The General Manager of the Remera-based Chez Lando Hotel, Anne-Marie Kantengwa, has scooped the 2021 prize for women economic empowerment thanks to her significant contribution as the head of the hotel for the past twenty-five years.

Awarded by the American Institute for Economic Empowerment for women (IEEW), the prize recognises women who have become a benchmark of transformation in their societies.

She was selected globally due to her leadership at the hotel and the refurbishments and improvements made after the hotel had been completely destroyed by the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

The hotel, which has a four-star rating, was built by her brother Landouard Ndasingwa, commonly known as Lando, who was killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Commenting on the prize, Kantengwa told The New Times that the award is coming to add value to what they do.

“The prize will motivate us by adding value to what we do, but also it should be the pride to all Rwandan women and the nation at large,” she said.

She reiterated that she has always strived to improve the service delivery so as to keep the hotel stand out among the best.

“During my time at the hotel, I have managed to renovate the building, improve service and be friendly to my employees, but of course we still have a lot to achieve,” she added.

People close to Kantengwa describe her as very ambitious and optimistic.

After surviving the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, she was very discouraged and had lost the hope of living.

In 1996, with just ten people, she started renovating the Hotel Chez Lando.

In 2001, the business started booming and she used some of her incomes to help orphans and vulnerable children who included genocide survivors.

After two years in 2003, she was elected in the Lower Chamber of Parliament, where she served for five years before returning to focus on the hotel business until today.

During her administration at the city hotel, Kantengwa has made a significant contribution to its development as confirmed by Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi, the local government minister.

“Congratulations Aunt Anne-Marie, you really deserve the best. You kept Hotel Chez Lando improving on a daily basis expanding, growing with your talented and experienced staff,” he commented.

The awarding ceremony will take place on July 15, and the awarding institute will also be celebrating 15 years of existence.