Thursday, 31 October 2013

Burundi transfers pension contribution for Rwandans

1383263746n4The Burundian government has finally transferred more than Brf111 million (about Rwf48 million) in contributions by Rwandans who worked in the country’s public service before the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The shares were transferred through the National Bank of Rwanda; a dummy cheque was presented to Rwandan government officials on Wednesday by Anicet Niyongabo, the director of Cabinet in the Office of the Burundian First Vice-Presidency.

This was during the meeting of the joint permanent commission comprising senior officials from the ministries of public service and foreign affairs from the two countries.

Also participating in the meeting are heads of the social security boards of the two countries and among the attributes of the permanent commission include facilitating the payment of the funds.

The money disbursed will be shared between the 1,800 claimants. It was channeled through the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB).

Burundians who were formerly employed in Rwanda had their claims settled and they receive their pension benefits on a monthly basis.

Oswald Munyandekwe, the RSSB director of pensions and occupational hazards, said contributions for 300 Rwandans had not been included but the matter is being  followed-up.

Munyandekwe said the contributions transferred constituted the second batch, following the disbursement, earlier this year, of the equivalent of 3 per cent on monthly contributions.

“The latest payment is now state contribution because, according to the pension law, the employer has to top up on an employee’s pension contribution. In the case of Burundi, the employer contributes 4.5 per cent,” he said.

Rwandans who served in various state organs in Burundi have for years been complaining that their pensions were inaccessible after returning home.

This was because a law in Burundi prohibited any pensioner residing outside the country to access their benefits.

“We are optimistic that these issues will be resolved since there is already commitment from both sides,” Vincent Munyeshaka, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, said.

The commission also discussed the issue of nationals who left either country without paying back loans as well as others who claim to have left immovable properties in both countries.

Munyandekwe said they have so far received complaints involving eight Burundians who defaulted on loans totaling Rwf50 million with two local banks.

On the Burundian side, there are about 350 Rwandans who are supposed to pay debts worth Brf153 million.

Burundi officials said 331 of these were teachers and had received the money through a savings scheme.

“For those who died, their relatives will pay. What we want is to resolve all these matters,” Niyongabo said.

Beneficiary speaks out

George Ntabazwa, who worked in Bujumbura before and after independence, said he has been seeking his pension since returning home in 1995.

The 77-year-old was an assistant medical officer in Burundi during the Belgian administration and he said he does not remember exactly how much he was earning and the amount he is supposed to get.

“I  have been waiting for that money since I returned to home. I had given up and now this is good news.”

Burundi transfers pension contribution for Rwandans

The youth, new technology and Africa’s transformation

1383263359n3While addressing participants at the just concluded Transform Africa 2014 Summit in Kigali, this week, the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Dr Hamadoun Touré, disclosed a new fond name world technology enthusiasts have bestowed on the host–President Paul Kagame.

At the ITU, he said, Kagame is referred to as the ‘Digital President.’

Considering how technology development is being prioritised in the country, in addition to being an ardent user of the latest technology and all that comes with it, the Digital President reference is definitely apt.

The Transform Africa Summit 2013, which sought to push for a major ICT revolution across the continent, attracted more than 1,500 delegates, and was graced by seven Heads of State, among other high-profile personalities, including chief executives of some of the most su ccessful tech companies in the world.

However, beyond the ongoing technology developments, what stands out is how Rwanda has embarked on a drive to encourage the youth to leverage the existing infrastructure to shape a better future for themselves, as well as their nation.

Among the highlights of the four-day summit were the special sessions with the youth. One of sessions saw 500 young men and women from across the continent interact with President Kagame.

One may argue that paying special attention to the youth is inevitable as, by virtue of their age, they are tech savvy. But, looking at the global trends, it is smart to open the gates of opportunity for the youth while tapping into their potential.

In Rwanda, youth between the ages of 17 and 35 account for about 60 per cent of the population. The statistics are similar across the African continent and the World Bank projects that by 2015, the youth population in sub-Saharan Africa would be well over 75 per cent.

African leaders must take advantage and invest in this generation that is bound to transform the continent. Having a youthful population is a great opportunity, but if misused presents a threat to stability and growth that Africa is experiencing.

Over the last five years, Rwanda’s economy has grown at an average of eight percent. The target for the next five years is 11.5 per cent, and, looking at the national strategy to spur growth, the role of the youth has been well-factored in. But they, too, need to understand that their input is key.

Tips from Digital President

While meeting the youth at the Technology Summit, the Digital President shared tips on how they can achieve their dreams and make it in life while also keeping the continent on course for prosperity.

“True success requires a lot of hard work and dedication. You must put all your energy, mind and spirit into what you are doing in order to become successful,” Kagame said.

Of course, making it big in tech remains a challenge for many globally. Competition is cutthroat and there is no definite formula on how to breakthrough in the ever evolving field. However, one sure thing is hope; those who hang on, end up making it.

“True success is a long journey that requires focus and commitment. If you are not successful today, you should not give up. If you fall, you should not stay down but, instead, you should get up and try again. If previous methods did not work, try a new approach and in the long run, you will become successful,” President Kagame added.

The President’s special attention on the youth fits in well in the overall agenda of investing in human capital as the engine for African economies to sustain and improve on the growth rate.

For Rwanda—and other African countries—to catch up and become more competitive regionally and globally, they will need professional and skilled workers and entrepreneurs who are currently in short supply. Fortunately, the ICT wave that is sweeping across Africa presents opportunities to expedite the ongoing transformation process.

Acknowledging Africa’s new momentum is not to mask the problem of unemployment.

The 2012 African Economic Outlook jointly produced by the Africa Development Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and UNDP, noted that 60 per cent of the continent’s unemployed are aged between 15 and 24 years, with the number of youth expected to double by 2045. The statistics make it a matter of urgency that if not attended to now, the opportunity presented by the young work force can easily be lost and the continent’s achievements put to waste in a short span.

In the 1940s, South Korea was in similar situation. The Asian country had a very young population and built its economy on the backbone of this labour force.

They, for example, developed a programme dubbed “Education for Economic Growth” that focused on investing in skills and education for the youth to power industrial revolution and economic growth. Their economic success is largely attributed to investing in their young labour force.

By all estimates, Africa is a continent of young people, and it is getting younger. If properly harnessed, the youth can turn the continent into one of developed countries within this generation.

The youth, new technology and Africa’s transformation

One-Laptop-Per-Child director wants teachers included in the project

1383263199n2The Chief Executive of One-Laptop-per-Child, Rodrigo Arboleda, has announced intentions to partner with Rwanda on a long-term project that would benefit both teachers and pupils.

Arboleda disclosed this yesterday after meeting with President Paul Kagame at Village Urigwiro, where the two took stock of the just concluded Transform Africa Summit and the progress of the One-Laptop-per-Child project in Rwanda.

“The programme should be labelled One-Laptop-Per-Child-and-Teacher because the first person that should have these laptops is the teacher, otherwise they can’t pass on the elements… it’s a complete eco-system of learning that we should set up,” he said.

The government launched in September 2008, the One-Laptop-per-Child  programme targeting pupils in Standard Four to Six (P4 – P6).

The country had a total primary school population of just over 2.3 million as of 2011.

As of September 2012, exactly four years after the launch, according to the Rwanda Education Board, there were about 115,000 computers in primary schools across the country.

Arboleda pointed out that One-Laptop-per-Child  programme has been a success in Rwanda.

“To develop children and make them participants of creation of their wealth is a success which is priceless,” he said.

“To date, we already have 220,000 laptops in place in Rwanda, 42,000 others are on the way and we are now considering, with government, a five-year plan to expand the project. The idea we have with the President is making Rwanda a One-Laptop-Per-Child country soon,” said Arboleda.

Speaking at the just-concluded Summit, Arboleda said Rwanda has the potential of creating a new breed of citizens who can digitally hyper enough to transform Africa.

“Transform Africa Summit has been a milestone in creating awareness and demonstrating results in regards to transforming Africa and making it a participant in economic and social development in the 21st century,” Arboleda told journalists.

He said his organisation wants to contribute to the dream and vision of making Rwanda the transformational hub of Africa in terms of participating in the digital age economies.

“We need to create wealth in the 21st century and that wealth is called, intellectual property, patents, inventions, creativity and exploration. In Rwanda you have the best possible opportunity to create a new profile of a citizen that can take that challenge and make it happen,” said Arboleda.

One-Laptop-Per-Child director wants teachers included in the project

Kigali summit adopts Smart Africa Manifesto

1383262895n1African countries have adopted a manifesto that seeks to ensure leaders place information and communication technology at the chore of national socio-economic development agenda.

The Smart Africa Manifesto, adopted at the closure of the four-day Transform Africa 2013 Summit in Kigali, yesterday, is expected to transform Africa using the power of ICT.

It places ICT at the chore of socio-economic development, enhancing capacity to develop ICTs, improving accountability and transparency, putting private sector at the engine of economic transformation, and promoting cost-effective technology.

Closing the meeting, Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi called for more commitments toward projects that will transform the continent.

He said the conference presented an excellent opportunity to meaningfully engage in high levels of dialogue to help drive innovation, create jobs and drive sustainable development in Africa.

“From this Summit, w have seen that the future can be delivered today; we must scale up our commitment toward the objectives underlined in the Manifesto. Building from the remarkable progress achieved since 2007 while leveraging broadband in our communities will drive us towards sustainable development,” the premier said.

The pillars had earlier been endorsed by the seven heads of state who spoke at a panel discussion during the conference on Tuesday.

Presidents Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (Mali), Salva Kiir Mayardit (South Sudan), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Paul Kagame of Rwanda said Africa should leverage the ICT to spur a pro-poor, sustainable growth.

The meeting was also attended by executives from Microsoft, Samsung, Facebook and IBM.

Yesterday, Dr Hamadoun Toure, the secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, reiterated the need to use ICTs in reducing poverty, creating prosperity while increasing productivity on the continent.

“There is need to collaborate with the private sector and fellow African countries to continuously invest in the necessary infrastructure, including cross border and regional networks,” Dr Toure said.

Private sector 

With the private sector in the driving seat, it is hoped that there will be more private investments to drive job creation, productivity and competitiveness.

“We must support efforts aimed at turning our continent from being largely a passive consumer to a producer of ICTs by increasing the number of local innovation hubs with the requisite business developments, financial and technological capabilities while leveraging ICT in promoting sustainable development,” he added.

Technology will also need to become more cost effective and protected in order to ensure sustainable achievements, Anne Githuku, the director of Afroes South Africa, said.

The Africa Smart Manifesto will be implemented through an alliance with the African Development Bank, World Bank, ITU and the private sector.

The next Transform Africa Summit will take place in 2015.

Kigali summit adopts Smart Africa Manifesto

BK shares boost RSE bourse

 BK shares boost RSE bourse

Today on RSE, the market recorded 115,900 BoK shares valued at Rwf 22, 253,100 in three deals compared to the previous trading session which recorded 7,400 BoK shares and 4,500 Bralirwa shares that were valued at Rwf 5, 070,600 in ten deals.

The RSE share index (RSI) went up 0.26 points to close at 218.19 and mainly pushed by the rising BoK share price which closed at Rwf 195. The BoK counter traded at a high of Rwf 195 and low of Rwf 192 before closing at RwF 195, increasing by Rwf 1 from yesterday’s closing price whereas Bralirwa counter was quiet with no shares recorded.

KCB shares last transacted at Rwf 175 while NMG and Uchumi Supermarket shares last transacted at Rwf 1,200 and Rwf 175 respectively.

At the end of formal trading hours, there were outstanding offers of 824,100 BoK shares between Rwf 195-210 and outstanding bids of 1,590,900 shares between Rwf 185-192.

On Bralirwa counter, there were outstanding offers of 448,800 shares between Rwf 823-890 and no outstanding bids.

On KCB counter; there were outstanding bids of 12,400 shares between Rwf 175-180 and no outstanding offers. On NMG counter; there was an outstanding bid of 1,000 shares at Rwf 1,200 and no outstanding offers.

BK shares boost RSE bourse

I am uncomfortable to reveal my girlfriend – Jules Sentore


Singer Sentore

At a Question and Answer session, Jules Sentore sarcastically said that he felt totally uncomfortable revealing the name of his love, saying that he does not need much media attention.

He however revealed that “She gives me that shiver down my spine…”

Meanwhile preparations are underway for his mega album launch titled Udatsikira at Kigali Serena Hotel on October 27, 2013.

Speaking to the media, Sentore invited his fans to come expecting big things. He said, “I have been working hard on this project and it will be one of my biggest projects in my music career. It’s challenging nowadays because there is a lot of competition.”

During this live concert, all Gakondo Group artists shall be present, plus legendary musicians like Makanyaga Abdoul, Jean Paul Samputu, Mariya Yohanna and many more. Tickets have are at Rwf10, 000 and Rwf5, 000 for VIP and ordinary seats respectively.

I am uncomfortable to reveal my girlfriend – Jules Sentore

Huye awards hardworking Rural Women

Huye awards hardworking Rural Women

The exemplary local women who have worked for their development from 14 sectors of Huye District have been awarded for their exemplary work.

The awarding activity was happened during the celebrations of the International Rural Women Day on Saturday October 26, 2013.

The International Rural Woman Day was celebrated in Maraba sector. The day is usually celebrated on the on October 15 annually worldwide, but Rwanda postponed the celebrations to coincide with the local Community Work (Umuganda) on Saturday.

14 women representing the 14 sectors of Huye District were awarded with mattresses by Care International.

Vestine Munganyinka a resident of Maraba sector who has participated in many projects of development than all local women in her locality in 2013 was awarded with a certificate of appreciation and a Bank cheque of Rwf200, 000.

Munganyinka started her business ventures when she got loan of Rwf60, 000 and started honey business. She later expanded her business and started other trading activities. She has managed to employ 100 people in her various activities.

With all the work she does Munganyinka pays for school fees to her two sons in the universities and three others in secondary schools as she continues to provide for her home and maintain her businesses.

She plans to use the Rwf200, 000 she was awarded, to supply water to her green house, in order to necessitate a sustainable irrigation to her tomatoes.

The International Rural Women’s Day was established in 1995 in Beijing, China during the World Women Conference. Rwanda celebrated it for the first time in 1997.

This year’s rural women day theme was ‘Claim Your Right to Dignity and Education.’ Rwanda adopted the theme to its context as: ‘Rwandan Women uphold your dignity by striving to attain development.’

Huye awards hardworking Rural Women

Rwandan Hehe Ltd scoops Transform Africa honors

Rwandan Hehe Ltd scoops Transform Africa honors

President Kagame answering questions at the Youth event last evening (Photo: PPU)

Hehe IT solutions a local Rwandan firm was among the top five young African entrepreneurs recognized at the Transform Africa Awards for developing socially transforming IT solutions.

Hehe Ltd, founded by Clarisse Iribagiza, one of the most successful Rwandan women, emerged the best receiving US$7500 (Rwf4.8 million) cash prize for a tech startup that is changing society. Other four firms from Kenya (two), Ghana and South Africa were also awarded respectively.

Clarisse Iribagiza is among the most successful of her peers, considering her accomplishments in the last three years spent in the industry.

The award ceremony was presided over by President Paul Kagame, who hosted the Transform Africa ICT summit in Kigali.

Rwandan Hehe Ltd scoops Transform Africa honors2

Hehe Ltd founder Clarisse Iribagiza and her team receive their prize (Courtesy photo)

President Kagame and the founder of Athgo, Dr. Armean Orjuan presented awards to 5 African youth startup companies that excelled in IT innovation.

At the event, Kagame asked the youth to look into themselves for solutions to advance in life, because they have limitless potentials.

During an interactive session on ICT and Africa today, President Kagame also asked the youth to invest in themselves and their passions in order to attain what they want to achieve.

“Success doesn’t always come on the first try when you fail; If  you want success, try over and over again. When you are down, you should never be out. There is no single secret to success, you have to work hard. There is no short cut to success; you have to simply work hard. The potential is unlocked when we are committed to being the ones to transform our country.” Kagame said.

President Kagame asked the youth to not despair about the future but take responsibility for what they can do and challenged them to hold their leaders accountable and make it more meaningful by also playing their part.

Counselling African youth to live meaningful lives, President Kagame said:

“As our future leaders, we want to move forward together and look at what we can do together to transform our societies. We live for a purpose and we must do the best we can.”


Rwandan Hehe Ltd scoops Transform Africa honors

Financial institutions commended for contributing to rural women development

m_Financial institutions commended for contributing to rural women development

Odda Gasinzigwa the Minister of gender and family promotion (MIGEPROF)

The ministry of gender and family promotion (MIGEPROF) has praised rural women for their remarkable step made in socio-economic development   through cooperatives and working with financial institutions.

The remarks were made during the “rural woman” celebrations in Rwanda on October 26, 2013 during.

Marie Rose Ndejeje, vice president of the National Women’s Council highlights that rural women have attained social development through utilizing loans from small financial institutions.

“Rural women have taken up accessing loans from financial institutions this year 2013.”

Odda Gasinzigwa, the Minister of gender and family promotion confirms that women have developed at different levels though some incur losses for different reasons.

On the loss issue, Gasinzigwa says it’s common in business but the remedy lies between financial institutions, National Women’s Council (NWC) and women themselves.

She advised that: “If you suffer loss, approach financial institutions and get help over repayment process and advice.”

She indicated that NWC in partnership with MINICOM is working on the issue so that women do not continue to incur losses.

Though some women still face challenges like denial on property inheritance and gender based violence, Rwanda comes first among countries that promote women emancipation in the world.

Financial institutions commended for contributing to rural women development

Ruhango: Residents advised against stigmatising Children with disabilities

Ababyeyi barasabwa kudaheza mu bikari abana bafite ubumuga

Madalena Nirere, head of the National human rights commission in Rwanda

Parents and residents in Ngororero District have been advised to put forward their children who live with disabilities so that they access rights like other ordinary children.

According to Maderena Nirere; Head of National human rights commission people should not isolate the disabled children but they should rather bring them out so that their rights are exercised.

Nirere says disabled children have rights like other Rwandans and therefore should enjoy their rights with ease.

It’s in this regard that different administrative levels have come up to advocate for the disabled children so that negative attitude is changed among Rwandans, Nirere says.

“We ask parents of the disabled children to change their mindset and let the children enjoy their rights.”

Jolie Germaine Mugeni, vice mayor for social affairs in Ruhango district highlights that sensitizing residents on disabled rights’ is aimed at informing the public that the disabled are entitled to all opportunities like normal people.

Mugeni explained that the district administration tries its best so that the disabled feel normal and loved in Rwandan society.

Ruhango: Residents advised against stigmatising Children with disabilities

Karongi safe with Net Fish farming method, improved fishing

The Net Fish farming has become the solution to fishers in Lake Kivu by providing quality fish production during the period when Lake Kivu is off the limits for fishing.

Lake Kivu has made it a routine to close off fishing for two months every year to allow the growth of fish in the lake.


Karongi safe with Net Fish farming method, improved fishing

A fisherman from feeding fish in the Net Fish Farming

 With the closure of Fish in Lake Kivu from September to November every year, fishermen in Karongi District are no longer affected by this program. This is after the introduction of Net fishing method by the government of Rwanda and The Integrated Installation and Interior Lakes Management Support Project (PAIGELAC).

With this type of fishing, one net is capable of producing quality fish harvest more than 2 000 fish. In Karongi district, this net fishing has been operational for a year; it is done by Baraka cooperative that operates in Bwishyura sector.

Eduard Nsabimana making the nets for fish farming

Eduard Nsabimana making the nets for fish farming

Edouard Nsabimana who makes nets that are used in fishing says these nets are made stronger to hold the fish for the longest period of time in the water.  Nsabimana says the fish farmed in these nets are got from Bugesera lakes that are so productive in this type of fish farming.

Daniel Mutemberezi is a member of Baraka Cooperative that does net fishing. “Ever since net fish farming started in 2012, Karongi district has never lacked fish even if Lake Kivu is out of boundaries for fishing” says Mutemberezi.

He further says, this type of fish farming was introduced by PAIGELAC project that was operating in the Ministry of Agriculture but its operational period is over.


Karongi safe with Net Fish farming method, improved fishing

Huye: District focuses to improving academic performance in schools


With the aim of improving the academic performance of Ecole Autonome de Butare School-Huye District, the school has been privatized to Imanzi Investment Group (IIG) that is expected to reshape it.

This comes after the school has had challenges like late salary payment to the teachers and mismanagement of funds that led to the poor performance in academics.

IIG revealed to the parents during the event to close 2012-2013 academic year that the academic performance is going to change for the best in the next academic year.

Imanzi Investment Group is a business company established by the National University of Rwanda (NUR) staff. It’s based in National University of Rwanda, Huye City Southern Province and one of Rwanda’s leading investors for private and institutional projects.

Emmanuel Nkurunziza, one of the parents says that they have been elated by the news that Imanzi Investment Group has been put in charge to improve the academic excellence of their school.

Another parent, Pelagie Kankindi says:

“There has been cases of teachers getting salaries in three months time, which discourages them and reduces on their commitment. However with the new measures, the school will be on top in academics. ”

Jean Paul Murekezi, Chief Executive Officer of Imanzi Investment group explains that its not investing but improving the education quality for Rwandan children.

Murekezi highlights : “Our priority isn’t profits but we strive to make our children get the best education and be of great use to the nation.”

Some of the areas that will be worked on are recruiting new and experienced teaching staff, training teachers and renovating old buildings.

Huye: District focuses to improving academic performance in schools

Girinka Program bringing remarkable change to Gisagara widows

Girinka Program bringing remarkable change to Gisagara widows Girinka Program bringing remarkable change to Gisagara widows

The one cow per family ‘girinka’ programme has been instrumental in getting people out of poverty

 A cross section of the widows who were given cows in Gisagara District in Girinka Program are grateful to the program that they say has changed their social welfare from – poor to being farmers.

These widows are now supporting this program by giving out cows to their neighbours to allow them to also be farmers.

Girinka program is a poverty reduction strategy that was initiated in 2006 by President Paul Kagame. This program aims at having every poor household in Rwanda to in due course receive a dairy cow which in turn is expected to result in better livelihood.

These are basically are for milk  for consumption and selling, improved agricultural productivity from improved soil fertility as a result of the application of cow manure to the cultivated land.

One of the mechanisms for making this program self-sustaining is the tradition that when the cow gives birth, the calf is given to a neighbour who in turn gives the next calf to the next neighbor and so on.

Mariya Tereza Bankundiye a widow in Mugombwa sector was given a cow in Girinka program. Ever since she got a cow, her social life changed completely

“My family got milk for consumption; I can provide for them, feed them, dress them and even pay for their school fees and other expenses. I can pay for Mutuelle de santé ‘medical insurance’ and all other social contributions.”

Justine Mukabayitare is another widow who was given a cow in 2008 and resides in Save sector. “My cow has reproduced twice, my farming is much better with the manure I get. My four children are in secondary schools and I pay their school dues and provide for them when in the past I relied on other people’s support.”

To show their gratitude to the government of Rwanda for supporting them when in need, these widows in Gisagara District are ready to support Girinka program in which way possible so that every Rwandan can have the chance to get out of poverty by owning a cow.


Girinka Program bringing remarkable change to Gisagara widows

Mothers advised to eat balanced diet during pregnancy for healthy babies

Mothers advised to eat balanced diet during pregnancy for healthy babies

The head of National Women’s Council (NWC) in Gatsibo District Olive Mbabazi, has advised mothers of Karambi cell, Ngarama sector in Gatsibo district to feed children well right from pregnancy for good development because they are the future leaders.

The call was made on 26th October 2013 during the event to celebrate international day of rural women which took place during community work (umuganda) to sensitize residents on proper nutrition for children and pregnant women in Rwanda.

According to Mbabazi explains that community work and International day of rural women were merged with an aim of reminding women to prepare balanced diet for their families.

In his speech, Senator Celestin Sebuhoro who was a guest of honor at the event highlighted that as future leaders, children should be given a strong foundation before they are born, a foundation which according to him is a balanced diet.

Sebuhoro explains: “A child must be cared for even before birth and after birth up to three years of age that make 1000 days.” Other nutrition experts say a child need such care from zero year to five years when the body immune system begin to be strong

Marie Claire Kayitesi, in charge of supervision at Ngarama health centre says that the event was aimed at reducing diseases related to poor feeding.

Apart from making kitchen gardens, construction of Nine years basic education classrooms was started during the community work.

Residents also repaired a house of an elderly woman and donated materials to her to build a latrine.


Mothers advised to eat balanced diet during pregnancy for healthy babies

Global IT experts in Rwanda for Transform Africa 2013


More than 1,500 ICT experts from across the world are taking part in a four-day

Continental Innovative Conference dubbed Transform Africa at Serena Hotel in Kigali.

The Summit is organised under the theme, “The Future Delivered Today,” as leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs from across the world devise ways on how Africa can leverage broadband to transform communities, governments and the private sector.

On the first day on October 28, 2013 officials affirmed the role ICT plays in the development of Africa.

The delegates have said that Africa has made concrete strives in ICT in its endeavor to use technology in the transformation of its economy.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary General Dr. Hamadoun Touré said Africa made commendable progress in ICT especially in the telecommunication in the view of the number of people with cell phones growing drastically.

Some countries like Rwanda have made remarkable steps in embracing the use of ICT.

In Rwanda programs like One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is used as an example of how far the country has gone in this process

“Apart from the ICT experts who are converging in Kigali, to look at how ICT could be an instrument for African economic growth.

Other international telecommunication companies such as Samsung and KT from Korea are taking the opportunity to showcase their products in Rwanda as well as the whole region.

Korea Telecom, the largest LTE investor in Rwanda, said the conference highlights the level of optmism Africa has for ICT development.

“Africa’s digital future is achievable considering that the continent is fast adapting to the new technologies. Korea Telecom is looking forward to partner with Africa to realise its potential,” said Kim Hong Jin Kim, the president of Korea Telecom.

Kim said Rwanda market is one of the key market and its growing very well because the country has embraced technology better than any EAC country.

The CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Amb. Valentine Sendanyoye Rugwabiza said the current state in the use of ICT has made the African continent recognized for its rapid economic growth with technology being one of the major drivers.

She added that today every part of the world seek partnership with Africa.

Aside from President Paul Kagame, other heads of state are also taking part in an interactive panel discussion at the summit.

The presidents include; Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Blaise Compaoré  of Burkina Faso, Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, and Ibrahim  Boubacar Keïta of Mali.

In 2012, the UN-backed ITU report ranked Rwanda among top 10 countries in Africa with active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.

ITU estimates that 95 per cent broadband penetration will translate into a 10 to 13 per cent boost in Growth Domestic Product for Rwanda.

The 2013 Networked Readiness Index by World Economic Forum and European Institute of Business Administration ranked Rwanda among the top 10 countries in Africa that are in good position to benefit from new ICTs, early this year.


Global IT experts in Rwanda for Transform Africa 2013

Elche denounce fans for abusing Nyom

Allan Nyom

Allan Nyom

La Liga club Elche have denounced their own fans who racially abused Granada’s French defender Allan Nyom in Saturday’s La Liga game at their Martinez Valero stadium in Alicante.

Nyom reacted to a chorus of what referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande said in his match report were “monkey chants” from one section of the crowd in the 89th minute by angrily booting the ball towards them and was booked.

The official then ordered an announcement to be made telling the Elche fans to desist.

“The club repudiates in the strongest possible terms the racist chants directed at the player Nyom that came from one very small section of the crowd,” Elche said on their website (

“In fact, after the incident, Elche CF called via the public address system for an immediate end to the behaviour and ordered that it not be repeated, as actually happened,” they added.

Nyom, who is in his fifth season with Granada, said he regretted kicking the ball into the crowd and he did not consider Elche a racist club.

“It was an impulsive reaction,” the 25-year-old was quoted as saying in Tuesday’s edition of Marca sports daily.

“I shouldn’t have done it but sometimes you just lose your temper,” he added

“It was my way of responding to what was happening to me. What can I do? It was a handful of people who were trying to destabilise me.

“In France it never happened to me but in Spain it’s not the first time I have experienced something similar.”

The persistent presence of racism in soccer stadiums was recently highlighted by the abuse suffered by Manchester City’s Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure during last week’s Champions League game at CSKA Moscow.

Elche denounce fans for abusing Nyom

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Young African ICT entrepreneurs honoured in Kigali


President Paul Kagame poses with the winners of the Transform Africa Continental Awards. The New Times/Village Urugwiro

Five young African entrepreneurs were yesterday honoured with the Transform Africa Awards for developing socially transforming IT solutions.

President Paul Kagame was the guest of honour at the Awards ceremony during which he interacted with more than 500 young ICT enthusiasts drawn from around the continent.

Firms from Rwanda, Kenya (two), Ghana and South Africa were awarded, courtesy of Athgo International, a firm dedicated to empowering the youth in the ICT field around the world.

Rwanda’s start-up, Hehe Ltd, developed by Clarisse Iribagiza, emerged the best, and received US$7500 (Rwf4.8 million) cash prize.

“Hehe Ltd was founded in 2010 as a mobile technologies company with a vision to help transform Rwanda and Africa into an information society by increasing access to vital information,” Amiri Mugarura, the chief technology officer, Hehe Ltd, said.

The awards ceremony closed the third day of the ongoing Transform Africa Summit 2013 at the Kigali Serena Hotel. The summit ends today.

Both the first and second runners-up were Kenyan firms, Mobicraft Solutions, a faith-based SMS service, and Fishmate Ltd, which links Kenyan fish farmers to their customers. They received US$5,000 and US$3000 cash prizes, respectively.

South Africa’s Powerbox, a phone charging innovation start-up, and Ghana’s Mnotify Ltd, a customer service innovation, emerged fourth and fifth, respectively, taking US$2000 each.

President Kagame reminded the youth to work hard in order to achieve their dreams.

“Success is not something that comes overnight. True success requires a lot of hard work, a lot of learning and dedication. You must put all your energy, mind and spirit into what you are doing in order to become successful,” Kagame said.

He added: “True success is a long journey that requires focus and commitment. If you are not successful today, you should not give up. If you fall, you should not stay down but, instead, you should get up and try again. If previous methods did not work, try a new approach and in the long run, you will become successful.”

The event moderator, Armen Orujyan, the founder and chairman of Athgo International, also urged the youth to boldly pursue their dreams.

“You must find what you love to do early enough and start doing it. This is the biggest difference between people who are successful as entrepreneurs and those who are always seeking for employment,” Orujyan said.

The Transform Africa 2013 Summit, which seeks to push for a major ICT revolution across the continent, attracted over 1,500 delegates, and was graced by seven Heads of State from Burkina Faso, Gabon, Kenya, Mali, South Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda.

source:The new times

Young African ICT entrepreneurs honoured in Kigali

Miss Rwanda pageant for next year


Minister for Sports and Culture Protais Mitali (L), Andrew Kareba of Rwanda Inspiration Backup Ltd (C) and Miss Rwanda Aurore Mutesi Kayibanda. The New Times/Joseph Oindo

It’s official. The eagerly awaited Miss Rwanda beauty pageant will not be held this year. This means that reigning Miss Rwanda 2012, Aurore Mutesi Kayibanda will still hold the coveted title until February 22, 2014 when her successor will be known. Kayibanda was crowned Miss Rwanda in September last year.

The new date was announced yesterday by the Minister for Sports and Culture Protais Mitali, at a press conference held at the ministry headquarters at Amahoro Stadium, Remera.

Mitali said all measures are in place to ensure that Rwanda holds a beauty contest that meets international standards under the theme, My Beauty and Skills for Self-reliance.

The minister reiterated that Miss Rwanda 2014 is going to be a fertile ground for women empowerment. It will build their confidence and capacities in a bid to showcase their abilities using their beauty and skills, for the ultimate purpose of dignifying the Rwanda nation.

He added that it was not possible to hold the beauty pageant this year, noting that Rwanda has only had two beauty contests since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi almost 20 years ago.

“I can assure you that what we have learned is enough to make sure that the pageant is held successfully every year,” Mitali promised.

Also present was the outgoing Miss Rwanda 2012, who talked of the success and challenges it takes to wear the crown. She encouraged those who are eyeing the prestigious title to be confident and participate with the self-belief that they will eventually triumph.

The winner will drive away in a grand prize of Hyundai 110 car. She will get cash as well as other prizes on top of representing the country in Miss World beauty pageant in London next year.

Apart from representing Rwanda in various future international beauty pageants, the winner is also expected to participate in numerous socio-economic activities in the country.

“The winner is not just going to be a Miss Rwanda. This is going to be a full-time work that will also be geared towards improving the image of the country,” Mitali added.

The search for new Miss Rwanda will officially kick off on December 28 in the Eastern Province, in Rwagama at Centre d’Accueil Sainte Agnès.

One week later, on January 11, the focus will shift to Northern Province and the venue will be Musanze Hall. The Southern Province will hold its contest on January 25, at the University of Rwanda, (NUR), followed by Southern Province a week later and finally Kigali City will close the preliminary contests on January 31, 2014 in Petit Stade, Remera.

Each province will produce three contestants to compete in the finals. The 15 finalists from the 5 provinces will then move to the Boot Camp at La Palisse Gashora, where they will undergo intensive training and orientation before the grand finale.

Those to participate are expected to fulfill the international beauty pageant rules that include: being a citizen of Rwanda aged between 18-24 years, at least 1.7 metres tall, having an upright posture and possessing good public speaking skills.

source:The New Times

Miss Rwanda pageant for next year

Police outclass Etincelles


Peter Kagabo scored one goal and was involved in two others as Police thrashed Etincelles 6-0 yesterday at Stade de Kigali. Times Sport/T. Kisambira

Police 6-0 Etincelles

Mukura 0-1 APR

Espoir  1-2 Rayon Sports

Esperance 2-3 Musanze

Marines 0-1 SC Kiyovu

Gicumbi 0-1 AS Kigali

AS Muhanga 1-1 Amagaju

MIDFIELDER Imran Nshimiyimana netted a brace as Police routed Etincelles 6-0 in the sixth round of the Turbo King Football league yesterday at Stade de Kigali.

Sam Ssimbwa’s side displayed fine football as they started from where they stopped in the 2-1 win over Rayon Sports to register the biggest win of the season by any team. APR scored six against Marines on day two of the season, but they conceded two.

Leaders AS Kigali maintained their impressive start to the season as they snatched another slim 1-0 win over hosts Gicumbi FC. Bodo Ndikumana’s lone goal helped AS Kigali move to 15 points in six matches played this season.

Champions Rayon Sports recovered from the weekend loss to Police register a 2-1 win over hosts Espoir in Rusizi. Cedric Amissi and Fuadi Ndayisenga snatched crucial goals to move to fourth position with 13 points, level with APR, who beat Mukura 1-0 in Huye.

Djuma Bizimana scored an own goal to help the military side move into the top three despite a poor start.

At Stade de Kigali, Nshimiyimana’s first goal of the season came after he took advantage of a defensive blunder from skipper Ndayisenga Mbanyi to score past goalie Mukadi Irunga off D’amour Uwimana’s corner in the 24th minute.

Two minutes later Uwimana curled home a superb free kick, scoring the second goal from the edge of the box where Innocent Habyarimana had been ….

Peter Kagabo made it three as he chipped a brilliant ball outside the penalty box in the 27th minute as Ssimbwa’s side sent a strong statement to rivals.

The first half ended 3-0 but would have been five if Jacques Tuyisenge and Kipson Atuheire’s headers were not ruled out due to contentious off-side decisions.

Atuheire bagged his third goal of the season and fourth for Police after connecting a well-prepared set piece which the former APR and URA striker neatly put past Irunga in 52nd minute.

Nshimiyimana was again on the score sheet as he headed a fifth goal off Donatien Tuyisenge’s corner in the 70th minute. The scoring rout was completed ten minutes later when Jacques Tuyisenge dribbled past three defenders and chipped a delightful ball beyond the reach of goalie Irunga.

The win moves Police to fifth position with 11 points, while Etincelles who suffered their first loss of the season, dropped to Seventh position.

Elsewhere, Musanze maintained their grip on the second position with 14 points after a 3-2 win over Esperance, while Gilbert Kanyankole’s SC Kiyovu moved into eighth position after notching their second of the season with a 1-0 win over Marines.

At the bottom, Amagaju registered their first point of the season after a 1-all draw away to fellow strugglers AS Muhanga. Amagaju’s point was secured under caretaker coach Pablo Nduwimana following the resignation of head coach abdul Mbarushimana early this week.

source:The new Times

Police outclass Etincelles

Samsung, Oracle laud Rwanda on business and investment


Dr. Hamadoun Toure, the Secretary General of International Telecommunication Union addresses the summit. Participants have tipped Rwanda as a top investment destination. The New Times/T. Kisambira

Asured security, functioning commercial systems and the recent reforms that promote business play a huge role in attracting big companies to come and invest in Rwanda, Thierry Boulanger, the Samsung Africa director, has said.

“Rwanda has the capacity of becoming an investment and financial hub in Africa. This is why Samsung is here,” he said.

According to Boulanger, investors should not look at Rwanda in terms of its market size, but rather focus on how to tap into the vast opportunities the country offers, especially in the exports and technology sectors.

He noted that small countries, including Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong have attracted huge investments despite their geographical size.

He challenged investors not only to focus on profits, but how they can help the country transform into a middle income economy that will provide more business opportunities.

“The strategy to assist an economy grow is reciprocal because once households income improve, investors will benefit from the growing purchasing power,” Boulanger said on the sidelines of the ongoing Transform Africa Summit in Kigali on Tuesday.

More than 1,500 delegates are taking part in the summit in Kigali. The summit is organised under the theme, “The Future Delivered Today,” and has brought together leaders, investors and entrepreneurs from across the world to devise ways on how Africa can leverage broadband to transform communities, governments and the private sector.

Boulanger added that it is also important for investors to play a leading role in building local skills because it cuts operational costs and is efficient in the long-run.

“Investing in training programmes reduces cost of production because firms will be able to get skilled workers locally. That’s what Samsung is doing in Rwanda,” he said.

He, however, said it is essential for businesses to access cheap power to achieve sustainable growth.

Gurhan Kalelioglu, the Oracle Investments vice-president, who is also attending the summit, advised Rwanda to invest more money in infrastructure development, renewable energy, skills growth and business reforms to further improve the business environment for enterprises to thrive.

Rwanda was ranked the second-best country after Mauritius in the ease of doing business in Africa, and 32 out of the 189 countries surveyed globally, according to the World Bank Doing Business report for 2014.

Source:The New Times

Samsung, Oracle laud Rwanda on business and investment

UN, Facebook and Microsoft root for science education


Children browse the Internet at the summit in Kigali on Tuesday. The New Times/T. Kisambira

Officials from the United Nations, Facebook and Microsoft have pledged to support science-based education in Africa and Rwanda in particular.

Matt Perault, Facebook’s head of global policy development, said the social networking media is currently looking at ways of reducing the cost of accessing data on the African continent.

He said the company welcomes the idea of supporting innovative projects, especially in data efficiency and data application right at the student level.

“We would like the public on this continent to understand that they can use information to drive the outcome on the African continent and more specifically in Rwanda,” Perault said.

“Giving the young generation robust kinds of activities that will keep them connect in the areas of knowledge will strengthen growth in this country.”

Robert Kayihura, the Microsoft legal and corporate affairs director, also affirmed the company’s commitment to support over 200,000 youth within the circles of ICTs, including fresh graduates in other science disciplines in a bid to develop African talents in areas of technology and innovation.

“We hope to partner with government and other stakeholders in building the youth capacity in science and technology through supporting science subjects,” Kayihura said.

He said Microsoft has so far established about 10,000 partners on the African continent and looks forward to scaling up this partnership.

“We are looking at scaling up our support on the African continent through our partners through our African strategy which we launched seven months ago,” he said.

Microsoft has more than 600,000 partners across the world.

The US global IT firm announced in April that Rwanda was among few countries in Africa which were selected as the beneficiaries of “Microsoft 4Afrika initiative” which seek to put one million African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) online.

The initiative is worth $75 million (about Rwf47 billion).

Microsoft intends to help 75 per cent of fresh graduates in the select African nations get job placements.

The government is considering five key areas where to partner with the Microsoft initiative, including services such as e-government, e-health, e-agriculture, e-education and the growth of SMEs using the power of information and telecommunication technology.

Tapping the fabrics

Rodrigo Arboleda, the chair and chief executive of One-Laptop-Per-Child project, tasked the companies to create an more impact by extending the service to rural Africa to grow the continent’s ability to innovate.

The move, considered the only plausible way to develop Africa’s innovative talent, will create millions of jobs across the continent, according to Lamin Manneh, the United Nations resident coordinator.

Manneh, who was addressing the transform Africa Summit 2013 in Kigali, yesterday, said the UN is committed to supporting innovative curriculum   intended to equip the youth with the required market skills.

“We are already working with government entities such as Rwanda Development Board where we have supported the establishment of electronic investment web site for investors to access information about investments in country,” he said.

Manneh said the UN is also ready to continue supporting Rwanda, especially in the areas of capacity building and science education.

“This is where we believe opportunities for Rwanda’s future generation lie,”  he said.

source:The New Times

UN, Facebook and Microsoft root for science education

Rwanda is hosting the four-day Transform Africa Summit 2013 which has been attended by seven African leaders and over 1,500 delegates from around the world. Executives from Microsoft, Samsung, Facebook and IBM were also in attendance to devise ways on how Africa can leverage broadband to transform communities, governments and the private sector. Below are some of the photos captured in at the event

President Kagame tours one of the stands at the Transform Africa Summit 2013 exhibition in Kigali

Entertainment at a State Banquet hosted by President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame

Entertainment at a State Banquet hosted by President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame


Transform Africa Summit as it was followed by President Kagame at one among numerous stands in Kigali

Transform Africa Summit as it was followed by President Kagame at one among numerous stands in Kigali

President Kagame encourages children, seeing their readiness towards Transforming Rwanda and Africa

President Kagame encourages children, seeing their readiness towards Transforming Rwanda and Africa

President Paul Kagame ,CEO and Chairman of Korea Telecom Suk-chae Lee and Athgo Chairman, Dr

President Paul Kagame ,CEO and Chairman of Korea Telecom Suk-chae Lee and Athgo Chairman, Dr

Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana addresses participants at the Transform Africa Summit 2013

Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana addresses participants at the Transform Africa Summit 2013



President Museveni of Uganda addresses participants as President Kagame and President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon look on at the Transform Africa Summit 2013

President Museveni of Uganda addresses participants as President Kagame and President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon look on at the Transform Africa Summit 2013

President Uhuru Kenyatta at the sidelines of Kenya Transform Africa Summit 2013 in Kigali

President Uhuru Kenyatta at the sidelines of Kenya Transform Africa Summit 2013 in Kigali



Entertainment at a State Banquet hosted by President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette

Entertainment at a State Banquet hosted by President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette

African Transformation, a necessity to young ones for better future

African Transformation, a necessity to young ones for better future

Ladies enjoying use of digital technology during the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali

Ladies enjoying use of digital technology during the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali


Congo: M23 Can Only Be Eliminated Through Negotiated Settlement – Says US

M23 can only be eliminated through negotiated settlement - says US

The US special envoy to the Great Lakes Region has said that Kampala talks should be followed to the end. He told this to the French International Broadcaster RFI and below are excerpts of the interview.

Q: War has resumed in the East of the Democratic republic of Congo since Friday and the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) are having the upper-hand. To resolve the problem of M23 rebels is the military force the best solution?

Russell Feingold: No. That’s not my reading of things (of the situation). The military solution doesn’t respond to problems caused by the M23 and the forty or forty-five other groups in the region. What it requires us, is a negotiated peace accord with the M23 like the ongoing process, in the framework of the Kampala negotiations. It’s important that these talks reach their objectives soon because that would put an end to the fighting, but it’s also important to achieve that without giving amnesty to those who have committed serious crimes. So, as far as I’m concerned, an excessive military effort risks jeopardizing the Kampala talks and the possibility of seeing the M23 surrendering. It also risks jeopardizing the initiatives for peace that are backed by the international community and the African Union. So, yes, we have seen that the Congolese military has had several victories lately, but we think that at this time, restraint will be the best option.

Q: A few days ago, you met with President Kabila in Kinshasa. Aren’t you afraid that he is getting carried away by his victories and trying to solve the problem with a major military offensive?

Russell Feingold: I met him before the recent fightings, and he didn’t deny that he would decide on the necessity of a military initiative, but he didn’t give me the impression of a man who was motivated by a military solution. In Kampala, he gave a go-ahead to the negotiators to reach an accord. I managed to see the Congolese negotiators working hard during the five days I was there, and I have the impression that the Congolese government wishes that the process bears fruit, because the military option is not the option he prefers. So we encourage the DRC to show restraint as much as possible.

Q: You also met with President Kagame in Kigali. If the M23 is suffering defeat after defeat, aren’t you afraid that the Rwandan Army can intervene directly on the (battle) field on the side of the M23?

Russell Feingold: It would be an unfortunate development. The Rwandan government and President Kagame say that the M23 is not their movement. We have told them about our worry. We have told them that we think the M23 gets supports. They say they are in favor of the end (destruction) of the M23, that’s exactly what President Kagame has told our group of special envoys, and he has told me that personally. Because it’s what the framework accord envisages, and Rwanda has signed that framework accord. In fact, when the five special envoys met with Paul Kagame some days ago, he made a strong statement in which he requested that the accord be finalized that same evening. That’s not what happened, but there is no doubt that the accord requires the end to M23, and not an implication (involvement) in another war that aims at supporting the M23. And of course, we don’t encourage the latter option which, in addition, would be in contradiction with the engagements of the Rwandan government.

Q: For a year now, you have been imposing sanctions to Rwanda over its support to the rebels of the M23. Have the sanctions had an effect on the ground? Has Rwanda distanced itself from the M23?

Russell Feingold: First of all, to the best of my knowledge, the sanctions target the M23, even if American legislators have recently decided on sanctions to punish those who encourage the recruitment of child soldiers by the M23. It’s a serious issue and as a result, we have decided to take back part of our military assistance because of evidences that we have. I don’t know what has been the impact of these sanctions. But I know that the United States have no other choice but to mean that this kind of practice has indeed happened. I know that the government wholeheartedly seeks to avoid the recruitment of child soldiers, we feel enough at ease to remind that these practices cannot be tolerated, even (when carried out) in an indirect way. With Rwanda, our objective is to have a positive and continuous relation. It’s a friend country to the United States; we acknowledge the progress the country has made following the tragedy it went through. Our concerns regarding the support vis-à-vis the M23 are harming an otherwise excellent relation. So we would like so much to work with Rwanda to allow the Kampala talks to bear fruit, in order to see the M23 demolished, and in order to have a relation in which we wouldn’t need to speak of sanctions or things of the kind.

Q: President Kagame affirms that the war will not end as long as the Rwandan Hutu rebels, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) continue to cause havoc in the region with the help of FARDC [the Congolese Armed Forces]. Also Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete suggests a big round-table with everybody, including the FDLR. But Rwanda doesn’t absolutely want that. They say they cannot discuss with forces of the evil. What do you think about that?

Russell Feingold: I understand why President Kagame is reluctant to engage in this kind of negotiations, and I don’t believe that talks between a sovereign nation and an illegal armed group − as if they were two equal partners – would be the best way to solve this kind of problem. The states-nations involved must be those that take part in negotiations, they must be at the same table; that is, Congo, Rwanda and other countries that are affected. And in the course of this process, then yes, the issue of the FDLR and the issues that carry on about the M23 must be talked about, but that doesn’t mean that these groups must have to sit at the table. They are illegal armed groups. Each of these nations has signed a framework accord which stipulates that these groups must not be tolerated, so I think there is a better approach other than the one which consists of organizing a series of negotiations between a sovereign nation and a rebel group which is considered hostile.

Q: At the discussions in Kampala, the Congolese government threatens to prosecute the rebel chiefs. But when one negotiates with people saying, “As soon as you have signed an accord, I will put you into prison”, isn’t that a way of jeopardizing these negotiations?

Russell Feingold: Congo has the right to try the authors of serious crimes, and those who have ordered them. One cannot expect that Congo renounces this right just because it has accepted to enter the negotiations, it’s not appropriate. There is a difference from an amnesty granted to people who have mounted a rebellion – the Congolese government is compliant  with that, it has studied the issue in a reasonable way. But Congo, the international community, and quite recently the United States cannot support an accord that anticipates an amnesty for the authors of serious crimes. This is a way of avoiding the errors of the past, and it’s what the Congolese say in Kinshasa and in the rest of the country. Granting amnesty in a repetitive way to the same people who committed serious crimes has no sense! We are required to take a bend and reach up to a reasonable peace accord, which guarantees security for the members of the M23 who (will) have been demobilized and disarmed, but which [the peace accord] doesn’t anticipate an amnesty for the authors of serious crimes.

Q: In Congo and Rwanda, one of the problems is the absence of true democracy and the respect of human rights. What do you think of the detention of Victoire Ingabire in a Kigali-based prison and the one [detention] of Diomi Ndongala in a prison in Kinshasa?

Russell Feingold: I believe that the democratic mechanisms that compel/require (people) to be held accountable reinforce these countries internally and also allow these countries to have the best relations with their neighbours, because the populations can express their desire of peace. One of the most important aspects of my role and the one of Mary Robinson and other special envoys is to encourage the process of reform in Congo. We encourage, with pressure, the organisation of local and provincial elections in the next two years, we wish that the agency that is in charge of these elections, be given transparent financial support, we are looking forward to seeing a more credible presidential election organized in DRC in 2016, contrary to what we saw in 2011, whereas the 2006 election was relatively well-organized. And in the same way, in Rwanda, other democratic practices, that give more room to the expression of the opposition and which require the government to be held accountable, must also be encouraged.

RFI: Have you raised the issue of Victoire Ingabire (while) with President Kagame and the one of Diomi Ndongala (while) with President Kabila?

Russell Feingold: Personally, no. Most of these topics are talked about in a bilateral way by our ambassadors. My role is to deal with issues that relate to the Great Lakes, so in these two countries it’s our two ambassadors who deal with this sort of things.

Congo: M23 Can Only Be Eliminated Through Negotiated Settlement – Says US

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

WB to increase support for innovative reforms

1383090578n4The World Bank will increase its support towards innovative business and infrastructural reforms in order to boost economic development on the African continent.

Projects that support market liberalisation, mobile banking, and innovative infrastructural reforms, especially in the ICT industry will be given a priority.

“Last fiscal year, we financed projects worth $5.3 billion in the sub-Saharan Africa. We expect this budget for the African continent to increase by the next year because we believe Africa presents high hopes for the rest of the world,” Jean Philippe Prosper Vice president World Bank Group told The New Times on the sidelines of the Transform Africa summit in Kigali. “This year five per cent of our budget went to the  African continent. This will, by the end of this year,  increase to 20 per cent. We will not be surprised if Africa is number one priority on our list.”

According to Philippe, a 10 per cent ICT penetration rate will result into an increase of about 1.3 per cent Gross Domestic Product on the African continent.

The Bank is already supporting Rwanda Revenue Authority’s new application which will facilitate SMEs to declare and pay their taxes on time.

While Asia’s broad band penetration has reached 60 per cent, and 40 per cent in Latin America, Africa still lags behind with only 3 per cent penetration.

Rwanda is on track

“Rwanda is surprising the rest of the world, it’s now ranked number 32 out the 189 countries we surveyed in our doing business report 2014.”

Hamadou Toure, the Secretary General International Telecommunications Union said economic development on the continent should be private sector driven.

Hamadou challenged African leaders to transform the continent from being a passive consumer to becoming an active producer for the rest of the world’s economies.

Robert Kayihura, director legal and corporate affairs at Microsoft world ,pledged support in capacity building.

“As Microsoft we are ready to support those projects which will help solve the problem of the skills gap on the African continent,” Kayihura said.

“A lot of business opportunities are not yet exploited on the continent because of lack of right technological skills.”

WB to increase support for innovative reforms

5,800 demoted from Advanced Level to sit Senior Three exams

1383090474n3A countrywide audit of secondary schools established that over 5,800 students in the upper section of high school had snubbed ordinary level (O’level) examinations, and will need to sit these S.3 exams before they are allowed to proceed.

Some of these students, according to Rwanda Education Board (Reb), will be among the 96,000 candidates who will sit the O’level exams that start today, together with the Advanced Level national exams.

Reb statistics show that 31,053 candidates will sit A’level papers.

The new development comes after government made it a requirement to have the lower level certificate in order to register for the advanced level examinations.

Emmanuel Muvunyi, the deputy director for examinations at Reb,  told The New Times on Monday that some of the students affected were already in Senior Six, but could not specify the figure, nor could he state how many of the affected will take the O’level exams this year.

“It is a number of students who skipped O’level exam because, either they did not study Senior Three or studied it but just did not sit the national exams,” he said. “We cannot tell how many of these will do exams today but we have given them three years within which to do the exams and earn the ‘O-level certificate.”

After realising that some of the candidates who were applying to sit for A’level exams did not have O’level certificates, a countrywide inspection was carried out during which the 5,800 students were unearthed.

How it happens

According to school administrators, the situation emerged because most schools did not require ordinary level completion certificates for students wishing to be admitted  to Senior Four. This created a room where some students skipped the Senior Three national exams.

Virginie Mukamugema, the director of GS ACEPER Gikongoro, a parents school in Nyamagabe District, said that until last year, a student needed just a Senior 3 report card to be admitted to Senior 4.

“We agreed with Reb that students will no longer be admitted for Advanced Level if they do not have certification that they sat for O’level exam which is taken in Senior Three,” she said.

This new requirement will particularly affect students in private learning centres, where students are coached ahead of secondary leaving exams.

“A number of my students were affected by this condition and obliged to go back to Senior Three which is a challenge because many are too old, said Asafi Nkurunziza, the director of Club Tour Institute, a coaching centre for private candidates in Kigali.

New measures

Meanwhile, to counter any malpractices, Reb has moved to serialise the examination forms of all the candidates after it was discovered that some private schools engaged in cheating. These schools allegedly photocopied the registration forms to be able to sneak in more candidates.

Last year, about 600 registered candidates were identified as having been involved in malpractices, after it was found that some private schools gave them registration forms of  secondary students, yet they were from either private or coaching centres.

“This time around we made registration forms with serial numbers, so that we give every school a number of registration forms corresponding the number of known candidates,” he said.

Besides, on every registration form, students had to attach the report of the three years; Senior 4, 5 and 6.

Reb also carried out random physical checks in several private schools around the country, to find out whether their list of candidates corresponds the number of the registration forms.

Other serious measures during the examination itself were set to check  possible malpractices, officials said.

The exams will end on November 8.

5,800 demoted from Advanced Level to sit Senior Three exams

Rwanda 2nd best place for business in Africa

1383090311n2Rwanda has overtaken  South Africa to become the second best place to do business in Africa, according to a new World Bank’s Doing Business Report released this week.

The annual World Bank report, which assesses country-by-country performance in ease of doing business, indicates that, overall, Rwanda moved 22 places, to 32nd out of 189 countries globally.

Mauritius (20th globally) retains its number one spot in Sub-Saharan Africa and on the continent in general.

Rwanda was also named the most improved country worldwide since 2005, Ukraine, the country that has improved most over the last one year, while Singapore, for the eighth consecutive year, remained overall best performer globally, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United States and Denmark in that order.

This year’s annual report, released under the banner, ‘Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises’ said Rwanda had substantially improved in property registration and processing of construction permits.

Out of the 10 criteria, Rwanda topped the Sub-Saharan region in three, namely; starting business, registering property and getting credit, and second in getting electricity and enforcing contracts.

In Sub-Saharan region, South Africa comes third (41st globally), Botswana fourth (56th worldwide), Ghana fifth (67) and Seychelles sixth (80).

Rwanda is the only member of the East African Community (EAC) in top ten.

The second top performer among the EAC partner states is Kenya, which ranked 12th in the Sub-Saharan Africa region and 129th globally, followed by Uganda, in 13th position at the regional level and 132nd worldwide.

Tanzania is the worst performer among the EAC countries, ranking 19th in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and 145th globally; while Burundi ranked 16th and 140th, respectively. Tunisia is the star of North Africa, ranking 51 globally, 19 places behind Rwanda. Democratic Republic of Congo is among the seven worst performers (all from Africa), ranking 183rd globally and 42nd in the Sub-Saharan region.

While Rwanda continues to perform strongly overall, the country performed lowly in two topics, namely trading across borders (ranking 31st out of 47 countries in the Sub-Saharan category) and resolving insolvency (22nd).  Particularly, the report cites high cost of importation and exportation of goods. Exporting a container from Rwanda costs $3,245, compared to the region’s average of $2,108, while importing to Rwanda costs $4,990, way above Sub-Saharan Africa’s average of $2,793. On insolvency, the report says that it takes 2.5 days to close a business in Rwanda, bankruptcy proceedings may take up to 29 per cent of the estate value, while on average it goes up to 23 per cent yet it takes  just nine per cent of the estate in industrialised nations.

Significant strides 

Areas where the country made significant strides over the past one year include property registration, where it moved 54 places to become number eight globally and first in the Sub-Saharan Africa category, and issuance of construction permits where it moved 37 places to become 85th globally and 14 in the region.

Property registration is measured in the form of the total number of days it takes to register property and “the measure captures the maiden duration that property lawyers, notaries or registry officials indicate is necessary to complete a procedure.”

On construction permits, the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report says that in Rwanda, it takes 13 procedures to build a warehouse which is slightly better than the Sub-Saharan Africa average of 15 procedures, while construction of a warehouse takes an average of 104 days against the region’s average of 171 days. Some of the procedures in construction that were cited include procurement of a copy of the leasehold title which the report says takes just a day at a cost of Rwf5,000, while obtaining a survey plan takes five days and costs $500.

At the international level, the report was launched in Washington DC on Monday.

In Rwanda, it was launched last evening at the World Bank Country Office in Kigali.

Speaking at the event, Cabinet minister and CEO of Rwanda Development Board Valentine Sendanyoye Rugwabiza said that the report was an important planning and evaluation tool.

“It serves as a barometer which helps us to further improve our performance,” she said.

Rugwabiza, however, noted that a lot still needs to be done in the area of SMEs and export industry.

According to Claver Gatete, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, the report will help the government “work on those areas where we are not doing well so as to attain the desired 11.5 per cent annual growth rate by 2018.”

The targets are part of the country’s 2013-2018 Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS 2), which seeks to deliver Rwanda to a middle-income economy.

Creating business friendly environment has been at the heart of the country’s business reforms in recent years, with a person now able to open business within just six hours.

Addressing the issue of high import and export costs, the Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority, Ben Kagarama, said that over 80 per cent of the costs are avoidable, since much of them are non-tariff barriers.

Performing better 

These costs, he said, will significantly come down, courtesy of the Single Customs Territory which was launched in Kigali on Monday, by the Presidents of Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Southern Sudan.

He also pointed at other ongoing Integration Projects, which are designed to help ease doing business along the Northern Corridor, including plans to construct a railway line and an oil pipeline, as well as use of IDs as travel documents and introduction of a single tourist visa.

The four partner countries are among those using the Northern Corridor; which is served by Kenya’s Mombasa port. Dar el Salaam port of Tanzania serves markets along the Central Corridor.

The same sentiments were echoed by Mark Priestley, the country manager, TradeMark East Africa, who said the Single Customs Territory will have a huge positive impact on businesses in Rwanda.

“I see Rwanda improve further in terms of doing business because latest developments in the region are lessening the effects caused by the fact that it’s a land-locked country,” he said.

Lucy Mamganga, a Senior Private Sector Development Specialist at World Bank-Rwanda, said much as the country was doing well, more reforms in the areas of capacity building, informal sector, and insolvency were needed.

Rwanda 2nd best place for business in Africa

Heads of State push for strong ICT growth

1383090121n1Africa should leverage the Information and Communication Technologies to spur pro-poor, sustainable growth, Heads of State from the continent said yesterday.

Presidents Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (Mali), Salva Kiir Mayardit (South Sudan), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, were speaking during a panel discussion at a major ICT conference underway in Kigali.

The seven African leaders sat down with delegates from around the world on the second day of the four-day Transform Africa Summit 2013, which is also attended by executives from Microsoft, Samsung, Facebook and IBM, to devise ways on how Africa can leverage broadband to transform communities, governments and the private sector.

President Kagame said Africa needed to embrace a digital revolution which has the power to transform communities with greater access to information.

“We must understand how technology is opening up new opportunities and what we can do to prepare for it. During the technological change success belongs to those who can innovate and those who see the available opportunities,” he added.

Kagame observed that, since the 2007 Connect Africa Summit, also held in Kigali, many changes had taken place both globally and on the African continent, adding that the Transform Africa Summit presented enormous opportunities to create strategic partnerships and maximise the benefits that come with them.

Leveraging ICTs 

“We want to equip the African youth with these technologies so that we can leapfrog and reach at a level where the developed world is. In Rwanda, we believe that ICTs have the potential to boost our economy and improve the living standards of our people considerably,” stated the President.

He underlined the critical importance of Private Public Partnerships in the ICT industry, calling for technology-driven innovation that can transform the continent.

“Transformation is all about our people and how we can bring our citizens on board to participate and benefit.”

He challenged suggestion that for African countries to invest in broadband and 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution LTE) is a luxury, saying that ICTs support the growth of other sectors.

In Rwanda, Kagame noted, we consider ICT as a utility like electricity, water and other necessities. “So far I haven’t seen anything to discourage me from investing in ICTs”.

Kenyan President Kenyatta also observed that there are immense opportunities presented by ICTs, which he said provides a great opportunity for innovation, job creation and efficiency governance systems.

“If we look back and assess what drove the growth of developed economies it was railway line, sea transport and air transport; we in Africa are still struggling to connect our people and have free flow of goods on the continent,” he said.

He added, “The true and single driver that will propel us from a developing to a developed world in a shortest possible time is for us to recognise that railway lines, sea and air transport of yesterday is broadband today.”

On his part, Ugandan President Museveni warned that ICTs alone will not drive the continent forward unless other sectors get as much attention.

While ICT should be developed, he said, focusing on it exclusively without using it to promote other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and services, is like someone ‘eating dry food without sauce’.

“Electronics and ICTs help us to solve a number of issues such as automation of machines, retrieving and storing information, identifying persons (offenders) quickly, defence and waging purposes, among others, there is no doubt about the importance of electronics and ICT.

Presidents Kirr, Ondimba, Compaoré and Keïta all said that, if harnessed, ICT can serve as a vehicle that drives Africa to a desired level.

Without setting specific targets, the Heads of State pledged that their governments will continue to invest in ICTs for the benefit of their people and the continent as a whole.

The summit, co-hosted by President Kagame and the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, Dr Hamadoun Toure, is running under the theme, “The Future Delivered Today.”

On his part, Dr Toure talked of the pillars of Smart Africa Manifesto that seeks to transform Africa through the power of ICT.

The manifesto puts ICT at the centre of socio-economic development, developing capacity of all people to develop ICTs, improving accountability and transparency, putting private sector at the engine of economic transformation as well as promoting cost effective technology.

Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister for Youth and ICT, demonstrated how 4G broadband is faster than 3G in terms of internet speed.

In June, the South Korea’s largest telecom company, Korea Telecom, entered into an agreement with the Government of Rwanda to deploy 4G LTE broadband network across the country, to help ensure faster, more reliable and cheaper internet services.

Heads of State push for strong ICT growth

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