4G LTE launched in Rwanda

4G LTE launched in RwandaRwanda has become the latest African country to join the 4G LTE network following the launch of the service in Kigali the countrys capital.

Rwandas Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, said that the rollout of 4G LTE will speed up national development goals by speeding up ICT based services as well as creating jobs and proving new opportunities to deliver better services nationwide.

This launch enables people to accomplish their dreams and new ideas will blossom. The launch of 4G LTE is one of many activities that our Government is putting in place so as to achieve a middle class knowledge based economy targets by 2020, the minister said.

He also reiterated governments continual support for ICT literacy to make the service to impact the lives of Rwandans.

Patrick Nyirishema, the director-general of Rwanda Utility Regulatory Agency (RURA) added

It is a new addition to the ecosystem, whatever benefits citizens were receiving due to ICT development in the country, will now increase in terms of speed and efficiency, Nyirishema said.

We are increasing accessibility and Internet speed, we are making it easier for people to do business and have impact on fellow citizens.

$68m energy project gives 50,000 Rwandan households first taste of electricity

The Eastern Province of Rwanda has seen 50,000 of its households connected to the national electric grid for the first time following the successful implementation of a four year $68 million energy project by the Rwanda Energy Group in partnership with a number of private firms.

This was disclosed during a validation workshop themed around the socio-economic impact of the electrification project where special reports on the impact of the project were received and discussed. Benefits, according to Epimak Rutingama, were mostly in the areas of income generation, health and education.

The survey showed that users of electricity were considerably better off than the non-users with regard to their socio-economic status and living conditions. Socio-economic status and living conditions of household heads as measured by different variables appear to be strongly associated with using electricity which resulted in a greater level of satisfaction with their life situation.

Provincial Governor Odette Uwamariya admitted that the project had doubled electrification levels in her province from 11% to 22% thus allowing trading centers to upgrade and decentralize public services. In her words; “Schools, health centers, Saccos (credit and savings cooperatives) benefitted. We can now go beyond just home lighting to starting agro-based industries.”

Also, and more in line with Governor Uwamariya’s comments, modern energy use may enable the poor in developing countries to engage in new or improved income generating activities eventually leading to an improvement of their living conditions. This is a productive use of energy, not merely a consumptive one. Lastly, exclusion from modern energy might be a direct indicator of poverty.

Isaano Arts Festival aims to promote Rwandas art industry

The Isaano Arts Festival started Sunday, 15 February 2015 with a mission to help promote Rwandas artistic industry.

Until Saturday, 21 February 2015, people from all walks of life are invited to join activities taking place at Petit Stade in Remera everyday, from 4 to 10PM.

The festival features activities that include a fine-art exhibition, art workshops and workshops, a literary gathering, and more.

International artists, including Tiken Jah Fakoly, Habib Koite, Thias Diarra and Cissoko Noumoucounda, will also be performing throughout the week.

The Isaano Art Festival is an annual event organised by Positive Production.

Meet in Remarkable Rwanda’ Campaign launched in India

Highlighting the opportunities for business offered to companies, trade associations, and social organisations in the African country, the ‘Meet in Remarkable Rwanda’ Campaign was launched by the Rwanda High Commission at the ‘Automation Exhibition 2014’ held in Mumbai.

The Campaign was launched by Joseph Kabakeza, First Counselor and Deputy Head of Mission, Rwanda High Commission, New Delhi. Joining Rwandan representatives were Clarence Fernandes, a representative in India for the Rwanda Development Board, and visitors from Singapore, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Germany, Sweden, and France.

The Rwandan booth at the Exhibition highlighted the various opportunities for trade, tourism, and investments in the country. The upcoming Rwanda Convention Bureau was also showcased along with the additional inventory of rooms in the five-star and other categories of hotels- soon to be available for conferences and meetings.

Through the Campaign, Rwanda Tourism plans to focus on the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences/Conventions, Exhibitions (MICE) segment, which is important for Rwanda Tourism. Stress was laid on holding MICE events in Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. Clarence Fernandes said:

We received tremendous response at Automation Exhibition 2014, which, though primarily an expo showcasing products for automation, gave us a clear edge to showcase whatever Rwanda has to offer. What is very satisfying is the fact that we received good response from both exhibitors and visitors at the Expo, for our forthcoming International Business Forum ‘Rwanda Calling 2015’, which will be held in Kigali in January.

Kigali is preparing to welcome guests from the MICE segment as well as Leisure. The Kigali Convention Centre (KCC) due to open in 2015, built at a cost of USD 30 million, will be able to accommodate 2,600 delegates. Encompassing a translucent dome, and a multifunctional hall with a maximum capacity of 2,600 pax, KCC will help position the city as a leading MICE destination in East Africa. In tandem with KCC, a number of five-star hotel brands are under development at Kigali, namely Radisson Blu, Marriott, Park Inn, Sheraton, and South Africas Protea Group International.

Kabakeza offered full support and facilitation to the Rwanda High Commission for hosting Indian visitors in the country, in order to project it as a preferred MICE destination.

Bank of Kigali posts 21 percent rise in FY profit

Reuters: Rwandas Bank of Kigali has reported a 21.3 percent rise in full-year pretax profit to 22.8 billion Rwandan francs ($33.3 million).

Net interest income at the bank, the largest by assets in the east African country, climbed to 39.3 billion francs in the year through December from 35.2 billion a year before, it said on Friday.

Net fees and commissions nudged higher to 10.9 billion francs from 10.8 billion. The banks total assets grew 14.3 percent to 482.6 billion francs.

($1 = 685.0000 Rwandan francs)

Rwanda national leadership retreat to discuss priorities

A few leaders chats during a break time at Umwiherero 2014

Rwanda national leadership retreat to discuss priorities

The twelfth annual National Leadership Retreat will bring together Rwanda’s senior leaders to discuss national priorities, affirm the country’s shared vision to become a knowledge driven, middle-income country by 2020 and renew momentum to achieve development objectives. The retreat will be held at the Rwanda Defence Forces Combat Training Centre in Gabiro from 28 February – 2 March 2015.

Umwiherero, meaning retreat, refers to a tradition in Rwandan culture whereby leaders would convene to reflect on issues affecting their communities. The objective of these meetings was to identify solutions and commit to achieving them. Today, the concept has been adapted and refers to a gathering of the country’s senior leaders to solve ongoing challenges.

Now in its twelfth year, Umwiherero provides a unique opportunity for Rwanda’s leaders to reflect on the country’s progress and identify strategies to accelerate the delivery of national priorities. With only two years until the realisation of the 7-Year Government Programme, this year’s retreat will take stock on commitments made to citizens and discuss sectors that still require improvement in delivery of leaders’ promises. President Kagame will chair the retreat and deliver opening and closing remarks.

An estimated 250 leaders from Central Government, Local Government, parastatals and the private sector will attend. The retreat will include a presentation from the Prime Minister on the implementation status of 2014 Leadership Retreat recommendations. The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning will present an update on the implementation of public investment projects and the CEO of the Rwanda Governance Board will present the Government Scorecard.

There will be four discussion topics at this year’s Umwiherero, including:

  1. Leaders’ accountability – Rethinking the government’s approach to delivery
  2. Leveraging Public Private Partnership to tap the full potential of the MICE sector
  3. Reviewing the performance of health systems and enhancing the quality of health service delivery
  4. Infrastructure development to support planned urbanisation

Rwanda celebrates annual book festival

This week marks the third annual Book and Reading Festival, organised by the Ministry of Sports and Culture (MINISPOC) through its Rwanda Library Services (RLS).

The festival, themed Literacy for Self-reliance, commences today with the launch of a community library in Rulindo District.

 

According to MINISPOC, the week-long festival aims to promote a culture of reading and writing, raise awareness about the role of libraries in Rwanda, and sensitize parents about their role in childrens literacy.

Throughout the week, RLS, together with partners (such as the Education Development Center, Editions Bakame, Ishyo Arts Center, Save the Children, Institut Francais, the Rwanda Book Publishers Association, etc.), will engage communities across the country in storytelling activities, reading sessions and competitions, as well as discussions.

 

The festival will conclude with a Walk for Literacy and closing ceremony on Friday, 20 February in Kigali at Petit Stade.

Rwandas Vision 2020 aims to transform the country into a knowledge-based economy; and it is believed that developing strong literacy skills will significantly contribute to achieving the goal.

Two short films by young Rwandan filmmakers to premiere at the Goethe-Institut

The Goethe-Institut Kigali Liaison Office is hosting this evening the premiere of two short-films by young Rwandan filmmakers Aimé-Philbert Mbabazi and Samuel Karemangingo Ishimwe.

The screening is taking place at the Goethe-Instituts office in Kiyovu from 6:30PM.

Read each films synopsis below:

Crossing Lines

Directed by Karemangingo Ishimwe Samuel and Mbabazi Philbert (2009) | Original English version, 28 min.

The 20th commemoration week of the genocide starts in Kigali; Kayihura a young genocide survivor locks himself into his house haunted by the painful memories of the tragedy. One morning he opens his door to stranger bleeding to death following a suicide attempt, after discovering the identity and the reason of suicide of the latter, his relationship with the past will never be the same.

Mageragere City Dropout

Directed by Philbert Mbabazi (2009) | Original English version, 29 min.

Nizzo, a 23 years old slum robber, lives the last days of his three years in one of the slums in Kigali. His disappointment in the slums encourages him to go back to Mageragere, his native village in order to start over. Nizzo faces the past he fled and returns to his former girlfriend Gasaro. But Gasaro has grown up and has become more inaccessible. She has finished her high school studies and dates the only motorbike holder and shopkeeper in the whole village.

Rwanda aims to increase financial inclusion to 80% by 2017

In order to achieve economic transformation and poverty reduction, Rwanda has set its goal on increasing financial inclusion to 80 percent by 2017. Key to this is broadening the financial literacy of Rwandans, and sensitizing on investment diversity and a savings culture both for individuals and consumer-oriented organizations. CNBC Africa investigates.

Tony Blair lauds Rwanda on Solar Power Plant Investment

Tony Blair visits East Africa’s largest solar power plant in Rwanda. Photo: The Office of Tony Blair

Tony Blair lauds Rwanda on Solar Power Plant Investment

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that the building of East Africa’s largest solar power plant in Rwanda is symbolic and a great vote of confidence in the country. Tony Blair, who is the founder and patron of the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) was visiting the plant yesterday.

It is ground-breaking in terms of how you do these solar projects. It is really important investment and a great international collaboration.

Rwamagana Solar Power plant will provide power to over 15,000 Rwandan households and add almost 6 percent to the country’s total energy supply.

Tony Blair describes the plant as “a good example of what Rwanda can be.” He adds that it is a signal for other investors, because it’s been facilitated by the government working fast to make the investment happen. “People know that when they come to Rwanda they can invest, without corruption,” he remarked.

“This is a good example of what Rwanda can be,” Tony Blair said.

The $23m project, which adds 8.5MW to the national grid, was Rwanda’s first competitive process for private investment in the energy sector.

It is situated on land owned by Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, whose mission is to care for Rwanda’s most vulnerable children orphaned before and after the Rwandan genocide. The village is leasing land to house the solar facility, the fees from which will help pay for a portion of the Village’s charitable expenses.  As part of the visit, Tony Blair also spoke to young people at the Village.

The Government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Infrastructure, signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Gigawatt Global Rwanda to build, operate and maintain the on-grid solar power plant for a period of 25 years. The plant is comprised of 28,600 solar photovoltaic modules each with 300Wp (Watt-peak), eight inverters and is connected to the national grid.

The solar plant makes up just over five percent of Rwanda’s current total energy generation capacity of 155 MW. The objective is to increase the country’s total installed generation capacity to 563 MW by 2017/18. This will be achieved through ongoing and future investments in hydro, peat, methane gas, and solar and other power generation options.

AGI has worked with the Government of Rwanda since 2008.  Our team has been providing support to central institutions within the Government of Rwanda such as the Presidency, the Prime Minister’s Office, the National Capacity Building Secretariat (NCBS) and the Ministries of Finance, Agriculture and Infrastructure. We are supporting the systems and structures of effective government, so that the lives of millions of Rwandans who live in poverty can be improved.