National Dialogue: What the Ni Nyampinga girls would ask?

Rwandans are preparing for the annual National Dialogue, ‘Umushyikirano,’ which will take place in Kigali on December 18th to 19th 2014. The National Dialogue, which is chaired by His Excellency the President of Rwanda, is now in its twelfth year and it provides an opportunity for Rwandans both in Rwanda and in the Diaspora to pose questions to the leadership of the country at a national level. This is one of the most exciting events of the year because nowhere else in the world do citizens have direct access to their leadership, let alone their head of state.

Each year, the National Dialogue strives to be as inclusive as possible in order to incorporate the diverse thoughts, opinions, and experiences of Rwandans around the country. According to Hon. Venetia Twagirayezu, the Minister in the President’s Office, 1,000 Rwandans will be in attendance at the National Parliament, where the event is being held, while 2,000 young people will tune in from Petit Stade in Remera as part of the annual Youth Connekt convention. Video conferencing will be employed to include at least two communities based upcountry.

Under the general “Common Vision, New Momentum”, two sub-themes will be explored: “Family: A Foundation for National Prosperity” and “Safeguarding Our Achievements for a Better Future.” Rwandans from all across the world will be able to follow the event on television, radio, online. They will also have the opportunity to submit inquires through Facebook, Twitter, calls, emails and SMS.

During the MDG Special Event at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, President Kagame emphasized the importance of investing in girls. Throughout the year, Ni Nyampinga has interacted with numerous girls from the most vulnerable to the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders of our society. Through these interactions, we have realized the importance of having girls’ voices added to the national dialogue. It is beneficial not only to girls, but to the leadership of the country. To this end, we have three questions that we would love to have addressed at this year’s Umushyikirano:

Benigne Mugwaneza: What is the government doing to empower and assist young girls with access to finance for their business projects, especially after gaining vocational skills?

Sarah Duhimbaze: What is the role of government in girls self-reliance?

Ritha Marie Clarisse Ubumwe: With regard to human trafficking, there is particularly a concern for trafficking of girls, most girls and women are trafficked because of poverty, ignorance and influence by others promising them better jobs abroad.
Is there a way the authorities can have a toll free line in a bid to address this problem? A line where the public can report any issues, this way creating further awareness and ensuring that those guilty of human trafficking crimes are brought to justice.

40 African Nations represented at Moscow Festival

The annual, two-day festival is the Moscows biggest celebration of Africa.

THEMOSCOWTIMES.COM: Africans representing 40 countries are expected to come together for Moscows Afrofest 2014 event,  an annual celebration of the continents food, films, games and dancing, at the Bauman Garden on Saturday and Sunday.

Russians dont know what Africa [culture] is, said Serge Phocas Odunlami, president of the House of Africa organisation that is hosting the festival. He said he hoped that the occasion would serve as a bridge between Russian and African cultures.

One exciting aspect of the festival is a rich programme of master classes that include traditional dance such as the romantic Kizomba and spirited Kuduro, both of which originated in the Southern African country of Angola.

Visitors can try traditional food from many different countries and watch a series of documentaries and films about the continent. Anyone can also take part in the popular African strategy game Awale, one of the oldest of its kind, in which players sit around a board and attempt to capture as many of each others seeds as possible.

Visitors will also be treated to a fashion show with African designers and a performance of traditional songs and dances by the Cac Oshala troupe from the West African country of Benin.

Rwanda in $9 million border upgrade

Rwanda has received $9 million from the Howard G. Buffet Foundation, for upgrading the Rubavu post along the border with the Democratic Republic Congo.

Work will take the next 18 months. Rubavu will then meet the required standards of a proper functional border post and reduce the overall transit time for cargo and passengers while easing trade and commerce. Christian Rwakunda said while launching the ground breaking ceremony to mark the commencement of the border post upgrade at former La Croniche border post referred to us as Grande Barrierein Rubavu district, Western province last week:

This border post will significantly enhance mobility of people and goods from both countries which will promote cross border trade and therefore intensify regional economic growth through the promotion of market integration, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Infrastructure.

It will again increase peace and security since when people trade together there’s more peace than fighting, plus it will increase revenue for Rwanda because of more trade that will be created at the border post.

The border post upgrade will be in line with the Rubavu District master plan and that of other border posts.

This project will cover the construction of the borders post facilities, which include the main building to accommodate all services, passenger car parking and handling facilities, warehouses as well as heavy truck transit parking.

This is aimed at improving border crossing efficiency and cut down unnecessary costs which are due to duplication of operations.

“This is kind of a dream to see both sides (Rwanda and DRC) sitting together with one purpose and one goal,” Howard Buffet said.

He said “We believe this is one opportunity to work together with many more to come up”.

“This means much better environment for trade and commerce for the two countries and people will be able to work together freely and easily which will help achieve big goals together,” Buffet said.

Buffet recognized the great progress made on the side of Rwanda which is because of the support provided by the Rwandan government.

Rwanda and DRC trade both agricultural and livestock products.

This is why the Rwandan government aims at increasing working hours at the border post to 24hours which will promote doing business for the Rwandan business community at the post hence help the country develop.

The Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) shall be the implementing agency on behalf of the GoR. It shall closely follow up implementation of the project together with the Howard Buffet foundation which is the main financier.

The Howard Buffet foundation looks at funding future border posts including the one in the north with Uganda.

The existing facilities at la Corniche border post between Rubavu in Rwanda and Goma in DRC has become archaic which called for an upgrade to reduce the overall transit time for cargo and passengers.