Mutombo Coffee source DR Congo says: “Life has changed thanks to Coffee”

The Democratic Republic of Congo is better known for the brutality of its many rebel groups than the quality of its coffee, but one project is trying to change that.

An ideal climate and hilly terrain has seen generations of farmers grow Arabica coffee on Idjwi island in Lake Kivu, located between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

More recently, thousands of ex-combatants, including Koko Bikuba, say working here has changed their lives. “When we arrived in this place, people were afraid of us,” the 37-year-old says. “My life has changed thanks to this work. I take care of six children who are studying.” It clearly heartens Mr Bikuba that some people on Idjwi who initially wrote him and his colleagues off as “thieves and killers” have since warmed to them.

“The turmoil of the forest is far from me now and I’m financially stable,” he adds, thanks to his job in logistics on the plantation. Almost 2,400 former fighters are employed as farmers on Idjwi by the Co-operative Company of Innovative Coffee producers in Kivu (SCPNCK). They are mostly former militia fighters, although some, including Mr Bikuba, used to be soldiers.

Robert C. Bush Jr

About Robert C. Bush Jr

I am a senior investment executive with experience across industries (advanced manufacturing, financial services, energy, ICT, e-health, life sciences, security, and retail), geographies (USA, Europe, China, Middle East and Africa), as well as asset classes (venture capital, private equity, Islamic finance). I have engaged in a full array of financial and operating special projects for sovereign-related entities, family businesses, family offices, investment companies, corporates, and startups. I have participated in more than $30 billion in transactions and co-managed assets of nearly $10 billion (usd). I speak frequently to governments, universities, and corporates on issues related to innovation, corporate governance, asset management, and evidence-based investing. Additionally, I provide commentary on live television and international media, including CNN International, Euromoney, and Fox Business News, as well as speak at global conferences, including the UAE’s Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), Milken Conference, Institutional Investor, Business Week CEO Forum, GAIM and dozens of startup pitch events around the globe. My unique, global experiences, love for teaching and learning, as well my established network of relationships, fuel my interests in entrepreneurship, prudent-decision making, and innovation. If you are living a purpose-driven life, let's connect!

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