From helping his father run coffee farm to becoming a business mogul: The rise and rise of Faustin Mbundu

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 26 March 2024 at 12:55

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing," reads a recent repost by Rwandan business magnate Faustin Mbundu on LinkedIn, where successful figures share insights into running successful businesses.

Originally penned by the late American author Helen Keller, the quote has been used by millions of people around the world to encourage others to take risks in life, especially in the business realm.

The quote resonates well with Mbundu’s business career. He started out as a clerk helping his father manage their family coffee business in the modern-day Kanungu District of Uganda before trying his hand at the gold business his father had also ventured into.

Speaking on Sanny Ntayombya’s recent podcast, the owner and chairman of MFK Group Ltd revealed that helping his father manage their family business as a teenager prepared him for what would be the business empire he runs today.

Born in 1964, the Rwandan national spent his childhood in Uganda, where his parents had taken refuge. He went to Mbarara for his primary school education. During his free time, he helped his father’s farmhands do some clerical work and made some pocket money in the process.

“This helped him earn some money for pocket money. I was an ambitious young kid. My father was impressed and I enjoyed it. I must say that when I went to my senior one, I had much more pocket money than any other kid in school,” he stated.

He attended St Mary’s College Kisubi for his senior school and later Makerere University, where he pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce.

While still studying at Makerere University, he continued to help his father run his businesses, although now under a tough political environment that forced his father to nearly go into exile twice. He said his father lost most of his properties during the reign of President Idi Amin.


In the early 1980s and at the age of 17 years, his father introduced him to banking. He was tasked with preparing cheques and reconciling accounts. This, he says, helped him to be responsible from a very early age.

“It opened up my mind to being responsible because of the risks I had to deal with at my young age,” he revealed.

After his graduation in 1988, he decided to fully focus on business and played a big role in expanding his father’s gold trading business to the European market.

Mbundu and members of his family relocated to Rwanda in 1994 after the genocide against the Tutsi and the coming to power of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

He admits that while the business environment was tough at the beginning, the RPF administration helped put the country on track. Some of the challenges he faced while starting out as a businessman in Rwanda include the monopoly enjoyed by Rwandex Ltd in the processing and export of coffee.

Another key challenge was inadequate labor force at the time due to the genocide that led to deaths and many locals seeking refuge in neighboring countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The business environment, however, started showing signs of recovery and stabilization in 1995, giving his business the much-needed reprieve.

Mbundu’s business acumen and the enabling environment have seen his business achieve great success in the last 30 years. His MFK Group has holdings in businesses across industries such as agriculture, education, real estate, IT, and more.

As the founder and equity partner in more than half a dozen companies and an advisor to several boards, Mbundu credits his success to hard work, teamwork, and skilled managers whom he trusts to run the enterprises as he plays the overseer role.

Despite what he terms as a shortage of skilled workforce in Rwanda, he believes the country is on the right economic trajectory.

“We are in a better place than we were before,” he retorts when asked to comment on the status of the country’s economy.

Regarding his advice to aspiring and budding entrepreneurs, he encourages people to venture into businesses they are passionate about to avoid disappointments common in the sector.

“I think it’s important not to just copy someone but to think through something. It’s better to go slowly, and if you make a mistake, it’s easy to correct it,” he quipped.

“Plan well and always be mindful of risks. Suppose this doesn’t go as planned, what is the fallback plan because your banks and financiers will not be kind. You have to be very careful,” he added.

He also encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to take advantage of financial credits available to them and to embrace partnerships and collective investments.

An ardent supporter of the English Premier League Club Manchester United, the businessman enjoys working out in the morning and reading business-related content during his free time. Some of his recent reads include "Rich Dad Poor Dad" and "Atomic Habits," among others.

Faustin Mbundu during a conversation with Sanny Ntayombya.
Mbundu is the founder and equity partner in more than half a dozen companies and an advisor to several boards.