Rwanda : Shalom Paint factory- lack of investment capital affects entrepreneurship

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Shalom paints is one of the Rwandan manufacturing units founded in 2009, by Pierre Nahimana , who was inspired to set up the factory as a response to the need of paints and reconstruct the country towards Rwanda’s development vision 2020.

The factory is located in Gikondo, above the industrial areas and employs about ten staff including the production team. After the collapse of Rwanda Paints- a government owned paint factory, Shalom paints managed to purchase the best paint making equipment and joined the competition of paint producing three years ago.

Shalom Paints Rwanda

“We wanted to set up a factory as a response to the growing co

nstruction sector which has seen many buildings come up, and wanted to provide the best quality paints to be used on houses in the Rwandan community, as a way of contributing to the country’ s growth” Nahimana says.

Shalom paints is relative a small company which has just entered the paint manufacturing completion in Rwanda, finding other old timers like Ameki Color and Rwanda Color among others. Like many private production units in Rwanda, Shalom paints is faced with the problem of production costs resulting from the high costs of raw materials used in the process of making paint.

“We are faced with problem of importing raw materials in low quantities since we are still a small factory. If we had capacity to import these materials in large quantities, then we would be in position to compete effectively” Nahimana says, numbers of

The factory has a large capacity to produce 15 tonnes of paint on a daily basis but due to lack of a large clientele, the factory only produces paint in relationship to the orders made by the clients.

The plastic packing material is available from local plastic producers like Rwanda plastics and Rwacom, however, there is a problem of importing the metallic tin container- which are still being imported from Kenya.

However, Nahimana says that the competition field is not leveled especially due to new foreign competitors (Sadolin and Rubilac paints), who actually produce the paints with easy access to raw materials made in their countries of origin.

He says that these companies have shuttered the opportunities of local firms and impeding the progress of local investors due to lack of raw materials and apparently lowered purchase prices.

“Due to the costs of production and packing, the company doesn’t make big margins of profit because we have to keep the prices at a standard rate so as to compete with others in the market” if only we could have the same opportunity importing like other foreign companies, we would have better chances to compete effectively” he says “we can hike the prices but we are thinking of possible ways of standing in this competition”.


The chief production supervisor, Frodouard Ndhayo, also says that the company has the ability to compete effectively since he has a wide experience in the careers of paints and has been able to come up with all color samples that a client can make a choice of.

However the factory owners have called on government to empower local investors with substantial funds for investment and solicit ways of making the raw materials at cheaper prices.

“Since we have experienced and skilled labor in the production unit and equipment, we believe we have the capacity to supply the market demand with the best and quality paints that has already been appreciated by our clients” Ndahayo says.

However Ndahayo is a self-made technician in the field of paints and has worked in this field for over 18 years. He joined the government owned painting company (Rwanda paints) as a young man with no skills but with time he managed to learn from experience.

When the government owned Paint Company collapsed, he joined hands with the proprietor of Shalom Paints (also a former employee of Rwanda paints) and took the position of technical director- to oversee the quality, standards and research at Shalom paints factory.

“I am not happy with the trend of youths graduating today in most universities without any practical skills. In his opinion, Ndahayo says that it is very sad to see that entrepreneurship is going to suffer a massive failure if this problem is not addressed” he says.

Ndahayo states that the need for skilled labour in Rwanda is high needed and if this was worked on and addressed by the government, then some of the small enterprises like Shalom paints would definitely have to employ capable person- who can also in turn transform the manufacturing sector in Rwanda through innovative thinking, research and creating more job opportunities for themselves and the young generations in the country.

It is very sad to see that some of the qualified scientists and technicians with PhD’s in the scientific world, do not pursue their careers but instead want to become senators, ministers and mayors. This has affected to private sector and in a way we (Rwanda) continue to depend on foreign expertise- which otherwise is found here and has never been put to use” Ndahayo says.

As a technician in the field of paints, Ndahayo has not stopped at feeling sad about his colleagues (who have not done so much to get involved), but instead starts being showing a good example to others.

He has managed to train eight young men at the Shalom paints company and these youngsters are now taking the same career journey like him despite the fact that they are not so highly educated. Besides the Shalom paints staff, Ndahayo also handles students on internship from the colleges of technology around the country.

“Skills development is something that we should focus on in the country, so as to development faster and in a more founded manner. This is something that I hope will happen as the future, and I hope that these skills can be beneficial to the trainees, so that they can be able to start up similar business and use their skills in the proper place” Ndahayo comments.










About the author

Mr. Sina is the Managing Partner & Chief Editor of RwandaEye. After completing his post-graduation from the Faculty of Economics and Management, National University of Rwanda,he worked in various consulting capacities for equity and business firms in Kigali. A shrewd strategist, he is an Economic Pundit, entrepreneur and Investment Banker.

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