TechnoServe Launches New Program in Rwanda

KIGALI, RWANDA, FEBRUARY 20, 2007 —Today, TechnoServe officially launched a new initiative to revitalize the Rwandan coffee industry, allowing us to resume work in the country after a 12-year hiatus caused by the civil war.

Rwandans face many challenges in their struggle to recover from the 1990s civil war and genocide. One thing working in their favor is that their country boasts ideal coffee-growing conditions. Nevertheless, most coffee farmers are just barely scraping by, hampered by inefficient agricultural practices and poor logistics. Now, thanks to a generous gift by a small group of private donors, TechnoServe is helping the farmers capitalize on this opportunity and create a sustainable economic base that will improve the standard of living for their families and communities, while also bringing much-needed foreign exchange earnings into the country.

TechnoServe aims to reposition Rwanda as a leading producer of specialty coffee by helping turn coffee cooperatives (representing 12,000 farmers) into professionally-run businesses. Our business advisors will teach business skills and help farmers boost production and improve quality, for example by assisting cooperatives to set up and operate coffee washing stations. The end result should be almost a doubling of the farmers' income in four years.

About TechnoServe: TechnoServe helps entrepreneurial men and women in the developing world to build businesses that provide jobs, income and economic opportunity. Since its founding in 1968, the U.S.-based nonprofit has helped to create or improve more than 2,000 businesses, benefiting millions of people in 32 countries. TechnoServe is currently working to build and expand businesses in Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Swaziland, Uganda, Ghana, Madagascar, Rwanda, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Côte d'Ivoire and India. TechnoServe was recognized as one of the world's "Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs" by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.