In conversation with Ange Muyubira

You can see Ange Muyubira's face in black and white in a close-up. Next to it is the logo of the Amhoro partnership 40 years.

Ange Myubira in three aspects: Burundi lover, born entrepreneur and world enthusiast (© SEZ/Ange Muyubira).

The Burundian entrepreneur Ange Muyubira founded her first company when she was still at school. This awakened her entrepreneurial spirit. Today she is CEO of Kaz'O'zah in Burundi. In the conversation she tells us more about her work and her motivation.

Can you introduce yourself and your work?

My name is Ange Muyubira and I would say that I am a born entrepreneur and like to be financially independent. I like exploring the world and using my talents to serve my community. I want the people around me to be able to do the same.

That's why everything I do, in one way or another, is all about ensuring that people earn a good income, have a good living and that their country benefits from it. Three aspects sum me up well: Burundi lover, born entrepreneur, world enthusiast.

I started my first company at school. It was a delivery service for NGOs and companies. Because of the war, the employees were unable to go home for lunch.

When I went to study in the UK, the experience from my first business helped me: I was able to study, work and start my next small business at the same time. All of these experiences ultimately led to me now running a social enterprise, a non-profit organization and a microfinance organization.


What does Kaz'O'zah mean?

Kaz'O'zah is Kirundi and means "Shining future". Kaz'O'zah is divided into three branches:

  1. Kaz'O'zah Arts for the commercial sector
  2. Kaz'O'zah Keza is a non-profit organization
  3. Kaz'O'zah Fund for Microfinance

The story of Kaz'O'zah began in collaboration with artists. That's why the first branch is called Kaz'O'zah Arts. In response to the artists' needs, the non-profit organization Kaz'O'zah Keza followed. It helps artists and communities improve their business development skills and teaches them how to use their income to improve their lives. So it's about livelihood and financial inclusion. The alumni then benefit from the financial services of the Kaz'O'zah Fund. All these branches emerged from the needs of the market and the needs of customers.


What has been the highlight of all these experiences so far and what has been the biggest challenge?

When I came back from England as an interpreter, I had the opportunity to get a very well-paid job in an international organization. But I didn't want that. Instead, I told myself I wanted to work with rural communities and contribute to the success of the country. And I said to myself: Burundi has an employment problem. I don't want to come and take jobs away from those who don't have any. But I want to create jobs. Nobody believed in it. Everyone thought I was a little crazy.

And I'm proud to see how I did it. I didn't give up for 12 years and Kaz'O'zah has now reached over 20 Burundians and over 000 Ugandans. And I'm so proud that people's income has increased from $300 a day to $2 a day.

That's what makes me particularly proud: seeing that it's possible. Development is possible. And if you teach people something and give them a chance, they can develop. If given a chance, rural communities can thrive.

The biggest challenge I've faced so far... When I travel abroad to find cooperation partners, I always notice that many work with East Africa, but not with Burundi. This is very painful because you ask yourself: If everyone loves what you do, was it a mistake to be born in the wrong part of the world? For this reason, I have great respect for the SEZ, which has been working with Burundi for over 40 years.


What motivates you for your work?

The words I said to myself: I want to contribute to the development of Burundi. I'm putting everything I have into this. I am very passionate and very committed to making positive changes in this country and showing the world the great things about our country.


You mentioned the aspect of collaboration and how difficult it is sometimes to find cooperation partners abroad. How can the AMAHORO! Partnership play a role in your work in Burundi?

There is a saying in Kirundi “Ubwenge Burarahurwa”. Translated: Wisdom must be bought. It means that wisdom does not come by itself. Instead, you have to look for them somewhere else. In terms of cooperation, it means that we want to learn something from the Germans and we want the Germans to learn something from us too.

There is also another saying: “Iminwe iroyha inyuranye.” It means that hands taste good when they are exchanged. So in a figurative sense: I feed you, you feed me and then it tastes good. If we share our knowledge and what we can bring to the table, a good result will come out.

Thank you very much for this interview. Tuzosubira.

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