutoniwase’s biggest dreams came true when she was invited to the Milan Fashion Week

The BBC’s weekly The Boss series profiles different business leaders from around the world. This week we speak to Rwandan fashion designer Joselyne Umutoniwase.

In 2010, Joselyne Umutoniwase took a bold decision. She had been working as a film editor for five years but decided to follow her dream of becoming a fashion designer.

She made her first fashion collection and when she travelled from her home in Rwanda to Germany for a film scholarship, she took two suitcases stuffed with tops, skirts and dresses.

“The young Germans were fascinated about the style and the colourful African wax prints,” she says.

She sold the whole collection in three months.

“I didn’t know that I could earn serious money with selling my own creations,” she says from her business in Kigali.

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Jeroen Van Loon

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Joselyne bought cheap second-hand items and “separated all the parts to find out where the seams were and how these clothes were made”

Her German experience gave her enough confidence and a bit of financial help to make a career change.

She stopped working as a film editor, bought three sewing machines, hired two tailors and founded her own fashion brand, Rwanda Clothing.

Now, eight years later, she runs a workshop with 37 full-time tailors, selling off-the-peg items from $50-$120 (£40-£95).

Clothes captivated Joselyne, as she grew up in a middle-class family in Rwanda’s capital.

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Jeroen Van Loon

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“I didn’t know that I could earn serious money with selling my own creations,” Joselyne says

She bought cheap second-hand items nobody wanted, she says. “I separated all the parts to find out where the seams were and how these clothes were made.”

But with many items coming into Rwanda from China and India, she didn’t see it as a career, and instead studied film and, to keep her parents happy, IT.

Both her father and her uncle own several businesses. This inspired her to start a small hair-braiding outfit during high school.

But their experiences also showed her how things could go wrong. “I became very frustrated as a child, when my father had to close his butchery business because his business partner ran away with all the money.”

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Jeroen Van Loon

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Joselyne runs a workshop with 37 full-time tailors

Getting money together was also a challenge for her, as banks didn’t want to provide Rwanda Clothing with a loan.

“Fashion was an industry that nobody took seriously at that time,” she says, and from the banks’ point of view, “me as a 24-year-old woman being the founder wasn’t very convincing either.”

However, she had met lawyer and investor Roman Schulz during her 2010 visit to Germany. He was excited by her creative work and natural talent as a designer, believed in her and later became her business partner and husband.

They put $10,000 of savings together and she hired her first staff.

She does admit to making a few errors. For instance, her first two fashion shows.

“This was good and important but I didn’t necessarily need 25 models, a stage, free drinks and to invite a VIP. I could have done this in a more clever and cheaper way,” she says.

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Jeroen Van Loon

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Getting money together was a challenge for Joselyne, as banks didn’t want to provide Rwanda Clothing with a loan

“Joselyne always has an entrepreneurial aptitude and ambition above and beyond,” says Alice Nkulikiyinka, country director of Business Professionals Network Rwanda.

“Her company has grown steadily, offering secure jobs to more than 40 people. Joselyne established an internationally recognised fashion brand.”

In 2018, one of Joselyne’s biggest dreams came true when she was invited to the Milan Fashion Week.

“It was a victory to be there,” she says. “It felt like such a recognition for my work to present my collection on that catwalk.”

She says she would love to start selling internationally through an online shop but logistics make this a challenge.

“I wouldn’t be able to afford customers sending items back,” she says, which is hard to avoid in fashion.

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Jeroen Van Loon

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“The young Germans were fascinated about the style and the colourful African wax prints,” Joselyne says

She now plans to start an internet shop in Europe for homeware items and fashion accessories like scarves, pillows and bags. But she’s mindful not to forget her early clients.

“When you grow too quickly and disappoint existing customers, you can ruin your business.”

But her plans have been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis.

“We were forced to shut down during a total lockdown of 45 days. And although the government has eased the lockdown recently, customers are still shying away.”

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Her tailors are working in shifts to maintain distance, she says.

“In Rwanda, we are used to challenges. It forces us to be extra creative, learn to find other solutions and come up with new ideas.”

Joselyne and her family had to flee by foot during the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and she lost both her grandmothers, several uncles, aunts and cousins.

“I only have some blurry memories as I was only six years old and I might also have filtered some experiences as it was such a traumatic event,” she says.

“In the following years, I remember being so obsessed about the story, [thinking] ‘why has this had to happen to my country?'”

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Jeroen Van Loon

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Expansion plans have been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis

Early on, she wanted to leave Rwanda entirely.

“It was too painful to know that such a thing could happen in my country. And I was afraid that it would happen again. You don’t feel safe for a while and you don’t trust anybody.

“But at some point, you decide to have peace with it. Whatever you do, you cannot really change this situation.

“I also saw new roads being constructed, new houses being built. I saw the country being repaired. And the positive thing is, after such a tragedy, people really want to live.”



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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