Saturday, 29 June 2013

Nile waters row: Lawmakers say Egypt is selfish

Egypt says Ethiopia’s move to divert the flow of the Blue Nile river to construct a giant dam is a potential disruption of its national security. Net photo
Egypt says Ethiopia’s move to divert the flow of the Blue Nile river to construct a giant dam is a potential disruption of its national security. Net photo
Parliament endorsed the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), which will  enable the establishment of the Nile Basin Commission. The Commission was initiated by the Nile Basin Initiative.
Over 20 members of Parliament this week criticised  on Egypt for what they deem as unfair and unreasonable self-centeredness when it comes to sharing waters of the River Nile.
This was on Tuesday as the Chamber of Deputies debated and unanimously endorsed the Bill authorising the ratification of the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) of the Nile basin member states (riparian states) signed in Entebbe, Uganda on May 14, 2010.
Shortly after Stanislas Kamanzi, the Minister of Natural Resources, explained the benefits of ratifying the agreement, lawmakers stressed that riparian countries have equal rights to the river and should not be held back by colonial pacts.
The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) was established in 1999 as a transitional mechanism of the then nine Nile riparian countries to equitably and sustainably manage and develop the waters of the Nile Basin.
Kamanzi said that even if the NBI’s objective is to develop the Nile waters for mutual benefit, previous meetings ended without unanimity as Egypt and Sudan are against any agreement that does not recognise “their historical right” over the waters, which they acquired during the colonial period.
While strongly supporting the ratification of the 2010 pact, Gideon Kayinamura, chairperson of the standing committee on foreign affairs, cooperation and security, stressed that Rwanda was not party to in the colonial era pacts that gave Egypt exclusive rights on the Nile.
He said that even though most of the great river’s water [nearly 46%] comes from the Blue Nile tributary (in Ethiopia), Rwanda also must use its own for development projects. Only about 16 per cent of the river’s water is from sources within the east African region, including Rwanda.
“When he was president, [Egypt’s Anwar El] Sadat, said that ‘any action that would endanger the water of the Blue Nile will trigger a firm reaction on the part of Egypt, even if that action should lead to war. And just this month, President [Mohamed] Morsi, of Egypt said that, ‘if any action diminishes one drop of water of the Nile, then our blood is the [next] alternative,” Kayinamura told the House, further requesting the minister to allay concerns over what he said was Egypt’s bullying attitude.
Sadat was the third President of Egypt, who served from October 1970 until October 1981.
MP Emmanuel Mudidi dismissed the colonial era pacts – including a deal in 1959 dividing the Nile’s waters between Sudan and Egypt – saying that such agreements “do not bind us.”
Mudidi said: “Our countries should go ahead with their development plans and if these two do not want to cooperate with us, they should not try to intimidate us. Our new agreement will be very important, and we are more than ready to cooperate with others. We should actually pass this Bill today and the ratification finalised today.”
MP Faith Mukakalisa stressed that “if they [Egypt and Sudan] have legal rights, then we too have natural rights.”
MP Joseph Desire Nyandwi reminded the Assembly that Rwanda puts a lot of effort in conserving Nyungwe forest so as not to negatively impact on one of the  sources of the Nile.
“But are we supposed to request for permission for projects such as Rukarara [hydro dam] in our own country? I don’t understand this,” said Nyandwi.
Earlier, MP Juliana Kantengwa, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Economy and Trade, argued that because Rwandans miss out on considerable development projects on Nyungwe forest so as to protect its biodiversity, Egypt whose economy relies on River Nile should understand this and even compensate Rwanda.
This is from the rationalisation that the Nyungwe forest area water shed feeds the River Nile yet Egypt often opposes the idea of any development projects by riparian states, or downstream countries, which could affect the river’s flow.
Kantengwa said: “If we did not conserve Nyungwe, Egypt which is complaining that Ethiopia is constructing a dam (alonge the river), would simply keep quiet. For us to be able to properly conserve Nyungwe, it is because we forego some opportunities. We need it, but the world also needs it because Nyungwe is the watershed of the Nile.”
Reached for comment at the time, Egypt’s envoy to Rwanda, Khaled M Abdel Rahman Abdel Satam, noted that he does not understand why it would only be Egypt, and not all Nile Basin countries to provide compensation where it is rightly due.
He, however, noted that matters regarding the opportunity cost incurred by a country were too technical for him to go into.
The diplomat said: “These things are maybe a bit technical for me, you know, and soon we will have a meeting of the NBI in Juba, on July 20 and I think this can probably be discussed. It is very difficult for me to give you a response on this because it is a technical issue and I am not an expert (in that).”
Bonafide concern?
Egypt has expressed concern at Ethiopia’s move to divert water from the Blue Nile, the main tributary of River Nile, to allow construction of a the nearly US$5 billion the Renaissance Dam hydroelectric facility.
Last month, Egypt’s cabinet reportedly met to discuss Ethiopia’s announcement that it was diverting the course of the Nile to construct the dam that is scheduled for completion in 2017. The dam is expected to be the largest in Africa, producing as much electricity as six nuclear power plants.
The Egyptian government’s stance is that Egypt totally depends on the Nile for its water supply, thus making any potential disruption a national security issue.

Rwanda benefits
The CFA, which was rejected  by Egypt and Sudan seeks to establish a permanent River Nile Basin Commission through which member countries will jointly manage and develop the Nile’s resources. If signed and ratified by governments, the CFA will give all countries in the Nile Basin equal rights on the waters.
According to Kamanzi, the benefits of the ratification of the CFA are many, including: removal of the inequitable colonial treaty which gives all rights to only two countries (Egypt and Sudan) in the use of Nile waters, and limits other countries including Rwanda to exploit the river.
“The CFA, once ratified, will lead to the establishment of a permanent river basin organisation that will ensure the sustainable development and equitable utilisation of the common water resources of all the Nile Basin member countries,” he said.
NBI has initiated various investment projects with other riparian countries in general. “In Rwanda we can mention Rusumo Hydropower project with an investment totaling US$ 440 million. There is also the regional energy interconnection project linking DRC, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Rwanda has received a grant totaling US$120 million for this project.”
River Nile is the world’s longest river flowing 6,700 kilometers through 10 countries namely  Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt.

SFB graduates over 500

Some of the graduates during the ceremony yesterday. Saturday Times/ Timothy Kisambira.
Some of the graduates during the ceremony yesterday. Saturday Times/ Timothy Kisambira.
The School of Finance and Banking (SFB) yesterday held its 8th graduation ceremony in which 563 students were awarded Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Procurement and Business Administration.
Speaking at the occasion, the Director of Quality Assurance  in the Ministry of Education, Abdallah Baguma urged the graduates to be good ambassadors of the institution and higher education as a whole, by exhibiting professionalism.
“This is the time to fully utilise the knowledge you have acquired to bring about transformation because what you have acquired from is key to success,” he said.
He challenged the new graduates to perform their duties with competence to enable the country attain its development aspirations.
The Chairperson of the Board of Directors of SFB, Dr. Diane Karusisi, said students passing out of the country’s universities should be innovative.
“You should use all your efforts to compete on the job market using the skills learnt from here, and turn the challenges into opportunities in order not to lag behind ” she said.
Students who graduated with Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) were 520, Masters in Business Administration (MBA) 23 and Masters in Public Procurement (MPP) 20.
Alice Kambayire, a graduate of MBA said: “I am overwhelmed with joy because all the efforts I put in my studies have eventually paid off.”
“Students should be job creators instead of job seekers and they should not stop here because the more you continue the easier to get a job after acquiring various skills and knowledge.”

Integrated Polytechnic Centre launched in Southern Province

A plumbing students demonstrate what he has learnt as ministers Biruta and Kabarebe look on. Saturday Times/ Jean Pierre Bucyensenge
A plumbing students demonstrate what he has learnt as ministers Biruta and Kabarebe look on. Saturday Times/ Jean Pierre Bucyensenge
The government will continue to promote technical and vocational training over classic  education in order to accelerate development, the minster for Education has said.
Dr Vincent Biruta said the move will ‘promote technical skills for sustainable development’ in a country which aspires to become a middle-income economy by 2020.
He was speaking on Thursday during the launch the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre in the Southern Province (IPRC-South).
The college, which offers technical and vocational courses, is part of a wider plan to set up at least a modern IPRC in every province.
Biruta said the target is to have at least 60 per cent of all the students enrolled in technical and vocational training by 2017. The numbers currently stand at only 38 per cent while the rest still prefer classic education.
According to the minister, the establishment of the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) in 2009 is part of efforts to reach the set target.
“WDA’s budget [for the 2013/2014 fiscal year] has more than doubled so as to facilitate it to continue its efforts to promote technical education and skills development,” Biruta said.
In the next fiscal year, WDA is set to utilise over Rwf38 billion,  up from the Rwf16.4 billion it was allocated in the 2012/13 budget.
Biruta called upon local leaders to keep encouraging parents to enrol their children in technical schools, something he said would bridge the skills gap and promote job creation as well as spur innovations.
“Ultra modern equipment”
The Huye-based Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre is located within the premises of the former military training school, Ecole des Sous-Officiers (ESO-Butare).
The college has been operating for the last six months and is a result of collaboration between the ministries of Defence and Education.
Serving larger community 
Defence minister James Kabarebe noted that the decision to avail the facility so as to make it a technical school aims at ‘enabling it to serve a larger community of Rwandans other than serving the military personnel.’
“The Ministry of Defence is not a passive player in the journey for national development and is always willing to forge a partnership with all willing stakeholders,” Gen Kabarebe said.
IPRC-South has about 305 students both at Diploma and Vocational level. Diploma courses include Electronics and Telecommunication, Electrical Engineering, Construction Technology and ICT while vocational level provides courses in Plumbing, Welding, Masonry, Carpentry, ICT, Hospitality as well as Domestic Electrical Installation.
The college is equipped with ‘ultra-modern’ machines, equipment and learning tools.
According to Dr Barnabe Twabagira, IPRC-South Principal, the college targets at least ten thousands (10,000) students in the next five years.

Mrs. Kagame attends UNAIDS & Lancet Commision Meeting

first_lady_speakingThe UNAIDS and LANCET commission was launched in May 2013 to draw lessons from the AIDS experience and find ways to move to sustainable health.
The resources available for HIV/AIDS can and should be used to build stronger and more sustainable health systems.
President Joyce Banda of Malawi is co-chair of the commission and invited the First Lady, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame to be one of the high-level commissioners.
Mrs Kagame delivered remarks at the opening session of the 2day meeting and shared the Rwandan experience with AIDS and how we have built our health systems with innovative approaches such as community health workers.
Alongside President Joyce Banda, the commission is co-chaired by Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and Peter Piot.
There are total of 30 commissioners known for their significant contributions to and leadership in HIV/AIDS, including politicians, scientists, medical professionals, donors.

Gen. Gapfizi laid to rest

Gen. Gapfizi laid to rest
Family members including mourners top government officials, as well as former colleagues in the army, some foreign countries such as Uganda, Burundi, and envoys sent by the United States gathered at Kanombe Military Cemetery in Kigali, on June 28, 2013 to bid their last goodbyes to Late Brig. Gen. Dan Gapfizi.
They attended the requiem mass held for the late Brig.Gen. Dan Gapfizi at New Life church
Gen. Gapfizi 54, died in a fatal automobile accident on June 26, 2013 while driving in Kagitumba-Kayonza road nearing Kizirakombe Eastern Province.
One on looker, who described the accident as the worst he had ever seen, saying that the General’s Land Cruiser vehicle first hit the pedestrian and then the cyclist before veering off the road.
As a resultant the fatal crash claimed five lives including the General’s.
‘Gunshots’ in the air amid final farewell of late Brig
‘Gunshots’ in the air amid final farewell of late Brig
At the funeral Minister of Defence, James Kabarebe, read president Kagame’s eulogy, The President said both the deceased’s family and the country had lost a brave man.
“We wish you courage in this difficult moment,” Kagame told late Brig. Gen. Dan Gapfizi’s family.
President Kagame said that the General’s death was a shock and reminded him of other heroes who died in the Liberation War.
The country still needed the General’s contribution as Rwandans continue to liberate themselves from several ills, Kagame noted.
“The country has lost a brave man,” Kagame said in the speech which Gen. Kabarebe handed to the General’s widow after reading it.
About 2:40pm. The casket containing the deceased’s body was lowered in the grave as some mourners cried quietly, while others choked back their tears in disbelief.
Several wreaths were laid on Gapfizi’s grave and gun salutes were part of the send off in honour of his military career.
The officer had served in various capacities in the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) at the commandant level and until his death he was working as the commandant of the Reserve Force in the Southern Region.

Rwandan Returnees Continue To Arrive From DRC As Cessation Clause Nears

Rwandan returnees continue to arrive from DRC as Cessation clause nears
Hundreds of Rwandan refugees returning from many countries are adding to thousands of others who have already been reunited with their families in a joint effort between the government of Rwanda and United Nations Refugee Agency.
According to the Rwanda’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), about 170 Rwandans returned home from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) yesterday through Rubavu boarder and were received at Nkamira Transit centre in Rubavu.
Meanwhile, the ministry confirms that the Rubavu boarder is busy almost every day due to the positive response of many Rwandan refugees from DRC amid the ticking hour to close the cessation clause.
Rwanda’s Minister for Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs Ms Seraphine MUKANTABANA appeared on a BBC Kinyarwanda programme calling on all Rwandan refugees to return home. She said her ministry is ready to “facilitate all those willing to return”.
Only by April 2013, the joint effort and cooperation of neighbouring countries had resulted into the returning of most Rwandans to their country including the 12,000 Rwandans mainly from Democratic Republic of Congo.
On Thursday 27th June 2013, one Stanislas Harerimana, the former prosecutor General in Kigali before the 1994 genocide against Tutsis repatriated from Swaziland. Repatriation officials from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs (MIDIMAR) received him and members of his family at Kanombe International airport.
The 61-years old man expressed great happiness to step again on Rwandan soil after 19 years in exile.  “ The first thing I perceived as I landed here is change, thought I haven’t yet travel to different areas, but I can observe remarkable changes, to see the hospitality of government officials who came to receive me, and how around here people are moving and committed to work,” he cheerfully said.
As the much anticipated cessation comes to the set date, numerous Rwandan refugees who have not made up their mind to return home will lose their refugee status and begin to live on their own in their host countries.
The Secession clause which comes into effect on June 30, 2013 will affect many Rwandan refugees who are scattered in many countries around the world but especially in the great lakes region.
With the continued gains made by the Rwandan government, the UNHCR intends to invoke the Secession Clause, under which, Rwandans are found not to have a plausible reason to remain refugees in any country.
This implies that the few nationals who will have not returned will immediately lose their refugee status and the option will be either to return, or seek nationality in their respective host countries.
In preparation for the imminent enforcement of the clause, authorities set up a taskforce that will ensure that Rwandans wherever they are, are facilitated in every way.
The taskforce, headed by the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs, has also been facilitating the issuance of passports or other national identification documents to those who will not be able to return home due to different reasons.
There are about 70,000 Rwandan refugees – mainly in the neighbouring countries in the Great Lakes region while over 4.5 million repatriated voluntarily in the last 19 years.
Most became refugees in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi which claimed over 1 million Rwandans.
In Uganda alone, statistics show that over 4000 Rwandans refugees will lose their refugee status come Sunday.
The government of Rwanda after the 1994 Genocide, together with its partners embarked on a process to ensure that all Rwandans get back the right to their country that they had been scrapped of. This was done through encouraging them to voluntarily repatriate thus the return of millions.
In collaboration with the UN agency in Rwanda, reintegrated the returnees by providing basic needs like shelter, food, medical facilities, and domestic appliances to help them start new lives as well as offering them land.
Recently a project that will help at least 5,000 vulnerable returnees was launched and it will be funded by the governments of Rwanda, Japan and International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The project dubbed “Enhancing socio-economic reintegration of Rwandan returnees and other vulnerable groups,” will be implemented in phases and will see returnees obtain vocational and technical skills and micro-business start-up kits, livestock assistance as well as construction materials to build their own houses.
This was the fourth phase of the general project to reintegrate Rwandans returning from different countries.  The project also intends to rehabilitate some infrastructure such as primary schools and health posts in communities where the returnees are being resettled.
As of now, 8,300 returnees and other vulnerable Rwandans have been provided with direct reintegration assistance to secure sustainable livelihood since 2010 and more than 2,600 beneficiaries were trained in vocational skills in carpentry, masonry, tailoring, mechanics, hairdressing and other market-driven skills.
The UN cessation clause refers back in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which UNHCR is recommending all concerned countries to invoke.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Climate change fund gets Rwf22bn boost

Amb. Gatete and DFID’s Hammond exchange documents after the signing ceremony yesterday. 
Government has earmarked Rwf 1.6 billion of domestic resources to kick-start the fund.

The United Kingdom has donated more than Rwf22 billion to Fonds National de l’Environnement (FONERWA) a fund created recently to deal with climate change and environmental degradation.

The two-year  £22.5 million non-budget support aid to help Rwanda fund its activities to deal with climate change was signed yesterday by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

FONERWA is a new initiative that the Rwandan government has set up to support environment protection and deal with climate change issues through supporting public and private clean energy and green life initiatives.

At an event held at the ministry headquarters in Kigali, Finance and Economic Planning minister Amb. Claver Gatete signed the funding agreement with Mike Hammond who heads DFID in Rwanda.

 “This contribution will make a big difference in ensuring that the population that is vulnerable to climate change is helped,” Minister Gatete said shortly after signing the agreement. “We hope that other stakeholders, including development partners, the private sector and civil society will come forward up to support this important initiative.”

The Government of Rwanda has also earmarked £1.7million (around Rwf 1,679,950,360) of domestic resources as it continues to mobilise money for the first three years of kick-starting the climate change fund.

Most of the domestic resources have come from environmental fines paid by offenders as well as fees obtained from consolidating existing environmental funds in the country, officials said.

The head of DFID in Rwanda said that Rwanda is very vulnerable to climate change because 80 per cent of her population depend on agriculture.

“Everything else we support would be in jeopardy if we do not support climate change and environment protection initiatives,” Hammond said.

He said that the funds released by his organisation are expected to help 150,000 people who are vulnerable to climate change and provide an additional 2000 people with clean energy.

The beneficiaries will be expected to use the funds in their clean energy initiatives such as biogas energy projects, reforestation, and irrigation among other projects in case of FONERWA’s approval.

The Minister of Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, said the fund will significantly contribute to green energy, support environmental initiatives, and generally curb climate change impacts.

The DFID is one of the major contributors to Rwanda’s education, agriculture, social protection, forestry, land, and environment sectors.

RwandAir acquires new aircraft

The 737-700 NG brand new Aircraft will replace the second Boeing 737-500 which has been serving for about 20 years 
RwandAir has added another brand new aircraft to its fleet.
A second dry leased Boeing 737-700 NG brand new Aircraft from Germany landed at Kigali International Airport 3:05pm local time yesterday.

The aircraft will replace the second Boeing 737-500 which has served for about 20 years, according to John Mirenge, CEO RwandAir.

“The arrival of this aircraft means that our fleet is now standing at two owned Boeing 737 – 800NG, two owned CRJ900NG, two dry leased Boeing 737-700NG and one wet leased DASH8,” Mirenge noted.

He added that the aircraft will help consolidate the newly launched flight routes in Africa but also enable the airline to reach further places, including southern Europe.

 “Our vision as an airline is to make sure that we operate aircrafts not exceeding six years and above,” Mirenge said.  

Silas Lwakabamba, the Minister for Infrastructure, commended the national flag carrier for its contribution towards the country’s economic development. 

“Everybody should be proud of this airline because of the contribution its making for us, especially on trade promotion, tourism and aviation industry; many airlines are coming here partly because of the success story of RwandAir,” Lwakabamba said.

He reaffirmed government’s support to the aviation industry. 

“We are not only giving Kigali International Airport a vigour facelift but are also doing what we must do to ensure that Bugesera Airport is ready by 2017. This will not only support Kigali International Airport but also boost our aviation industry.”    

Recently, RwandAir opened a new route to Accra Ghana. 

It also operates international flights to Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya, Entebbe, Uganda, Bujumbura, Burundi and Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Mwanza in Tanzania. 

The airline also flies to Johannesburg, South Africa, Dubai, Libreville and Brazzaville. 

It is also planning to start flights to Juba in South Sudan, as well as Douala in Cameroon and Abidjan, Ivory Coast this year, according to Mirenge.

The next delivery is expected to arrive February next year according to the airline officials.

Gatsibo District eradicating corruption

Gatsibo district with the help of the district’s advisory board are laying strategies to prevent injustice committed to the people as well as prevent and eradicate corruption to create a just and corrupt free district.
Sign posts against corruption are positions in many areas
Sign posts against corruption are positions in many areas
Isaie Habarurema the vice mayor for finance and economic development says this will be possible since the members of the Advisory board are from different authoritative levels in the district.
The board member will work together with the district to fight corruption and ensure a just district and everyone including local people will have to play their role in ensuring this goal.
Habarurema says Gatsibo has no corruption cases but will make sure it doesn’t develop and eradicate any sight of it to ensure people have justice. He went on to explain some of the strategies to fight corruption and ensure just society include giving people good services for people not to feel a need to bribe getting better services and explaining people’s rights to different services.
A toll free telephone was introduced and the number was given to people to report any corruption and give information in case they learn of it. Sensitizing local people of the law that punishes corrupt officials, the dangers of corruption to the society are among the set strategies.
Concerning creating a just society, local leaders from the village leaders to the district officials will be sensitized of their responsibilities in solving people’s problems and on time to avoid stretching cases leading to injustice to the involved parties.

Musanze: Caritas supports former street children

Parents are being blamed for not loving much their children and not giving them the much desired attention and affection prompting children to rush to the streets where their lives are at risk.
This was discussed on this Tuesday the 25th.June.2013 when former street kids in Musanze town completed technical skills course by CARITAS association in Ruhengeri Diocese.
Musanze - Ngo iyo ababyeyi bakunze abana bibarinda ubuzererezi
Most of these former street children say the main reason they moved to the streets from their homes were family problems including orphanage, lack of affection form family members, mistreatment and poverty.
Jacqueline Mukayuhi a former street child in Musanze town says she lost her parents when she was young and could not get affection and care from her family members and she decided to go on streets to beg for her survival.
“I moved among my relatives who never cared to provide me security and food. I ended up in the streets until I was picked up by Caritas Association and I learnt tailoring. I am going to teach other street children and work hard to erase my poor past.”
Fr. Theoneste Munyankindi the senior priest of Caritas in Ruhengeri Diocese says all Rwandans should fight for the rights of the children and prevent children from going on to the streets and have families.
“All children should be treated as the same and parents should respect the rights of their children, give them affection and love to grow up in families” Fr. Theoneste Munyankindi said.
The former street children were supported by Caritas Association with tools to help them start up with the technical skills they learnt worth Rwf6 million.

Rwanda focuses on eliminating Poverty

m_Rwanda focuses on eliminating Poverty
The Kigali Master plan: Economic growth in Rwanda is pointing to sustainable outcomes such as these
The Fourth Edition of the Rwanda Economic Update shows that swift and positive actions taken by the Government have successfully steered Rwanda towards a steady growth and positive outlook.
The report says that Rwanda’s economy has grown by a robust 8 percent in 2012, thus continuing a decade-long period of strong economic growth.
The growth has made Rwanda to claim for the third year in a row the title of the fastest growing economy in the EAC.
The report says that the strong growth in 2012 is attributed to a resilient private sector performance especially in the services sector with trade, telecommunication and transport generating about 40 percent of 2012 real GDP growth.
While the Ministry of Finance and Economic planning says that the economy was boosted by the booming services sector.
The Minister of finance Amb Claver Gatete says that there were fears that the economy would grow at a modest rate of 7.7 percent last year due to the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and concerns about the fiscal cliff in the US, as well as suspension of budget support by some donors over allegations that Rwanda was supporting the eastern DR Congo-based M23 rebels.
But the official final figures for last year indicated a strong economy and continued appetite for investors to pour in money.
“This was a check on whether we are a stable economy,” finance minister Amb. Claver Gatete simply noted while commenting on the 2012 figures in comparison to the then economic context.
The World Bank foresees a broadly positive outlook for Rwanda, with growth projected at 7 percent in 2013 and 7.5 percent in 2014.
“The aid shock has demonstrated not only the Government’s prudent macroeconomic management capacity, but also the vulnerability of the economy to the volatility of aid”, saysYoichiro Ishihara, World Bank Senior Economist for Rwanda.
This report uses data gathered by the statistics institute in Rwanda to examine the reduction in poverty and inequality in Rwanda over the past decade.
According to the report, the fraction of the Rwandan population living below the poverty line dropped from 59 percent in 2001 to 45 percent in 2011.
“Almost half of the reduction in poverty can be attributed to developments in agriculture, especially the increase in agricultural production and the increased commercialization of agriculture, witnessed by the rising share of harvests that are sold on local markets,” says a World Bank press release.
It asserts that diversification of livelihoods towards non-farm activities has been an important secondary driver of poverty reduction in Rwanda over the past decade.
“While Rwanda has pushed back poverty dramatically in the past decade, it is still one of the world’s poorest countries,” says Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda. “We are happy to continue supporting Rwanda’s efforts to channel its impressive growth into shared prosperity for Rwanda’s citizens.”
According to the report, “further increases in agricultural productivity will likely be the main driver for poverty reduction in the decade to come, especially if combined with increased business activity related to the boom in agriculture”.
Currently for Rwanda, the main agricultural programs do not cover the entire territory, and substantial rewards could be reaped from scaling up these programs. In addition, given the importance of the rural nonfarm sector in terms of welfare and job creation, the report says that creating an enabling environment where informal household enterprises can thrive would likely to raise rural standards of living and play a significant role in absorbing the rapidly growing labor force.

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