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Rough Cut: Rwanda: Millennium Village
Video: Rwanda's High-end Hopes for Coffee

Small businesses are turning coffee from a low-priced commodity into a high-priced specialty crop.

You can see coffee growing everywhere on the slopes of Rwanda's beautiful rolling hills. Coffee is Rwanda's number one export crop. The country's current focus is to turn coffee grown there from a low-priced commodity crop into a higher-priced specialty crop -- coffee that you would buy at Starbucks, and other high-end coffee purveyors.

Christian Kaningu, a Rwandan entrepreneur, began working in the coffee industry right after he graduated from university. He started as an engineer designing the washing stations that process the coffee beans. Now Kaningu also works as an exporter running the Rwandan coffee company Kayco. Kaningu is expanding his export business with the help of TechnoServe, a U.S.-based nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses globally.

This year, TechnoServe received a $46.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help small-scale farmers -- such as those in Rwanda earning less than $2 dollars a day -- increase their income by improving the quality of their coffee production. Working with Technoserve and local farm cooperatives, this year Kaningu sold specialty coffee to Starbucks, Peet's Coffee and Tea, and Rwanda's own chain, Bourbon Coffee.


In this short video, Kaningu describes what these small enterprises are doing to help regenerate Rwanda's economy and its image abroad.