Ruhunda, 13 June 2016
President Kagame alongside Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Coca – Cola Company today officially inaugurated the Coca – Cola EKOCENTER in Ruhunda.
In 2014, the Coca-Cola Company launched a modular social enterprise program called the EKOCENTER aimed at bringing sustainable markets closer to communities. A fully equipped EKOCENTER is designed to serve as a retail center that provides a variety of utilities, services, or products tailored to a community’s local needs.
“The facilities inaugurated here, demonstrate that the well-being and advancement of communities, is a responsibility for all of us. By working together with other companies, as well as government, civil society, and most importantly citizens themselves, a win-win situation is created, for everyone involved. The significance of such partnerships goes beyond a single company, or country. They unfold in the wider context of the Sustainable Development Goals, to which the world committed itself last year. Few companies are as truly global, as Coca-Cola. It is a product that almost everyone can afford, obtain, and enjoy. We just have to work together, in new and innovative ways. The private sector has a good partner in Rwandans. We want to make the best use of all the resources available to us. Above all, we want to see measurable results, in the lives of our people.”
Each EKOCENTER, typically managed by a female entrepreneur seeks to become a self – sustainable unit using solar power to work off the grid – particularly in areas that lack electricity or access to reliable power sources. There are currently 23 EKOCENTERS in Rwanda; 13 located in Eastern Province.
The Ruhunda EKOCENTER provides medical equipment for the maternity ward at the local health facility and a solar power system that powers both the health center and surrounding street lights. It also sells solar lights and has a telephone station that charges up to 60 phones at a time and has Wi-Fi connectivity.
“Rwanda’s national development goals are ambitious. But they are matched by the determination and confidence gained, from more than 22 years of hard work, to build the country our people want, and deserve. Companies of any size can meaningfully support our efforts, through jobs and training, but also with community projects, such as Ekocenter. As Rwandans we want to make the best use of all resources available to us. We value accountability and we want to see measurable results in the lives of people.”
The EKOCENTER also provides water storage tanks through the Amazi Meza kiosk which has enabled Ruhunda residents have access to treated and purified water at a cost of Rwf 50 per 20 litres.
The Coca-Cola brand was first introduced in Rwanda in 1974 through Heineken Franchise with the production site located in Kigali. It is estimated that the local Coca-Cola business supports approximately 45,000 jobs directly and indirectly through supplier and distribution linkages.