Angele Ciza was born the youngest daughter in a family with five older brothers. Her mother was her role model, teaching her to be tough and not accept the fragility that women are thought to have, to work hard and help others. She says that her mom taught her three basic principles: to look, listen, and think. Although her mom didn’t have much formal education, Angele describes her as having good natural intuitions. Angele has fond memories of walking among the coffee trees by the lake as a child. This was her time and space to think.
Growing up, she had only seen coffee traded locally in Kirundo and had no idea about the inner workings of the global trade that she would one day enter.
After completing a two-year management degree from Burundi’s National Institute of Administration, Angele worked for an international freight company, where she learned about exporting goods. She decided to apply her knowledge to the country’s most valuable export, coffee. In 1996, with encouragement from her husband, she started a green coffee export company known as C & A Business. While she managed to be successful selling coffees into the international market, she took advantage of a growth opportunity in 2012 when local Burundi companies were encouraged to invest in coffee washing stations. Angele believed that she needed to control the quality of the coffees through processing. with this believe she found Kahawa Links company SA, also known as Kalico SA, a woman-owned company that grows, processes, and exports coffee directly into the international market. While this level of market integration is uncommon for privately held local corporations in Burundi. Angele continues to thrive in a male- dominated coffee community where women are rarely seen in leadership roles, more often serving as coffee pickers and sorters rather than business owners and decision-makers.
Today, Kalico owns seven washing stations in the northern region of the country, two in Muyinga and five in Kirundo. The company employs 44 permanent and 250 seasonal employees and purchases cherries from 15,000 to 25,000 small-scale producers.
Region: Muyinga Province
Varietal: Red Bourbon
Altitude: 1700 masl