Both TG and I have met this cheerful individual. He comes dancing down the dirt road with his stationary computer under his arm and a big smile on his face. When school is finished he goes home to fetch his computer and then straight to the bar where he has his screen and speakers stored. Julius is the youngest entrepreneur we’ve met so far at mere 20. As the experienced negotiator he is, I had to buy him a beer before he started talking.
One year ago Julius began to sell music and movies from his spot at the corner of the bar. He charges 100 Rwandan Franc for a song and 1500 Franc for a movie. I asked him how he got hold of the files and he said: “Music is easily downloaded but the movies I have to buy at a store and burn to the computer, since most people need Rwandese subtitles”. He has somewhat over 4000 songs which he can upload to a USB when a customer comes up. When he is not selling his music, he advertise it by playing it loudly making it impossible to have a conversation close by. After a few visits I now know the lyrics to “Ndi uw’i Kigali” and a few other songs, both domestic and foreign.
Since he is old enough to earn his own money he doesn’t want to bother his mother and father financially. Therefore he saves 100 000 Franc (150 USD) a semester to pay his school tuition.
Although his business idea is not very complicated or original, it still shows how common sustained self-employment is in the rural areas around and in Kigali. Where ever there is demand there is a business opportunity and Julius were quick to make use of that.
In the future Julius hopes to make a living of his education as a computer engineer. If Rwanda 2020 goes as planned and Rwanda goes from an agricultural country to an ICT one, there will be plenty of opportunities for an entrepreneur like Julius.