NPC Newsmaker: The Rwandan Coffee Industry

Mar 24, 2008Mar 25, 2008
<p> </p>


The Honorable Kaliza Karuretwa. Commercial Attaché from the Embassy of Rwanda and an expert on the Rwandan coffee industry who has been instrumental in the development of the Rwandan Path to Peace.

Peter Guiliano. Co-Owner of Counter Culture Coffee and internationally recognized expert on coffee quality, history, and trade who has played a leading role in bringing Rwandan coffee to US markets.

Karol Boudreaux. Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center and head of the Enterprise Africa! project, who recently authored a report entitled "State Power, Entrepreneurship, and Coffee: The Rwandan Experience".

In the past few years, Rwanda has developed a reputation of producing top-quality specialty coffee for export throughout the world. The result has been tremendous economic and social benefits for the people of Rwanda: coffee now generates more than half of Rwanda's export income—some US $46 million in 2006—and it helps support thousands of families. As Rwandans earn more for their coffee beans, families take a step up the ladder of economic development toward a better life. In addition, there is some journalistic evidence that working together in coffee cooperatives may provide a channel for informal reconciliation between the Hutus and Tutsis.

This National Press Club Newsmaker Panel discussed the economic and social benefits of the Rwandan specialty coffee industry, addressing aspects such as how Rwandan coffee has reached such high levels of quality and what the specific benefits are for farmers and their families.