Librairie Ikirezi was established in 1998, mainly as a sales point for periodicals, dictionaries and books about Africa, Rwanda in particular. We rented a small shop of around 30m² in downtown Kigali, a dark office space without windows and ventilation.
Some months later, the Belgian school offered us the opportunity to rent two classroom buildings suddenly exploding the surface to around 200m². We began to extend our range of products with adult and children literature; school books; sociology and political science and at a time when everyone was only talking about French and Kinyarwanda language books, Ikirezi introduced English-language books back in 2000. Since Ikirezi was located in the Belgian school compound and the year around availability of school materials was a serious matter in Kigali, Ikirezi introduced quality materials sourced from international recognized brands.
Even though we were satisfied with the location and partnership with the school, parents and pupils, other – potential – customers identified Librairie Ikirezi too much with the school. As well, Kigali’s urban sprawl, which led to shifts in work and housing habits, meant that we had to move to a neutral and modern location where Ikirezi could spread its wings.
We moved to the Kimihurura suburb, a district easily accessible, centrally located, and reachable not only for people living in urban Kigali, but as well on a crossing of the highways leading to the international airport, Rwanda’s four provinces and to Eastern DRC.
Ikirezi is established in a modern building, parking in front and on the rear a spectacular view on Kigali’s wetlands, the city center and its surrounding mountains. To serve our customers we partner with all major publishers in France, Belgium and the United Kingdom as well Ikirezi established a network of suppliers of high-quality school and art materials as well as office supplies. The results of our commitment are presented on a surface of around 300m²: a well-organized shop where books, stationery, art materials, games and plays and a few more other things, all in all, some 6.000, are well presented and offer for almost everybody something attention-grabbing.
To be relaxed, and taking advance of this beautiful and restful place, we partnered to create the independent business unit “Inzora Rooftop cafe” where you can drink Rwanda’s tea and coffee accompanied by some healthy sweets or take a vegan lunch break.
Since 2002, Librairie Ikirezi is fully computerized for ordering (B2B) and receipts of goods, inventory management and point of sales. You pay cash, by credit card or mobile money. We communicated with you face-to-face or by SMS, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We do home delivery. We are hardworking on a web based online selling point operational in the first quarter of 2021.
Librairie Ikirezi is an energetic player in Rwanda’s book chain. We can refer to some major results: Librairie Ikirezi partnered with the then Minister of Culture and Sport to obtain exemption of import duties on books and this partnership resulted in a full exemption of import duties since 2004; Librairie Ikirezi partnered with the UK based publisher Bradt to launch the first ever Rwanda travel guide in 2001 at a time when tourism in Rwanda was not much further ahead as an image; Librairie Ikirezi partnered with UK based publisher Harper Collins to participate in the supply of children school curriculum books directly supplied to all of Rwanda’s primary schools; Ikirezi partnered with a Bujumbura based bookseller to organize a number of events in Burundi and several districts of Rwanda (the so called “Book Caravan”) among many other activities like book presentations and visiting authors.
Librairie Ikirezi, we are number one and we will remain number one,
to support you to achieve the core of reading which is to stay in reading.