Shumei Lam

Lam Shumei’s fascination with Rwanda began while she was working for Portek, her father’s port company. “I visited Rwanda to launch an acquisition of their dry port and was intrigued by how vibrant the country was — it was buzzing with energy and opportunities. The people were incredibly kind and forward-looking for a population that went through so much strife and anguish.”

While there, she discovered that poultry in the country was extremely costly due to the lack of farming infrastructure. “So I traded my heels and skirts for boots and khakis to start Rwanda’s first integrated poultry farm,” says Lam. Poultry East Africa Ltd (Peal) was founded four years ago and today, “we’re the largest supplier of poultry produce in Rwanda,” she says. A social enterprise, Peal also helps small-scale farmers by providing training and contract farming.

Lam points to her late father Larry Lam as the most influential figure in her life: “He was an exuberant entrepreneur and one of the first Singaporean investors in Africa. He was the mastermind of this project and encouraged me to pursue this crazy idea.”