Volkswagen to start assembling cars in Rwanda by end 2017
Kigali, 21 December 2016
The Government of Rwanda has signed a Memorandum of understanding with Volkswagen Group for a new integrated mobility concept as the German car manufacturer takes further steps to develop its market potentials on the African continent. The signing took place this evening at Marriot Hotel. On behalf of the Government of Rwanda, the MoU was autographed by CEO Francis Gatare of Rwanda Development Board while CEO Thomas Schäfer of Volkswagen Group in South Africa signed for the car manufacturer. The signing was witness among others by Dr. Herbert Diess, the CEO of the Volkswagen brand.
The concept provides for app-based mobility solutions such as car sharing and ride hailing to be offered in Rwanda. For this purpose, an environmentally compatible local vehicle production facility is to be established in Kigali to cover vehicle demand for the integrated mobility concept. In addition, possibilities of training initiatives for the local population are being investigated together with other German companies. Rwanda is well suited to be a pioneer of new mobility solutions as it has a population of young tech-savvy people and its capital Kigali is seen as the most connected city on the continent.
Resolutions of the 14th National Umushyikirano Council
1. To set a deadline for Rwanda to become financially self-reliant. In view of Vision 2050, focus needs to be on continuing to (i) work hard for our own development, (ii) remain accountable and (iii) ensure efficient sectoral coordination.
2. To continue to strengthen Rwanda’s uniqueness based on (i) principles of good governance, (ii) choosing and supporting a visionary leadership, (iii) embracing and branding our home-grown solutions, while ensuring they are transferred from one generation to the next.
3. To build closer partnerships between the Public Sector, Parents, Teachers, Private Sector, NGOs, Civil Society and Faith-Based Organisations in order to strengthen Rwandan families.
4. To put in place strategies to add value to “Made in Rwanda” products and facilitate their penetration into domestic and foreign markets.
5. To improve customer service in Public and Private Sector entities and encourage clients/beneficiaries to refuse and/or report on poor service to ensure that corrective measures are taken.
6. To establish and support Youth Connect Initiative in all the Districts across the country and extend National Itorero Program to all categories of Rwandans including the elderly living abroad and People Living with Disabilities.
7. To develop well designed large irrigation projects, especially in the districts of Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Kayonza and Kirehe.
8. To devise mechanism to ensure that polling stations are easily accessible to Rwandans living abroad.
9. To preserve and protect unity of Rwandans fighting against genocide ideology, especially among youth.
10. To step up efforts to fight activities taking place in foreign countries aimed at negationism and other forms of denial of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
11. To conduct research with the aim to deeply understand all issues and consequences pertaining to trauma among Genocide survivors in order to address them.
12. To find out appropriate measures to address hindrances interfering with the final execution of remaining Gacaca Court judgments on properties damaged during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
Call for Expression of Interest for the development of affordable houses in 6 secondary cities + Rwamagana
DISTRICT_CITIES_-TOR_FOR_EOI_INVESTORS_IN_AH_PROJECTS.pdfWe are pleased to share with you a call for expression to develop affordable houses in the 6 secondary cities + Rwamagana District. The Rwanda Housing Authority is calling upon local and foreign investors (company, consortium, cooperatives etc.), with sufficient financial and
Government gives a sneak peek into Vision 2050 blueprint
Kigali, 16 December 2016
As the Second Day of the 14th National Umushyikirano Council gets underway in Kigali, Rwandans had the opportunity to discuss on ‘The Rwanda We Want’. It was an occasion for Rwandans from all walks of life to contribute with ideas to shaping a country that responds to their needs and aspirations. Outlining the highlights of the blueprint, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete explained that it emphasizes on improved livings standards, sustained food security, and access to quality affordable services in key sectors - health, education, finance, housing and infrastructure.
The blueprint’s five main pillars include:
Quality of life
Modern infrastructure and livelihoods
Transformation for prosperity
Values for Vision 2050
And International cooperation and positioning
Minister Gatete noted that as the country enters the final phase of its Vision 2020, the achievements registered should pave way for further elaborate development programmes towards a more dignified Rwanda.
Vision 2050 blueprint aims to ensure high standards of living for all Rwandans. Its elaboration will be informed by the global commitments that Rwanda is part of including: the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Paris Declaration on Climate Change (2030); Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development (2030); East African Community Vision Agenda (2030); and the African Union Agenda 2063. “As we walk towards reaching ‘upper middle income’ by 2035 and ‘high income’ by 2050, it will require us to double the current economic growth rates to an average annual growth of above 10%. This will help free the country from aid dependency and the international pressure that comes with it, ” Minister Gatete said.
To make Vision 2050 a reality, Rwanda will be driven by high level of commitment and sacrifice drawn from the country’s history and cultural values; a sense of urgency in delivery; thinking big towards implementing bigger, faster and smarter; strong accountability; and prolonged national security and stability. In international cooperation, the Government will continue to work towards consolidating the strides made in regional integration, strengthening multi-bilateral and bilateral cooperation and positioning Brand Rwanda.
“The Rwanda we want in terms of international cooperation and positioning is within our reach. We need to sustain our achievements and design together the way forward. To deliver this vision, there is need for more collaboration and coordination on our side as leaders,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo who was speaking on a panel on ‘The Rwanda We Want’. Minister Mushikiwabo further revealed that in the last 22 years, Rwandan missions abroad have grown from 13 to 34. The latter represent the country’s interests in over 147 countries and international bodies.
Since 2011, 54 new ambassadors and consuls have presented their credentials to Rwanda while over 30 international organisations have offices in Kigali.
Today, we struggle to thrive and prosper – President Kagame tells #Umushyikirano2016
Kigali, 15 December 2016
President Paul Kagame has said that the State of Rwanda as a nation is strong and growing stronger. He made the remarks while delivering the State of the Nation Address at the opening of the 14th National Umushyikirano Council underway at the Kigali Convention Centre.
Themed “Shaping Together the Rwanda We Want”, this year’s Umushyikirano runs from 15-16 December and is attended by over 2,000 Rwandans and friends of Rwanda convened to take stock of Rwanda’s transformation journey and devise new ways to deliver the country’s development.
In his speech, President Kagame recognised that although many Rwandans still feel that they are struggling to have the life they want, their lives have overall improved. He noted that everything that Rwanda has been through and successfully address proves that Rwandans have both the right and ability to aim high. “We used to struggle just to survive. Now we struggle to thrive and prosper. There is a tomorrow, a future for you and for all of us together,” President Kagame said.
The Head of State further pointed out that for the first time in the history of Rwanda, the country sees every citizen as a full stakeholder, not as someone to be singled out, hunted down, categorised and denied livelihood or even life. “We have retaken our political space. It is no longer occupied by anything except the interests of Rwandans. This principle is always worth fighting for; in order to be free to do what we believe is most suitable for our wellbeing. It also means that we have to actually deliver the results that our citizens expect,” President Kagame said.
The National Umushyikirano Council is an annual event that gives Rwandans from all walks of life the opportunity to share experiences and hold their leaders to account on the country’s progress. Governed by Article 140 of the Constitution, Umushyikirano is also a forum to debate the State of the Nation, local government and national unity.
Drawn on aspects of the rich Rwandan culture and traditional practices, the Council is a development programme adapted to the country’s needs and context. It is one of the culturally owned practices translated into sustainable development programmes – commonly known as Home Grown Initiatives.
Umushyikirano2016: STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT KAGAME
Kigali, 15 December 2016
‘It is my honour to open this 14th Umushyikirano. I want to welcome everyone participating in this important national dialogue, both here in Rwanda and around the world via live broadcast. I also extend a warm welcome to our special guests and friends from abroad who have joined us, both to learn and to contribute.
As required by our Constitution, we hold this meeting every year in order to make government more accountable to citizens and more responsive to their needs. It is my duty, and also my pleasure, to report to you that The State of our Nation is strong and growing stronger. We know this from our own experiences but it also measurable.
Over the past generation, Rwanda has been the fastest-growing country on the United Nations’ index of human development, meaning that we are not only making progress, but doing so at a good pace. We stand at a moment of transition. So it is a good momento take stock of the various stages of our journey together thus far and look toward the road ahead. The first phase, starting 22 years ago, was about security and national unity. A sense of safety and belonging was restored. This was followed by a decade focused especially on strengthening our national institutions, which led to an even deeper feeling of security built on a sense of fairness, justice and trust. There is a tomorrow, a future for you and for all of us together.
For the first time, this country sees every citizen as a full stakeholder, not as someone to be singled out, hunted down, categorised, and denied livelihood, or even life. In independent, international polls, more than 95 per cent of Rwandans report the highest levels of trust in our police and military forces, among the highest rate in the world. The importance of this fact cannot be overstated and we should never lose sight of that. That brings us to the most recent period where we have been building the infrastructure needed to connect us to the global economy, while also getting Rwandans ready to work smartly in a more competitive environment. This phase was necessary to lay the foundations of economic transformation. It costs a lot of money to be wealthy and we have invested heavily in the future we want.
As we have begun to see this year, the seeds are starting to bear fruit. In fact, tourism is now our number one foreign exchange earner. Rwanda, for example, has hosted major international gatherings, which resulted in important decisions that will improve our world as a whole. This was possible for two reasons. First, we now have the necessary facilities. Second, and no less important, Rwanda is increasingly seen to embody some of the positive changes being pursued globally, for example on environmental protection.
Along the way, Rwandans were employed and thousands of visitors were able to see for themselves that there is something special about our country, which is a credit to all of us. Yet we recognise that many Rwandans still feel that they are struggling to have the life they want. But allow me to try to give some positive meaning to this feeling, in the wider context of our journey.
In 2001, four out of every ten Rwandans lived in extreme poverty, but today the figure is getting closer to one in ten. Moreover, Rwanda is the second easiest place in Africa to do business, according to the World Bank. We used to struggle just to survive. Now we struggle to thrive and prosper.
I would like to thank all Rwandans for their patience and trust, especially because many of the investments we have made do not necessarily translate immediately into more jobs or lower prices. The period ahead is therefore about building on all these gains, in order to achieve economic transformation. Not only more jobs, but better ones. What these different chapters of our story show us, is how everything follows from what came before. Wealth is built on major, long-term public investments, which depend on having trusted and effective institutions, which in turn cannot exist without safety and national unity.
As we move forward, we have to constantly sustain and renew what was done before, even as future generations take those achievements for granted because they see them as normal. Looking at the arc of our journey,the difficulties encountered along the way serve a purpose because they bring us to something better. This is the source of our confidence in the future. We have retaken our political space. It is no longer occupied by anything except the interests of Rwandans. This principle is always worth fighting for, in order to be free to do what we believe is most suitable for our well-being. It also means that we have to actually deliver the results that our citizens expect. The main barrier we face is internal. I am talking about complacency, the lure of taking the easy path, simply because it is more convenient right now, even if doing so is actually harmful.
It is better to face things the hard way and go straight to the heart of any problem. An example, is something we have been talking about for a long time,the issue of relying on others to pay for things that benefit us. It is really a question of dignity, our Agaciro. Therefore, among the decisions of this Umushyikirano, we should resolve to set a deadline, which should come sooner rather than later, after which Rwanda will no longer be waiting for what others hand out to us.
I wish to thank our partners and friends, and let’s work with them in new and better ways, and also contribute our own ideas and resources. We are at a point in our development where we can get this done if we really put our minds to the task. Concrete and ambitious goals, such as this one, serve to keep pushing us to be our best. Our dignity, as we keep reminding ourselves, is not about wealth, but rather self-respect and believing that we can do it.
The motto of this country is Unity, Work, and Patriotism. As we head into an election year, we should talk more about the distinctive meaning of patriotism for Rwandans. It means loving the country, and therefore each other. As a result, we approach the task of selecting leaders and holding them accountable, with calm optimism, even if events elsewhere in the world suggest that the price of democracy is division. It is not. Everything we have been through, and successfully addressed, proves that we have both the right and the ability to aim high. That’s what we should be discussing today and tomorrow.
I thank you and look forward to our discussions.’
RwandaFul-The Hague newsletter #60
Out now: issue 60 of RwandaFul-The Hague, newsletter of the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in the Netherlands. Click here to download the newsletter.
WB DOING BUSINESS REPORT 2017: RWANDA MAINTAINS THE 2ND BEST PLACE
Kigali, 25th October 2016
Rwanda once again presents remarkable progress in World Bank Doing Business Rankings by scoring 56th position from 62nd position out of 190 countries in the 2017 report. In Africa, Rwanda is ranked the 2nd easiest place to do business coming 7 positions closer to Mauritius, ranking on the first spot in Africa and 49th globally.
The expedient growth in Rwanda with significant progress across all the key sectors is characterized with progress achieved through transparency, accountability and strategic channeling of investments in the right direction to maximize impact. The country has achieved significant improvements specifically in the service industry ranked 2nd in the world in credit financing and now 4th globally on registration of property.
According to the World Bank Doing Business Report the following indicators triggered significant improvements in the country:
In starting business, Rwanda made business easier by improving the online registration one-stop shop and streamlining post-registration in particular putting VAT registration online.
In registering property, Rwanda made it easier to register property by introducing effective time limits and increasing the transparency of the land administration system
In trading across borders, Rwanda made trading across borders easier by removing the mandatory pre-shipment inspection for imported products.
In enforcing contracts, Rwanda made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic case management system for judges and lawyers.
The 2017 World Bank report also introduced a gender dimension that measures equality of ownership between men and women in registration, ownership and rights to business. From the reports’ observation Rwanda features all the three elements for both men and women having in mind that Rwanda has a gender equality principle that provides for the minimum of 30% quota for women in all decision making positions.
TOP 5 SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN COUNTRIES
Ranking in 2016
Change in rank
Commenting on the report, the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board Honorable Francis Gatare said, “Rwanda over the past few years has focused on optimizing the service industry and capitalizing on investment opportunities that promote long term sustainable growth, owing to the significant advancement of 56th position from 62nd position globally.” He added that, “We also continue to harness the role of the private sector in accelerating economic growth to make the country even much easier and conducive in conducting business. However, we would not have achieved these advancements without the support of our stakeholders whose social and financial impact has been greatly realized in the country, we shall therefore continue to stretch our borders and ensure that strengthening the regional economy is at the centre of Rwanda’s sustainable development making Africa an investment hub as a whole.”
Rwanda at the International Floriculture Trade Fair in the Netherlands
The International Floriculture Trade Fair (IFTF) is a 3 days event being held from 2nd November to the 4th November 2016 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This event showcases the Horticulture & Floriculture industry development. Rwanda is among more than 500 participant countries from all over the world exhibiting and sharing knowledge about the floriculture chain value. Floriculture sector stakeholders in that expo include farmers, exporters, investors and experts from across the world.
With NAEB, the Rwanda is represented by 3 local floral companies namely Bella Flowers, Floramatt and Bloom Hills, all having a view to position Rwanda as a producer of flowers standardized at the international market. Apart from services being displayed by NAEB’s booth at this World of Flowers, the country’s representatives have an opportunity to connect with companies that provide innovative and practical business solutions. This floriculture expo presents local exporters a huge opportunity to engage potential foreign buyers as well as understand market requirements and dynamics.
Rwandan Ambassador in the Netherlands H.E. Jean Pierre Karabaranga said he was honoured to welcome the representative of NAEB and the Rwandan flowers companies at the IFTF 2016 and said there is promising future of flower business for Rwandan companies.
IFTF 2016 - Lots of Floral Inspiration and Potential Business Connections
On the 2nd of November 2016 the popular International Floriculture and Horticulture Trade Fair opened its doors for three days, to welcome 25,000 international visitors. IFTF World of Flowers offered the floral stimulus, while exhibitors from all over the world display their services, at the Expo Haarlemmermeer in Vijfhuizen - not far from Amsterdam.
This week, when the international floriculture trade traditionally gets together, is and remains the most important week and country in Europe to be present when it comes to exhibitions and open houses of the world floriculture industry. No other European based floriculture trade event is more diverse in suppliers and buyers, when it comes to the production and trade of flowers and plants.
For more information about the fair, please visit: www.iftf.nl
Government of Rwanda Statement on the Passing of Kigeli V Ndahindurwa
Kigali, 18 October 2016
It is with sadness that the Government of Rwanda has learned of the passing of Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, the former King of Rwanda.
The former king was deported to Tanganyika by the Belgian colonial government on 2 October 1961. He later lived in Uganda, then Kenya, before settling in 1992 in the United States, where he passed away on 16 October 2016.
The Government of Rwanda has not yet been informed by the family regarding the final resting place and funeral arrangements. When they make their preferences known, the Government stands ready to provide any necessary support.
RwandaFul-The Hague newsletter #59
Out now: issue 59 of RwandaFul-The Hague, newsletter of the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in the Netherlands. Click here to download the newsletter.
Historic amendment to the Montreal Protocol adopted in Kigali
Saturday, 15 October 2016 – An ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol has passed at the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol in Rwanda. The Kigali Amendment is the most significant climate mitigation step the world has taken since the ratification of the Paris Agreement.
The historic deal gives hope that the international community can address climate change, limit the rise in temperatures and avoid the worst impacts of a warming planet.
The amendment mandates the phase out of chemical substances known as hydrofluorocarbons – greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning that are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. By implementing the Kigali Amendment, the world can avoid up to 0.5°C of global warming by the end of the century as well as the equivalent of 100 to 200 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in the near-term to 2050.
Delivering his address after the adoption of the amendment, Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources and President of the 28th Meeting of the Parties, Vincent Biruta, said: “Passing the Kigali Amendment is truly a success. It shows the world that meaningful action on climate change is possible and that we stand a real chance of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We have made history today and we should all be very proud.”
Out now: issue 58 of RwandaFul-The Hague (newsletter of the Embassy of the Republic of #Rwanda in the Netherlands), click here.
Rwandan culture and coffee successfully featured at Embassy Festival in the Netherlands
On 3 September 2016, the Embassy of Republic of Rwanda, together with other Embassies participated in Embassy Festival that took place in The Hague in the Netherlands, bringing a vibrant and versatile programme to the city. The Rwandan Embassy once again put up a special programme for its visitors, including traditional dances and traditional handicrafts were on display.
For the second time Rwanda had found its way to the Embassy Festival, offering a diverse programme. On the stage of the Creative Arena, the cultural program included traditional Rwandan dance performances. Furthermore, there was a Rwanda Pavilion centrally located on the International Market where H.E. Jean Pierre Karabaranga and his team provided visitors with information about the various tourism and business & investment opportunities in Rwanda and throughout the day Rwandan coffee was served by specialty coffee roaster BOON from The Hague.
Next to the Rwandan Embassy, other embassies involved in the fourth edition of the Embassy Festival were: Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Georgia, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Ukraine, Palestinian Mission, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, United States, Vietnam and South Africa.
Visitors experienced the most unique aspects of various parts of the world, with culinary delights, worldly handicrafts and wines from undiscovered regions.
ANWB Reizen Magazine, the largest travel magazine in the Netherlands, published an article about invalidating a prejudice about Rwanda; that it would be a country that is not well developed, not safe and not a holiday destination.
Ms. Ravianne van Vliet (journalist who visited Rwanda in 2015 / Kwita Izina media trip) was interviewed for this article and she tells from her own positive experience that Rwanda is a clean and safe country and full of tourism opportunities, like tracking gorilla’s, Nyungwe NP, Lake Kivu, capitol Kigali and Akagera NP.
The travel report by Ms. Van Vliet was published in D&D magazine. Click here to read this publication (in Dutch).
Funding from Rwanda’s Green Fund (FONERWA) available for Climate Mainstreaming Initiatives
Rwanda’s Green Fund (FONERWA) is calling for ministries, government agencies, districts, private sector companies, academic institutions and civil society organisations to submit funding proposals for initiatives that promote the mainstreaming of environmental protection, climate change and green growth into Rwanda’s economic development programmes.
The call for funding proposals is part of Rwanda’s commitment to ensuring the environment and climate change is at the heart of national development. Rwanda’s Green Fund invests in environment and climate change projects and programmes by financing the best public and private projects that drive transformational change and boost climate resilience.
In this ninth call for proposals, the fund is targeting projects and programmes developed primarily in line with sectors of Rwanda’s economy, including agriculture, energy, transport, environment, urban and rural settlement and water and sanitation.
The fund is calling for applications that propose sector wide green and climate resilient initiatives that will improve the performance and sustainability in implementing sector programmes. In this regard, they should significantly draw from the Programmes of Action outlined in Rwanda’s Green Growth Climate Resilience Strategy.
Among the criteria for consideration, the key success factor in this call for proposals will be the involvement of multiple stakeholders in developing a project or programme including public, private, non-governmental organisations and academic and research institutions. The collaborative effort must specify the role of each partner and must adhere to the core principles of national planning carried out along Sector Working Groups.
Speaking about the call for applications, Coordinator of the Green Fund, Alex Mulisa, said that Rwanda can only build climate change resilience and develop sustainably if everyone is on board and working together.
“Climate mainstreaming is about ensuring the environment and climate change are at the core of our development plans, policies and strategies. We want to invest in initiatives that bring all stakeholders to the table to incorporate sustainability and green growth into a sector’s development. By bringing everyone on board, we know the return on investment for Rwanda’s socio-economic development and natural environment will be immense,” he said.
Over the last three years, Rwanda’s Green Fund has mobilised about US $100 million for climate resilience initiatives. To date, the fund has approved 33 investments that help Rwanda reduce its carbon footprint and adapt to a warmer planet. These projects are also developing communities and supporting Rwandans as they work to improve their livelihoods.
The call for funding proposals is open from 15 August 2016 until 14 October 2016. Interested cross-sectoral and multi-organisational bodies should submit their applications via the fund’s website at www.fonerwa.org. Submissions must be received not later than 14 October 2016 at 17h00 (Rwanda local time) in order to be considered for the submission round. Late submissions will not be accepted or evaluated.
African Intelligence chiefs convene in Kigali
African Intelligence Chiefs were convened in Kigali for the 13th Ordinary Session of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA). The Conference seeked to address the growing threats of abuse on universal jurisdiction against the continent.
Addressing the conference, President Paul Kagame spoke about the importance of intelligence services in national security and their role in advancing the continent’s development agenda.
President Kagame said that intelligence services are the custodians of national, regional and global security. “Your commitments should be translated into action by disseminating the needed intelligence assessments to the African Union Peace and Security Council, in support of Agenda 2063, which reflects our common good as Africans, rather than narrow national interests,” President Kagame said.
This year’s Umuganura to recognise culture as the cornerstone of development
On Friday 5 August, Rwandans nationwide will celebrate the Annual National Harvest day, locally known as Umuganura. This year’s celebrations were combined with the Pan-African Dance Festival, FESPAD. Themed “Culture, the cornerstone of development,” Umuganura festivities will be held at the ancient Rwanda’s royal residence in Nyanza District, Southern Province.
In ancient Rwanda, Umuganura was one of the most important festivities at the beginning of every harvest season. It was an occasion to celebrate the country’s achievements in terms of harvest both at the kingdom and family levels. Umuganura is the first-fruit festival and one of Rwanda’s ancient royal rituals. The festival served as a harvest thanksgiving ceremony to thank God, the King or Queen Mother as God’s minister and the ancestors as guardians and protectors. Umuganura is attributed to Gihanga, meaning that it has existed since the country’s early birth, and is among the key rituals in Rwandan culture.
Today, Umuganura has a broader meaning; from being initially about agro-based harvest celebration to including striking achievements from other sectors key to national development. These include:
Umuganura has evolved to become a national festival to celebration the country’s achievements in line with its vision for a more cohesive, united, peaceful and prosperous future. During the celebration of this year’s Umuganura, Rwandans will have the opportunity to showcase their products and/or their harvest.
According to the Minister of Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu, so far 106 people and companies have expressed their interest to take part in the festivities Open Day where they will exhibit their products and innovations. “Umuganura will be for us an opportunity to look back and assess what we have achieved so far in order to devise ways to reach where we aim to be. For those that will attend the Open Day, we welcome their ideas and suggestions and how we can take Rwandan products to another level,” Minister Uwacu said.
The activities marking FESPAD kicked off on the 1st of August and were preceded by a carnival in Kigali City. A concert was held at the Amahoro National Stadium. Culture troops from African countries are entertaining Rwandans in different corners of the country as the Pan-African Dance Festival goes to all province to promote peace and unity.
Umuganura has been one of the inspiring pillars of dignity and solidarity of Rwandans since hundreds of years back. It is the essence of unit and brotherhood at the same time being the pillar of self-reliance resulting from economic performance, family welfare and national dignity. Umuganura is a great opportunity for families to come together. This spirit of unit and solidarity is the real identity of Rwandans and leads to a nation of dignity and respect.
Africa’s environment leaders and experts meet in Rwanda
More than 50 environment leaders and experts are meeting in Kigali on July 26th and 27th to boost forest landscape restoration (FLR) across the region through two parallel events: the Africa High Level Bonn Challenge Roundtable, and the International Knowledge Sharing Workshop on FLR. New pledges that were made at the opening ceremony of the meeting have taken global FLR commitments to 100 million hectares.
The High Level Bonn Challenge Roundtable brings together leaders in government from over 20 African countries that have demonstrated leadership on forest landscape restoration, as well as delegates from international organisations supporting these endeavours. During this meeting, countries will discuss key aspects for the success of the implementation of FLR including policy, finance opportunities, and assessment of restoration opportunities on-the-ground. High-level participants will work together exchanging information and knowledge of the work currently done in FLR in their countries, as well as identifying collaboration opportunities within the region.
“We are pleased collaborate in hosting this roundtable with the Government of Rwanda, a country that has demonstrated a clear commitment to restoring its forests and degraded land. By bringing together high level delegates and experts from Africa, we are confident the ambitious targets of the Bonn Challenge will be achieved across the continent,” said Luther Bois Anukur, Regional Director, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Alongside the Roundtable, an additional 70 forestry experts from around the world will attend a workshop to exchange knowledge and experience in Forest Landscape Restoration. Topics to be discussed include participatory planning, landscape governance, institutional arrangements and regulatory frameworks, market mechanisms, funding and technical aspects of FLR operations on the ground.
Rwanda offered to host these two meetings as part of its continued commitment and strong leadership on the protection and rehabilitation of its forests and restoration of degraded lands. During the meetings, Rwanda will share its landscape restoration efforts that have not only protected and rehabilitated landscapes, but also improved lives.
Rwanda has committed to restore two million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2020. This commitment was made as part of the Bonn Challenge – a global aspiration to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands by 2020, extended to 350 million by 2030 during the New York Declaration of 2014. This commitment will improve the quality and resilience of ecosystems, improve livelihoods, secure the country's water and energy supply and support low carbon economic development.
As part of these efforts, the Government of Rwanda recently established one of Africa’s newest national parks – the Gishwati-Mukura Forest, which is being rehabilitated under the principles of the Bonn Challenge commitment – restoring ecological integrity while also improving human wellbeing. Rwanda is also currently hosting the Regional Hub/Centre of Excellence on Forest Landscape Restoration for Eastern and Southern Africa.
“Landscape restoration is about more than simply planting forests. With the restoration of forests and land, we can overcome climate challenges and food security issues and help improve the wellbeing of our people. Rwanda has taken a proactive approach to conservation and green growth, created robust policy and institutional frameworks and strengthened national capacity to ensure the environment is at the heart of everything we do. These efforts are helping us to tackle the many environmental challenges we face,” said Vincent Biruta, Minster of Natural Resources.
We need political will to achieve our dreams – President Kagame tells African leaders
Kigali, Rwanda 17 July 2016 – President Paul Kagame has urged African countries to now embark on the good ideas discussed during the 27th African Union Summit in Kigali in order to achieve the set targets that would move the continent forward economically, socially and politically. The Head of State echoed this during the official opening session of the 27th Ordinary Session of the General Assembly of the African Union where African leaders and government representatives convened to deliberate on various issues concerning the continent.
During the session, African leaders adopted the financing mechanism whereby 0.2% of eligible imports would be levied to finance the operations of African Union Commission projects as well as peacekeeping operations. President Kagame observed that it was now the right time for the countries to start doing things differently and better. “Good ideas were discussed in yesterday’s retreat on financing the African Union. We should be the ones to pay for activities in which everyone has a stake. This puts responsibility and ownership in our hands. We are capable of it, and we were shown how to do so, and I urge us to move forward with the required political will, without delay. If Africa’s challenges are treated as routine, it means we have accepted to be held back by them forever,” President Kagame said.
The Head of State further observed that it was imperative for the countries to go beyond and focus on creating conducive partnership with other regions as this will create equal opportunities for Africa and other parts of the world.
By Dr René N’guettia KOUASSI, Director of Department of Economic Affairs, AU Commission
Kigali: It can never be overemphasized that Rwanda of President Paul Kagame offers a model of good governance which Africa can emulate. We have had the privilege of attending more than twenty OAU/AU Summits, outside its headquarters. But that of Kigali, which is not even yet over, reflects the aspects of a successful Summit from the viewpoint of organisation, hospitality, transportation and accommodation.
The inconvenience, usually experienced by the staff and other delegates, has disappeared from the talks. Consequently, the transportation, catering at the Convention Centre, the availability of personnel for technical assistance, health services (which were reinforced by local doctors), the warm welcome of the hostesses as well the personnel in hotels, and so on illustrate perfectly this relative success.
And the icing on the cake is the security aspect, which by its exemplary deployment, rigour and serenity met with the full cognizance of all the security agents of all delegations. All these reasons perfectly boost the title of our article, namely that Rwanda is a nest of good governance that can inspire most African countries.
Moreover, apart from the organisation of the Summit and all its corollary, we observed other constituent areas of good governance. Among these, we have noted the development of an economy driven by private initiatives, urban development focused on cleanliness, green spaces, the quality of road networks (total absence of potholes), respect for all aspects of sustainable economy, low emission of greenhouse gases by urban means of transport.
The environmental management and urban infrastructures, in Kigali, are, therefore, the elements of good practice, indeed of good governance, to be spread across Africa. As the African proverb goes, "Even if you were against the hare, you must admit that it knows how to run".
Therefore, we wish to call upon the Mayors of African municipalities and cities to send experts to Kigali to not only draw inspiration from what exists here, but to learn from mechanisms financing activities in the field of public affairs. This also affords an opportunity for Rwandese experts to learn from other experiences to improve their performance in sectors where they would lack experience.
In brief, Africa, within the dynamics of its development process, is in the quest for best practices to draw inspiration in order to avoid reinventing the wheel. In this regard, the Rwanda of President Paul Kagame stands out as a way forward, just like many other countries that are replete with examples that can be included in the records of best practices to be identified and popularised in Africa.
Africa needs collaborative efforts to promote industrialisation
Kigali, Rwanda 16 July 2016 – African countries need to be strategic and work collaboratively in promoting industrialization to create employment opportunities and compete effectively in a globally, Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki the CEO of New partnership for African’s Development (NEPAD) has said.
Addressing journalists attending the 27th African Union summit in Kigali, Dr Mayaki said that Africa should take advantage of its abundant and diverse resources including agricultural and mineral resources to exploit its comparative advantage in commodity-based industrialization and add-value to resources using its abundant human capital. “Our young generation needs jobs, food, clean water, and we must utilize the current size and potential opportunities we have on the continent to promote the industrialization of Africa,” Dr. Mayaki said.
Africa faces the challenge of maintaining strong economic growth and to transform it to productivity-induced sustainable, inclusive, employment-generating, poverty-reducing, and environmentally-friendly growth.
Investment in education will reduce human capital constraints in Africa
The African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson, Erastus Mwencha has said that Africa must enormously invest in education if the human capital restraints that are besieging the continent are to be permanently addressed.
The African Union official made the remarks while addressing the international and local media at the on-going 27th African Union Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. He said that at the African Union commission, a milestone has been achieved in terms of facilitating the promotion of education and ensuring imparting skills among African children, a step that he described as a great path to elevate the continent’s economic growth and development.
Lack of adequate skilled labour force in African is considered among the principal challenges hindering the continent’s economic growth. However, with the Agenda 2063, if fully implemented the continent labour challenges could be addressed.
Kigali, 15 July 2016 – It’s now three days left before the 27th African Union summit ends in Kigali, five days have been covered, a lot has been discussed in various scattered sessions at the Kigali Convention Centre on different themes. The sessions continue ahead of Heads of State and Government meetings.
The Summit’s general organisation by the African union and the Government of Rwanda is so far impressive ranging from the security, the constant smiles by facilitators, information flow to the journalists by the Information and Communication Committees and provision of all the necessary facilities for the delegates is a clear manifestation of how the Summit has been a success.
Delegates, so far, believe that their expectations are high as the summit comes to an end adding that the organisation signals how the African continent is ready to deal with all the challenges hindering Africans by applying African solutions.
African media should promote the Pan-African agenda, AUC Chairperson calls
Kigali, 15 July 2016 – The African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has called on the African media fraternity to fast-track the implementation of Agenda 2063 by effectively covering and disseminating information about the progress of pan-African strategies. Dr. Dlamini-Zuma made the call during the official opening of the African Editors Forum (TAEF) on Thursday, which was held on the sideline of the 27th African Union Summit in Kigali.
The conference was held under the theme: “Popularising Agenda 2063 through The African Editors Forum,” and it was attended by editors from across the continent, as well as government officials and business sector players. The African Editors Forum (TAEF) is an umbrella organization for editors from across the continent.
In her remarks, Dr. Dlamini-Zuma told participants that constructive media plays a major role in efforts towards achieving a prosperous, dynamic and peaceful Africa. “We have seen instances where western journalists continue to justify the illegal exploitation of resources in what they call ‘colonies’. This wrong depiction of Africa should be opposed by pan-African journalists who believe that Africa can determine its future and how to utilize its resources,” she said.
Pan-African Passport to spur Intra-Africa Trade – Minister Mushikiwabo
Kigali, 14 July 2016 – The Pan African e-Passport that is yet to be officially launched by African Heads of state is considered a prodigious triumph for the continent and it will ease free movement of people, spur economic growth and development, and promote Intra-African trade.
Regional trade integration has long been a strategic objective for Africa yet, despite some success in eliminating non-tariff barriers within regional communities, the African market remains highly fragmented. A range of non-tariff and regulatory barriers still raise transaction costs and limit the movement of goods, services, people and capital across borders throughout Africa. With promotion of Intra-African trade, it will boost and ease doing business within African countries which later will reduce the trade deficit among African nations.
According to the Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, the issuance of the African Passport is among the African strategic initiative intended to come as a possible rescue to disband all the restrictions to move which will eventually create a conducive environment for Africans to trade with each other. “Rwanda is ready for the African Passport issuance. Other countries will also be working towards the implementation of this decision. The free movement of people in Africa will spur our economic growth,” Minister Mushikiwabo said in a Press Conference.
“Own the African story”, African editors tell media fraternity
Kigali, 14 July 2016 – The African Editors forum (TAEF) has called on media houses on the continent to devise innovative ways through which they can tell the African story instead of over relying on western international media. At the on-going 27th African Union (AU) Summit taking place in Kigali, Rwanda senior editors from different media outlets across the continent, met in a forum where they discussed solutions to a number of challenges affecting the dissemination of productive stories that help propel the continent towards inclusive growth.
One of the biggest challenges highlighted at the forum is of consistent negative propaganda portrayed in some international media about Africa. Sadly, this negative narration by international media about the continent is sometimes bought by some African media houses, according to many editors. “One of the strategies we have is to work with AU more in order to have our resolutions implemented at a continental level. We hope that by the need of the summit, our message to African media is loud and clear; that we need to own our story and not let Africa’s image be distorted by western media,” Emrakeb Asefa, the Secretary General of TAEF said at the conference.
Security, peace on agenda as AU Executive Council convenes
Kigali, 13 July 2016 – The Executive Council of the African Union has called for efficiency and robust implementation of decisions taken at the continental level with the intentions of facilitating the enhancement of social-economic well-being of Africans. The Executive Council of the African Union is comprised of Foreign Affairs Ministers from across African countries, member states of the Union.
African Union Commission Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo echoed this during the official opening of the 29th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council at the on-going 27th African Union Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo while addressing the session reiterated the need to work together as African governments for the collective benefits of Africans.
Minister Mushikiwabo mentioned that, the Summit is a clear manifestation of the unity of Africans, however, mentioning that it was imperative for the member states to focus now on serious matters that impact the continent. “This is a time of genuine, serious service to our people, the people of Africa. The Summit should signal the quest of efficiency on behalf of our continent,” Minister Mushikiwabo said. She further welcomed the delegates to Rwanda adding that the country was ready to provide all the necessary support to ensure that the Summit becomes a success.
AU Summit delegates taste “Made in Rwanda” products at a Mini-expo
Kigali, 12 July 2016 – The wait is finally over. The anxiously anticipated 27th African Union (AU) Summit kicked off on Sunday, 10 July 2016, bringing together high level delegates from all corners of Africa to discuss the most pertinent topics about the continent.
Aside from the hectic, closed sessions at the Summit which is hosted at the Kigali Convention Centre, participants at AU Summit delegates have an opportunity to move around, taste and catch a glimpse of what Rwanda has to offer to the continent and the world. This is in a Mini-expo organised by Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF).
Through the exhibition, the Rwandan business community has an opportunity to cash in with various locally made products. The expo was organised to facilitate participants to buy some locally made products, understand the investment opportunities available in the country, and read about the country’s history.
Products from different sectors like transport, hospitality, arts and designs, tourism are represented all aimed at creating a virtuous atmosphere at the Summit. The creative fashion attires reflecting the actual African cultures are also on display.
The spirit of African Union togetherness alive and well in Kigali
Kigali, 11 July 2016 - A Swahili proverb goes: “Unity is strength, division is weakness." This proverb says it best, and sums up the mood at the on-going 27th African Union Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
For the past two days, this wise saying has been exhibited in full strength in Kigali, Rwanda, where the spirit of togetherness, integration, prosperity and peacefulness of Africa, can be driven by its own citizens.
At the Summit, there is no easy way of finding differences between a western and southern African, or between an eastern and northern African. African men and women from all walks of life, from different backgrounds and cultures, continue to interact at a personal level, to the extent that stranger is difficult to differentiate from friend.
Rwandan citizens, including those particularly from the hospitality sector, are greeting delegates with big smiles, and eager to share knowledge about the transformation of their country from a tragedy to a success story.
African Union opens with a call for solidarity, Pan-Africanism, Self-reliance and Independence for a United Africa
The 27th African Union Summit opened on 10 July with a call for solidarity, Pan-Africanism, self-reliance and independence for a united Africa.
The Summit kicked off with a gathering of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) which was officially opened by the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and attended by AUC commissioners, Heads of AU Organs and Missions abroad as well as other high-ranking officials.
Opening the session, AUC Chair Dlamini Zuma called on African Ambassadors accredited to the AU to build an African Union of people. She expressed satisfaction for the good working relations that exist between the PRC and the Commission and emphasised that such cooperation will lead the continent to “the Africa we want.”
AUC Chair thanked the Government and the people of Rwanda for the warm welcome extended to the African Union delegation and for the good arrangements put in place to ensure a successful organisation of the meetings. “It is always a pleasure to visit the city and to witness the changes, to see how progress is being made in transforming the lives of the African people. We thank the President, the Government of Rwanda and the People for their legendary hospitality and impeccable organisation of this Summit,” Dr. Dlamini-Zuma said.
Unity and market liberalization will spur African economic growth- AU Chair Dlamini Zuma
Kigali, 10 July 2016 – Opening up the market for Africa, liberalization of the economies and facilitating free movement of people across the continent are among the identified factors that will drive continent’s economic growth and development.
H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma the Chairperson of the African Union Commission while addressing the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) of the African Union observed that it was imperative for countries to cooperate and open up the market.
“The world is moving towards mega trading blocks, that all exclude us, and the Doha development round of negotiations have failed to even start. Unless we unite to form our African common market, the little bit of preferential trade we have at the moment, will be further eroded,” she said while addressing the session as the African Union summit kicked off at the level of the PRC in the Kigali Convention Center (KCC), Rwanda.
Kwibohora22: 22nd anniversary of liberation of Rwanda celebrated in the Netherlands
The 22nd anniversary of liberation was held under the theme “Together we prosper”. On Saturday 9 July the Embassy of the Republic Rwanda in the Netherlands hosted the Kwibohora22 celebration in The Hague. Ambassador Jean Pierre Karabaranga, his family, the Embassy team and the Rwanda diaspora committee welcomed more than 250 guests, including Rwandan nationals living in the Netherlands, Friends of Rwanda and others. The program included a wide variety of entertainment, like a Rwandan music live band, traditional dance performances and a Rwandan culinary experience.
In his speech H.E. ambassador Jean Pierre Karabaranga said he was honoured by everyone’s presence to celebrate the journey from a dark past to a brighter future. “A journey of socio-economic transformation, which turned what was a failed state two decades ago into a model of a successful post-conflict reconstruction”, said Ambassador Karabaranga, “the secret behind our success story can be found in three decisions that we took and that made us to be where we are today: we decided to stay together, we decided to be accountable and we decided to think big. But the most important for us in that we were and are lucky to have a visionary leadership under President Paul Kagame and the Government of Unity and Reconciliation”.
Click here to watch the speech of Ambassador Karabaranga
President Kagame and AU Chair Dr. Dlamini-Zuma receive ‘Gender Champion Award’
In the eventing of Saturday 09 July President Paul Kagame was awarded the ‘Gender Champion Award’ alongside African Union Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. The award was bestowed upon the two for their tireless efforts in promoting women empowerment and gender equity by the African Women Movements, a coalition of women’s groups across the continent.
Under President Kagame’s leadership, Rwanda has become a champion in promoting women’s rights. Women occupy 64 per cent of the nation’s parliamentary seats, the first in the world.
Accepting the award, both President Kagame, who was accompanied by First Lady Jeannette Kagame, and Dr. Dlamini Zuma emphasised that women across Africa and the globe deserve to live and work side by side with men instead of being left behind; and castigated the saying that “there is a women behind every successful man.”
“Women should not be called those who are behind those who are successful. Men and women should be side by side. When women are able to enjoy their right and use their talent, everyone benefits,” President Kagame said.
Kigali Convention Centre launched as Rwanda hosts the 27th AU Summit
On Friday 8 July 2016 President Paul Kagame unveiled the Kigali Convention Centre, a state-of-the-art facility that will host the forthcoming 27th Africa Union Summit from 10-18 July 2016 as Kigali continues to establish itself as a regional hub for conference tourism.
In his address, President Kagame commended all those who played a role in ensuring that the Convention Centre becomes a reality. He lauded the Rwandan unwavering spirit which enabled the different stakeholders to never give up till the Centre was completed. “True to the Rwandan spirit, we failed many times but we have succeeded many more times that we have failed. We failed not once, not twice, but on the fourth attempt we succeeded. We keep learning from our failures and we finally succeed,” President Kagame said.
The President thanked the African Union Chairperson Dr. Nkozasana Dlamini Zuma for choosing Rwanda as the host country of the 27th Africa Union Summit scheduled to kick off this Sunday 10 July 2016. The opportunity, he said, pressed for the expeditious completion of the project. “On the fourth attempt we succeeded because of the pressure of opportunity that was presented to us by the African Union offering us to the 27th African Union Summit,” President Kagame said.
Constructed on 12.6 hectares and 80,000 square metres of gross Floor Area, Kigali Convention Centre is one of the biggest conference facilities in the region as it can accommodate up to 5,500 delegates. It consists of three floors which are comprised of the Auditorium, four purpose-built function halls and more than 14 meeting rooms, banquet and special event spaces spanning to over 14,000 square metres. The adjoining Radisson Blue Hotel has 292 rooms and suites.
An addition to Kigali’s booming skyline, the Kigali Convention Centre is owned by multiple stakeholders including the Government through Prime Holdings, Rwanda Investment Group (RIG), Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) and Crystal Ventures ltd. The facility’s value is estimated to be over US$ 300 Million (Frw 223 billion).
Out now; issue #56 of RwandaFul-The Hague, newsletter of the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in the Netherlands. Click hereto read the newsletter online.
Africa comes to Rwanda to turn climate challenges into opportunities
More than 500 climate change experts, carbon market players, policy makers and project developers from across Africa will convene in Kigali, Rwanda from 28 – 30 June for the 2016 Africa Carbon Forum. This is the first major conference on climate change since more than 170 countries, including Rwanda, signed the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The forum will focus on the implementation of the Paris Agreement for low-carbon and transformational development in Africa.
The Africa Carbon Forum is one of the largest gatherings of green growth and climate resilience experts from around the world. Participants at this year’s forum will discuss Africa's road map to sustainable development and shared prosperity and how to turn climate challenges into opportunities. The gathering will also discuss sources of climate finance and how to access them.
Rwanda was selected to host the conference because of its environment protection and climate change mitigation efforts. These include a ban on non-biodegradable plastics, the restoration of degraded ecosystems, the creation, reforestation and protection of national parks and the promotion of renewable energy.
“The Paris Agreement on Climate Change is an ambitious plan to limit temperature increases to below 1.5 degrees Celsius and manage the impacts of a warming planet. We must now turn this global commitment into local action. Rwanda looks forward to sharing our experiences of green growth and climate resilient development with the continent and learning from others,” said Vincent Biruta, Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources.
Africa is the most vulnerable continent to the impacts of a changing climate and needs to adopt low-carbon and climate resilient development to achieve shared prosperity. The Government of Rwanda looks forward to bringing together representatives from across Africa to promote programmes and strategies that foster this kind of development. This includes boosting renewable energy production, reforestation, water harvesting and irrigation, as well as providing timely information on climate trends and extreme weather events to ensure those who call Africa home are fully prepared for the impacts of climate change.
“Countries in Africa feel the dangers of climate change, but I’m confident they will also see the tremendous push that climate action can give to sustainable development. With the right climate policy choices, and by working together, countries can spur investment that benefits people and the atmosphere. In fact, action on climate is action for sustainable development,” said Daniele Violetti, Chief of Staff, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
During the forum, Rwanda will share the work of the country’s Green Fund (FONERWA), an environment and climate change fund which invests in the best public and private projects that support Rwanda’s commitment to building a green economy. The fund is currently financing 33 transformative climate resilience initiatives across the country.
About the Africa Carbon Forum
Held every year since 2008, the Africa Carbon Forum is an occasion for carbon market players, African policymakers, investors and project developers to share the latest knowledge and opportunities for collaboration on regional and global climate change initiatives.
The continental meeting is organised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat in collaboration with different partners including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa Low Emission Development Partnership and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA).
Press release: Lawyer Caroline Buisman trivializes the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis commemorations
Monday 06 June 2016 will be recorded in history as another sad and bitter date for Rwandan survivors of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis, in particular those living in the Netherlands. On this date, at The Hague District Court, in the extradition case “Dutch State Prosecution vs Jean Claude Iyamuremye and Jean Baptiste Mugimba, indicted suspects on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity”, Lawyer Caroline Buisman, mocked the commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda calling it a ‘political manipulation’.
The Dutch Prosecution filed a case against the accused, requesting the Netherlands to extradite both suspects to Rwanda for their alleged role in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.
It must be recalled that during the Genocide, the accused, Jean Baptiste MUGIMBA was the Secretary General of CDR, the extremist political party, which was at the forefront of the assassinations, killings and extermination of Tutsis in Rwanda. According to the indictment, Mr. MUGIMBA is alleged to have distributed arms in Nyakabanda Cell and he incited militias to exterminate Tutsis.
On the other hand Jean Claude IYAMUREMYE a.k.a. NZINGA is accused of having taken part with the infamous genocidaire militias Interahwamwe, in the mass killings of more than 3,000 Tutsis who had sought refuge at Ecole Technique Officielle (E.T.O. Kicukiro) during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis .
In her statement, willfully, Ms. Caroline Buisman, legal counsel of the 2 accused genocide fugitives, while at The Hague District Court during the hearing of the case, stated that “Government of Rwanda uses 1994 Genocide against Tutsis commemorations for its political agenda and is a manipulation”.
The Government and People of Rwanda are dismayed to hear a lawyer calling commemorations and remembrance events of the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi a manipulation by Government.
Ms. Caroline Buisman’s statement doesn’t only anger and offend survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis living in the Netherlands but is also an insult to the people of Netherlands who have stood firmly with the Government and People of Rwanda, genocide survivors, the UN and with the international community during past commemorations events worldwide. In particular Ms. Caroline Buisman’s statement is an insult to the people of The Netherlands who have vowed never to make the Netherlands a safe haven for suspects or perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis and other crimes against humanity.
Ms. Caroline Buisman as a lawyer is well aware of the fact that the ICTR Trial Chamber concluded, on 2nd September 1998, that“genocide was, indeed, committed in Rwanda against the Tutsi as a group” and that the Appeal Chamber confirmed, on 16th June 2006, that it is a “fact of common knowledge” that “there was a genocide in Rwanda against the Tutsi ethnic group”. This should at least serve as a basis for all of us to desist any attempt to deny or trivialize facts of genocide, as well as to minimize its scale.
Furthermore, Ms. Caroline as a lawyer is well aware that on 23rd December 2003, UN General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/58/234 designating the 7th April every year as the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda. In addition, the United Nations Security Council in April 2014, unanimously Adopted Resolution 2150 (2014), in which, The Security Council resolution confirmed that, the 1994 genocide in Rwanda will be referred to globally as the Genocide against the Tutsi (http://www.un.org/press/en/2014/sc11356.doc.htm) and the Security Council Called for Recommitment to Fight against Genocide. This resolution condemns without any reservation any denial of the Genocide against the Tutsis and calls upon states to investigate arrest, prosecute or extradite and end impunity for those individuals accused of genocide crimes who may be currently residing in their territories.
With all those precedents on commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis of Rwanda, it is absurd for Ms. Caroline to state that commemorations events of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis by the Government and People of Rwanda and by the Embassy of Rwanda in The Kingdom of The Netherlands is a manipulation and that it is done for political gains.
It is our belief that Ms. Caroline Buisman used the platform as an attack on the Government, the people and Embassy of The Republic of Rwanda for her own interests.
The Embassy of The Republic of Rwanda in The Kingdom of The Netherlands strongly condemns Ms. Caroline Buisman’s statement which is trivializing the pain and suffering of our victims including the survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda. Ms. Caroline Buisman’s remarks in court should not be looked at as a professional mistake, but rather it was a planned attack against the Government and the people of Rwanda.
The Embassy of The Republic of Rwanda in The Netherlands believes that such malicious behavior and statements trivializing commemorations of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis, one the darkest chapters of human history, should not only be condemned by the Government and the People of Rwanda, but also by the international community.
Rwanda launches State of Environment Report and hosts Clean Air Walk for World Environment Day
Rwanda will today (3 June) celebrate World Environment Day. The country will host a range of environment activities to involve communities in the fight against climate change and to build climate resilience. Two key events taking place are the Clean Air Walk and the launch of the fourth State of Environment and Outlook Report.
The celebration of World Environment Day comes after a week of conservation activities that took place across the country. These included a special Umuganda with tree planting, public lectures, visits to Green Villages and a campaign on the use of environment friendly packaging and bags.
The 2015 State of Environment and Outlook Report compiles the country’s achievements in the environment sector over the past two years. It reports on the commitments Rwanda has made to promote sustainability across all sectors including agriculture, forestry, water resources, mining and activities that conserve the environment.
“The fourth edition of the report is unique in that it provides an in depth analysis of a specific sector key to Rwanda’s sustainable economic development: agriculture. The 2015 report is themed “Greening agriculture with resource efficient, low carbon and climate resilient practices” and elaborates the agriculture/green economy nexus in Rwanda’s environment and economic context,” said Eng. Coletha Ruhamya, Acting Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority.
The Minister of Natural Resources, Vincent Biruta, and the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Gerardine Mukeshimana, launched the report at an event in Kigali this morning.
This afternoon, a Clean Air Walk will take place as part of the campaign to improve air quality by testing vehicle emissions. Rwandans and all those living in Rwanda are invited to join the Clean Air Walk that will begin at 2:30pm at the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) offices in Kacyiru and finish at the Rwanda National Police Motor Vehicle Inspection Centre in Remera.
The walk has been organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources in partnership with REMA, the Rwanda National Police and Motor Vehicle Transport Cooperatives. Participants of the walk will be briefed about regulatory initiatives to ensure clean air and strategies to lower greenhouse and toxic gas emissions in Rwanda. The walk will also include a demonstration of efforts to mitigate vehicle emissions through tests. Over the last five months, 1,507 of 42,580 vehicles tested did not meet acceptable emissions standards.
For more than a decade, Rwanda has placed the environment at the centre of the country’s socio-economic transformation. These efforts have resulted in a strong institutional and policy framework, allowing the country to develop in a way that is clean and green and that builds resilience to climate change.
Out now; issue #55 of RwandaFul-The Hague, newsletter of the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in the Netherlands. Click here to read the newsletter online.
Article: Face to Face with Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda
The travel editor of Ditjes & Datjes Magazine in the Netherlands (reach 2 million people) joined the Gorilla naming ceremony 'Kwita Izina' in 2015 and discovered the land of a thousand hills and million smiles.
Click here to read the article in Dutch on the website of the magazine.
Click on the link for the article in Dutch including an English translation.
Umuganda essential for economic development - Kagame
President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame, on Saturday 30 April, participated in the monthly community service (Umuganda) in Bwiza in Kayonza District, Eastern Province where they dug water trenches alongside hundreds of residents.
Speaking to thousands of residents gathered for an interactive discussion that is an integral part of Umuganda, President Kagame pointed to the role of Umuganda in transforming lives: “Umuganda is about all of us joinig hands and working together to develop ourselves. If we do not work together we will not move forward.”
Rwanda signs the Paris Agreement on Climate Change
On 23 April 2016 Rwanda joined with over 160 countries to sign the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Rwanda was represented at the signing ceremony by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo.
The Paris Agreement represents the strong global commitment to promote environmental protection and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The agreement provides the framework for all nations to introduce and strengthen policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and respond to a warmer planet. It also includes a commitment by developed nations to support climate vulnerable countries through finance and technology at a level of $100 billion annually until 2025.
The agreement is the result of years of negotiations that began in Durban in 2011 and concluded at the U.N. Climate Talks held in Paris in December (COP21). The talks were held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and concluded with the Paris Agreement, which was adopted by all parties to the UNFCCC - 196 nations.
“The Paris Agreement is a key platform for a global plan of action that will reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, with the lofty goal of keeping temperature increases below 1.5 degrees. This stronger target is what the government called for at the Climate Talks in December 2015 because we know that anything less ambitious places Rwanda and other vulnerable nations at unacceptable risk of climate related disasters,” Minister Biruta said.
The agreement signed today will assist Rwanda as one of most vulnerable countries to climate change. It will increase the climate finance and technology available to support the country’s climate resilience initiatives, clean energy ambitions and sustainable growth through the development of a vibrant green economy.
Rwanda has a demonstrated track record of environmental protection, evidenced through the ban on plastic bags, conservation of its natural heritage through a series of national parks and protected areas, landscape restoration and the planting millions of trees every year. Rwanda invites developed nations and international organisations interested in supporting its green growth vision to contribute to the country’s fund for the environment and climate change - the Green Fund.
“A key part of achieving our vision is Rwanda’s Green Fund – a ground-breaking environment and climate change investment fund and the largest of its kind in Africa. The fund invests in the best public and private projects that have the potential for transformative change and that support Rwanda’s commitment to building a green economy. The fund has mobilised 100 million dollars to date and is a leading example of the impact that well managed climate financing can have,” Minister Mushikiwabo said while delivering Rwanda’s national statement at the United Nations in New York.
Minister Mushikiwabo also announced that Rwanda will ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible and called on all nations to execute their climate action plans so that the agreement lives up to the expectations of current and future generations.
“While the Paris Agreement is a historic step in the right direction, we must not be content with today’s signing alone. The real work now begins to ratify and match our commitments with action,” she said.
About the Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement will govern the post 2020 climate regime. However, the agreement will enter into force on the 30th day after the date on which at least 55 parties to the convention, accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
Rwanda’s National Statement on the occasion of signing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change delivered by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo
Request for proposal for the provision of tourism marketing consultant for the Netherlands
Re-advertised: April 21, 2016
Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is a public institution with a vision of transforming Rwanda into a dynamic global hub for business, investment and innovation. The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) mission is to fast track economic development in Rwanda by enabling private sector growth.
Rwanda aims to be the premier eco-tourism destination on the African continent. Tourism goals include promoting Rwanda as a high quality tourism destination, to serve as a regional meetings and conference hub for Central and Eastern Africa, and enhance Rwanda's diverse and unique tourism products in order to bring tourists to the country and generate revenues that contribute significantly to the country's overall socio-economic development.
For that, in collaboration with the Presidence Office/ SPU, Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM), RDB and the Tourism Chamber, a Tourism Marketing strategy document was developed to provide a broad vision for the promotion and development of the Rwanda Tourism Industry. The new marketing strategy provides guidance for new development in the tourism industry through special focus on aggressive marketing in Rwanda’s traditional source markets but also new identified source of markets with view to achieve Rwanda’s annual increase of 25% by 2017.
The strategic framework sorted out specific potential countries that are identified to increase arrivals as well as the tourism revenues there by boosting the tourism sector in general.
It is in that perspective that Rwanda Development Board in collaboration with the Embassy of Rwanda in the Netherlands, is seeking for the service of an individual consultant. The consultant will be based in Netherlands and report directly to both Rwanda Development Board and the Embassy of Rwanda.
Separate applications are to be submitted for being considered for appointment as TOURISM MARKETING CONSULTANT and addressed to:
Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in the Netherlands
Attn. Mr. Robert Kayinamura
Johan van Oldenbarneveltlaan 9-B
2582 NE The Hague
The application shall be received on or before May 15th, 2016.
The technical offer shall provide the following information:
A brief description of the individual consultant and an outline of recent experience on assignments of a similar nature.
CV signed by consultant. Key information should include number of years working and degree of responsibility held in various assignments during the last ten (10) years.
Any comments or suggestions on the Terms of Reference (list of services and facilities provided by RDB).
A description of the methodology and work plan for performing the assignment.
A financial proposal indicating the monthly fee for providing the services and the other reimbursable expenses.
The Embassy of Rwanda shall evaluate the proposals on the basis of their responsiveness to the Terms of Reference.
While Rwanda is Yellow Fever free, following the current active outbreak of Yellow Fever in Angola and the documenting of imported cases in some countries, the Rwandan Ministry of Health is implementing measures to prevent the import of Yellow Fever cases and therefore protect the health of residents and visitors.
The following instructions are delivered to inform the public and travelers:
To enter in Rwanda, a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is not required for travelers (Residents/ Non-Residents) coming from Yellow Fever non-endemic countries and without an active transmission outbreak of Yellow Fever.
To enter in Rwanda, a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is mandatory for travelers (Residents/ Non-Residents) coming from Yellow Fever endemic countries1 and countries2 with active Yellow Fever transmission outbreaks.
All residents travelling to Yellow Fever endemic countries1 should be vaccinated 10 days before travelling.
For travelers (Resident/ Non-Resident) coming from an active Yellow Fever transmission outbreak country2 or travelers who have recently visited (within 24 days) an active Yellow Fever transmission outbreak country2 the following instructions will be applied:
Yellow Fever endemic countries1: Angola, Argentina, Benin, Bolivia Plurinational, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Venezuela
Active Yellow Fever transmission outbreak country2: Angola
Kwibuka22: fighting Genocide ideology
Events to mark the 22nd anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi (Kwibuka22) will be held across Rwanda, across the world and in the Netherlands with a focus on fighting Genocide ideology.
Rwandans and friends of Rwanda every year come together to pay tribute to over one million who were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. In the Netherlands the commemoration in The Hague will take place at the Hilton Hotel on Friday 8 April from 5PM to 7PM.
Rwanda to host the 2016 Africa Carbon Forum
Rwanda has been selected to host the 8th Africa Carbon Forum, a continental meeting organised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa Low Emission Development Partnership and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA).
The meeting will convene in Kigali from 28 to 30 June 2016 and will bring together over 600 climate change experts, carbon market players, policymakers and project developers from across Africa.
The conference will discuss innovative projects, programmes and investment opportunities for low carbon and climate resilient development in Africa, such as the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative and Africa Initiative on Adaptation, Loss and Damage. The gathering will also discuss the sources of climate finance and how to access them, among other climate change related topics.
Rwanda was chosen to host the conference because of its efforts in environment protection and climate change mitigation as well as experience in hosting major international events.
On 23 March 2016, the Government of Rwanda, represented by the Deputy Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority, Eng. Coletha Ruhamya, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the representative of the UNFCCC Secretariat James Grabert regarding the hosting of the meeting. The agreement sets out terms and conditions agreed between the UNFCCC Secretariat and the Government of Rwanda with respect to the hosting of the 8th Africa Carbon Forum.
James Grabert, Coordinator of Sustainable Development Mechanism Programme in the UNFCCC Secretariat, said, “The UNFCCC Secretariat thanks Rwanda for accepting to host the 2016 Africa Carbon Forum. We have a lot of expectations from this meeting.”
During the signing of the agreement, Eng. Coletha Ruhamya said, “It’s a privilege for Rwanda to host this important meeting. It is a chance to share our experience in low carbon development with the continent and we will do our best to make it very successful.”
After signing, the UNFCCC Secretariat representative, James Grabert, also made a courtesy call to the Minister of Natural Resources, Dr Vincent Biruta, to discuss what organisers are expecting from Rwanda as the country mobilises local and international stakeholders to participate in the 2016 Africa Carbon Forum.
Hosting the 2016 Africa Carbon Forum will be an opportunity for Rwanda to share with other African countries and the rest of world its initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions including vehicle emissions control. It will also be an occasion to share the work of the National Fund for the Environment and Climate Change (FONERWA), which is the first of its kind in Africa and through which climate change mitigation projects are financed.
Held every year since 2008, the Africa Carbon Forum is an occasion for carbon market players, African policymakers, investors and project developers to share the latest knowledge and opportunities for collaboration on regional and global climate change initiatives.
The Government of Rwanda called for increased private investment in the country’s water sector. The call came as Rwanda joined the international community to celebrate World Water Day.
With a focus on water and jobs, this year’s World Water Day was a chance to raise awareness about the importance of water for sustainable development and job creation and highlight how water and jobs interact to transform people’s lives. World Water Day is celebrated annually on 22 March.
To mark the occasion, an exhibition and conference was being held at the University of Rwanda’s Nyarugenge Campus. The conference brought together academics, policy makers and practitioners to discuss water monitoring and management and how to boost investment in the water sector and encourage job creation.
Rwanda also launched an Integrated Water Resource Management Programme called ‘Water for Growth’, financed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. A water treatment plant will also be inaugurated in Muhanga District. Across the country, communities will join hands to plant trees to protect rivers and water catchment areas.
“There are enormous investment opportunities in the water sector. It is an area where the private sector can invest and both business and the community benefit. Rwanda is under-utilising its water resources and the private sector has an important role in creating jobs and contributing to our green growth ambitions,” said Dr Vincent Biruta, Minister of Natural Resources.
Celebrations will take place throughout the week and bring together key ministries, including the Ministry of Infrastructure, and affiliated agencies involved in water and sustainable development, development partners, civil society, the private sector, regional water organisations as well as the general public.
Rwanda currently has water availability per capita of 670 m3 per annum, which is below the standard threshold of 1,000 m3 per annum. While the country is endowed with significant water resources, these are currently under utilised and much water is lost through evaporation. Today, Rwanda is working to develop its water resources for irrigation, domestic water supply, industry and to preserve our valuable ecosystems. Rwanda has the goal to provide clean water to 100% of the population by 2020.
Learn more about Rwanda's Water for Growth programme at www.water.rw.
World Water Week – Event Information
World Water Day Exhibition & Conference
Date: 22-23 March 2016
Time: 9am – 5pm
Location: University of Rwanda, Nyarugenge Campus
Launch of Water for Growth & Inauguration of Water Treatment Plant
Date: 24 March 2016
Time: All day
Location: Muhanga District
Regional Centre of Excellence opens in Rwanda on International Day of Forests
Rwanda has been selected to host the Regional Forest Landscape Restoration Centre of Excellence for Eastern and Southern Africa. The centre will be operated in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and will be officially inaugurated at a ceremony in Kigali to mark the International Day of Forests on 21 March 2016.
The International Day of Forests is a global celebration of the ways in which forests and trees sustain and protect us. This year, the theme is ‘Forests and Water’ and will focus on how forests are key to the planet’s supply of freshwater, which is essential for life.
“The Regional Forest Landscape Restoration Centre of Excellence demonstrates Rwanda’s continued commitment to the protection and rehabilitation of our forests, as well as to sharing our experience and knowledge with the world. We are proud to host this centre and support global efforts to restore 150 million hectares of degraded & deforested lands by 2020,” said Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources, Dr Vincent Biruta.
Rwanda will celebrate the International Day of Forests by also hosting a policy dialogue. The dialogue will discuss the contribution of forests to the country’s sustainable development and will take place during the launch of the Regional Forest Landscape Restoration Centre of Excellence for Eastern and Southern Africa. The event will be held at the Serena Hotel in Kigali and will bring together more than 100 high-level policymakers and experts from government institutions, regional and international non-government organisations.
Rwanda has committed to restore two million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2020. This commitment was made as part of the Bonn Challenge – a global aspiration to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands by 2020. As a result of this commitment, Rwanda became the first African country to pledge achieving a country-wide reversal of natural resources degradation, with a focus on water, soils, forests and biodiversity. This commitment will improve the quality and resilience of ecosystems, improve livelihoods, secure the country's water and energy supply and support low carbon economic development.
In addition to the launch of the centre and policy dialogue, forestry staff will join residents and colleagues in the water sector to plant trees in Muhanga District. This activity is part of World Water Day and ongoing efforts to protect Nyabarongo River from silt and soil erosion through reforestation.
13th National Leadership Retreat Rwanda
On 12 March 2016 President Paul Kagame opened the 13th National Leadership Retreat, commonly known as Umwiherero in Kinyarwanda. This gathering of more than 300 senior government officials and other partners was being held at the Rwanda Defence Force Combat Training Centre in Gabiro.
In his opening remarks, President Kagame reminded participants that this retreat shouldn’t be seen just an annual event but that it should rather inspire the various leaders to innovate ways to address national developmental challenges. “Let's do serious business that includes accountability. We should stand firm as falling short on our duties will undermine our capacity to address challenges,” the President said.
The President’s remarks were followed by a presentation by the Prime Minister on last year’s retreat implantation. In summary, out of the 16 resolutions, 11 (68.75%) were satisfactorily implemented (above 80%), 4 (25%) were partially implemented (between 50 and 80%). One (1) resolution that concerns the rehabilitation of Shyira hospital is off-track.
The first panel discussion on ways to "Improving delivery towards the achievement of Vision 2020 targets" was held with panelists including Minister Claver Gatete of Economy and Planning, Prof. Anastase Shyaka of the Rwanda Governance Board as well as Juvénal Nkusi from the Public Accounts Committee in the Parliament.
Today the world celebrates International Women’s Day under the theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”, which is tailored to encourage men and women to act for positive change. Rwanda’s celebrations will be under the theme, “Step it up for Gender Equality,” Strive for Women Empowerment.”
Out now; issue #52 of RwandaFul-The Hague, newsletter of the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in the Netherlands. Click here to read the newsletter online.
Rwanda's preparations for WEF Africa on course
With the African Edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF) scheduled to be held in May fast approaching, a team of officials from the organisation were in the country during the course of last week to follow up on the country’s readiness.
The forum is expected to bring together African leaders, business community and partners in development who will look at various issues including economic development, innovation and trade among others. The New Times’ Collins Mwai caught up with Oliver Cann, the director of Media Relations at WEF, who was part of the trip for insights into Rwanda’s preparedness and some of the features of the forum.
Rwanda to begin planning relocation of Burundian refugees to third countries
Kigali, 12 February 2016
Today the Government of Rwanda announced that it will immediately begin working with partners in the international community to plan the orderly and safe relocation of Burundian refugees to third countries.
Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo pointed out that Rwanda readily shoulders its obligations to protect and care for refugees. However, experience in the Great Lakes is that the long-term presence of refugees so close to their country of origin carries considerable risks for all involved.
"The callous indifference to the well-known root causes of instability in Burundi, and the refugee exodus is troubling. It also exposes refugees to increased threats from forces at home and compromises lasting political solutions. For Rwanda, the growing risks to our national security from the Burundian impasse and misunderstandings in our foreign relations are unacceptable.”
In recent months, Rwanda has made requests to international partners and organisations to host Burundians living in camps and in towns in Rwanda. No party has come forward yet, even as the political situation in the refugees' country of origin shows no improvement.
Minister Mushikiwabo said that for Rwanda and the region, the costs of repeating past mistakes of political mismanagement and international politicking, at Rwanda's expense, are too high.
Tourism sector exceeds target
The tourism sector, the country’s top income earner with $317 million (about Rwf227 billion) since 2014 is bullish about achieving its target this year after exceeding last year’s target by $5 million to generate $39 million in revenues and income.
The targets were achieved due to the success of the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) strategy. In its first year of operations, MICE didn’t achieve its set target of $32 million, managing to post home revenues worth $29 million (about Rwf21 billion), however, the sector that was targeting to make $207 million (about Rwf152 billion) by June 2018 is well ahead of its target.
“We exceeded our target of about $39 million by $5 million last year which brings the overall amount of generated income to $312 million (about Rwf227 billion). This is due to successes in leisure tourism which is highest income generating sector and followed by business tourism is part of the MICE strategy,” said Faustin Karasira, Ag. Head of Tourism department, Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
Kigali Convention Centre to host Africa Union Summit in June
Kigali Convention Centre will open in June and host the African Union Summit as its maiden major event. The Executive Chairperson of Ultimate Concepts Limited (UCL), which owns the project, Eng. Didier Sagashya, said in an interview that the centre, poised to be a hub of service in the East African Community, will be operational by June 2016.
Valued at more than $300 million (about Rwf223 billion), the centre will comprise a five-star hotel with 292 rooms, a conference hall that can host 2,500 people, several other meeting rooms, as well as an office park.
Rwanda maintains fair ranking in corruption report
Rwanda has maintained good ranking in its stance against corruption among the East African Community peers, according to a new report released in Kigali. The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2015 by Transparency International shows that Rwanda is the fourth least corrupt country in Africa and 44th globally.
In the East African Community, Rwanda comes on top followed by Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Burundi. In sub-Saharan Africa, Botswana claimed the top position followed by Cape Verde, Seychelles, Rwanda, then Mauritius and Namibia. Rwanda’s percentage score improved from 49 to 54 percent, it says.
Irembo's online visa payment system eases travel to Rwanda
Travellers into the country can now pay their visa fees online after Rwanda Online introduced the payment service through its web platform, Irembo. While passengers were able to apply for their visas online, the fees would be paid on arrival, causing long queues and delays for passengers.
The Directorate of Immigration and Emigration said the new move will save time for passengers. “We have been processing visas online but then it was impossible to make payment online. This is, therefore, another good step, that we hope is going to help foreigners by reducing the time they used to spend through the processes,” noted Ange Sebutege, the head of communication and customer care at the Directorate of Immigration and Emigration.
The University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) recently began its second semester welcoming back students, global health care experts, leading educators, and funding partners to a week of classes in its Master of Science in Global Health Delivery (MGHD) program.
UGHE is the first university in the world focused on the equitable delivery of health care, an expertise for which Rwanda is internationally known. Launched in 2015, the university is the result of a long- standing partnership between the Government of Rwanda, Inshuti Mu Buzima/Partners In Health, the Cummings Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
200 nominees for national heroes honour under scrutiny
Today February 1, Rwanda marks National Heroes’ Day. This year’s celebration will be marked under the theme: “Strive for heroism: build a better future.”
Celebrated heroes are classified into three categories; Imanzi, Imena and Ingenue. So far, no individual has has been placed in the Ingenzi category. The Imanzi category consists of Maj. Gen Fred Gisa Rwigyema and the ‘Unknown Soldier’ who represents all the soldiers who died during the Liberation struggle. The ‘Imena’ category consists of King Mutara III Rudahigwa Charles Léon Pierre, Michael Rwagasana, Agatha Uwiringiyimana, Felicité Niyitegeka, and the fallen students of Nyange Secondary School.
Rwanda has been described as an ideal investment destination for financial services by top global investors in the sector, including the co-founders of Atlas Mara Group, a sub-Saharan financial services group.
The Atlas Mara co-founders, Ashish Thakkar and Bob Diamond, who last year acquired two Rwandan banks, said Rwanda fared well as a financial services destination due to its position in the East African Community and the government’s commitment to development.
They made the remarks on the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Atlas Group acquired Banque Populaire du Rwanda and BRD Commercial Bank merging them to form a new entity, ‘BPR’, the second-largest bank in the country with assets worth $325 million.
Government to set up logistics platform to facilitate international trade
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has signed a 25-year renewable concession agreement with Dubai Port World to develop and operate a logistics platform, expected to boost international trade and competition in external market. The envisaged Kigali Logistics Platform (KLP) refers to a defined inland location for the consolidation and distribution of goods that has functions similar to those of a seaport and which includes customs clearance services.
The logistics infrastructure to be located in Masaka, Kigali, will offer different services such as a depot to enable cargo trucks from Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports to load and offload containers without delay, according to Trade and Industry minister Francois Kanimba. The partnership follows a competitive tender process where DP World emerged the winner to invest in the programme after negotiations, the minister said after the signing last Friday.
President Paul Kagame has said Rwanda and Africa have begun to shift focus from consuming technology to becoming producers. The President made the remarks at the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Kagame spoke at a panel session, “The Transformation of Tomorrow,” that debated the implications of the digital revolution. The President spoke alongside leaders in the digital technologies industry, including Facebook chief operation officer Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella, Anand Mahindra, director of Indian company Mahinda and Mahindra, and Zachary Bookman, the founder of Open Gov.
Kagame said the decision to have a greater role in the ‘revolution’ was due to its multiple benefits from digital technologies in recent years across several sectors which has consequently improved lives of millions of people. “We have seen multiplier effect of technology on growth, development and connecting people to solutions,” the President added.
Rwanda’s ICT sector has been recognised by various local and international indexes for innovations that have improved service delivery, healthcare provision, accountability, access to quality education, among others. In 2015, the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology report ranked Rwanda among the top nations in the world in government success in ICT promotion cluster.
Dutch firms explore investment opportunities in tourism sector
Representatives of several Dutch companies interested in the tourism sector are in Rwanda to identify viable investment opportunities. The companies, led by GreenDreamCompany, a Dutch group that specializes in sustainable area development of natural and cultural heritage sites with the use of tourism, arrived on Wednesday intent on staying for a week.
The trade mission comes a week after local industry operators again showcased Rwanda’s vast tourism potential during a week-long tourism fair Vakantiebeurs 2016 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
The GreenDreamCompany owners, Léon van Rijckevorsel and Leontine van Hooft, led the delegation. “The GreenDreamCompany is specializing in leisure and tourism sector development. All parties who joined the mission are companies who are involved in our planned developments in Rwanda. This is a fieldtrip to visit all locations and to meet local stakeholders,” van Hooft, told Sunday Times in an e-mail. “We ourselves have been coming here for the past three years. This is the first time our design and development team comes to see the locations and to start up the creative process.”
Their website indicates that GreenDreamCompany has a vision to create a ‘chain’ of beautiful tourism resorts and destinations in Africa, all inspired by the travels of the ancient King Solomon. They are working to connect beautiful locations in 15 countries under their brand name: “Solomon’s Hidden Treasures.” Their first projects will be located in Rwanda and Ethiopia, two countries rich in cultural and natural heritage. The couple and a group of partners developed ‘Solomon’s Hidden Treasures Rwanda’ which aims to develop sustainable projects serving tourists.
Robert Kayinamura, First Counselor at the Rwandan embassy in The Hague, said that for the past three years, they had been meeting GreenDreamCompany owners and provided assistance. Kayinamura said: “Now they are coming with partners and financiers to meet all stakeholders and then finalize plans. The embassy has met them several times in line with the country’s economic policy of tourism development which will play an important role in economic development. They are going to add to our infrastructure. Then they will be part of the marketing of Rwanda as a tourist destination.”
The countries that GreenDreamCompany wants to connect through the Solomon’s Hidden Treasure chain of resorts are: Israel–Egypt–North and South Sudan–Ethiopia–Uganda–Burundi-Rwanda–Tanzania–Zambia–Malawi–Zimbabwe–Mozambique–South Africa and Lesotho. Meanwhile, the recently published 2015 edition of the Africa Tourism Monitor, an annual report of the AfDB, New York University’s Africa House and the Africa Travel Association, says tourism is on the rise on the African continent but is yet to reach its full potential. The report said Africa international tourism arrivals increased to 65.3 million in 2014 while international tourism receipts totaled $43.6 billion in the same year.
(Copyright New Times Rwanda)
Rwanda's economic outlook for 2016
The Rwanda Development Board has been pivotal in ensuring policies deliberated upon are implemented. Later this year, Rwanda hosts the World Economic Forum, bearing testimony to progress made in sharing the big stage with larger economies. Joining CNBC Africa to take stock of this, and discuss the country's economic outlook for 2016, is Serge Kamuhinda, Chief Operations Officer at the Rwanda Development Board.
I would like to convey to you my best wishes for a happy New Year. May 2016 bring your aspirations closer, including for our nation’s progress.
The year that has just ended was eventful and positive for our country. The unity of our people is unshakeably strong, and the work of nation-building continues apace. Against this background, in order to fortify the gains we have made, Rwandans asked for a revised Constitution, which they approved in the recent referendum. You clearly expressed your choices for the future of our country.
The process allowed us the time to make certain that the proposed changes had merit and wisdom. You requested me to lead the country again after 2017. Given the importance and consideration you attach to this, I can only accept. What remains is to follow the normal laws and procedures when the time comes.
But I do not think our aim is to have a President for life, nor is it what I would want. Sooner rather than later, this office will be transferred from one person to another in a manner that will serve a purpose, not merely set an example, whether for ourselves or others. That is why we need to remain fully engaged on Rwanda’s journey of transformation. After all, the conditions for maintaining political stability are actually the same as those needed to build the prosperity that we can already see on the horizon.
Rwandans are optimistic about the future and have confidence in the direction chosen. This should reassure Rwanda’s friends and partners as well. Even misguided or deliberately harmful criticism can be the start of a conversation that leads to greater understanding on all sides. What is important is that we respect each other. If we stay the course, I have no doubt that we will reach our goals.
My family and I wish all Rwandans a Happy New Year.