Rwanda ponders opening embassy in Zambia

Zambias Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, George Zulu

DAILY-MAIL.CO.ZM: The Rwandan government plans to open up an embassy and establish an airline in Zambia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent secretary George Zulu has said.

Mr Zulu said in an interview yesterday that Rwanda has expressed interest to strengthen its presence in Zambia by setting up an airline and a diplomatic mission. He added that Rwanda is yet to make its plans official by communicating with the Zambian government.

We [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] have been encouraging the Rwandan government to hold talks with the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications so that they can set up an airline here.

Trade between the two countries will improve once plans by the Rwandan government to set up an embassy and airline come to fruition:

We are encouraging them to come because there will be an increased trade between the two countries and it will increase bilateral agreements.

Zambia is represented in Rwanda by a non-resident ambassador Judith Kapijimpanga who is based in Tanzania.
The country hosts thousands of Rwandan refugees, many of whom have opted to stay despite the end of the war in that country.

Rwandas economy set to grow by 6.5%

Rwandas economy is expected to grow by 6.5 percent in 2015 as aid flows continue to recover and the services and construction sectors expand, the country’s central bank governor said on Monday.

Over the next two to three years, average annual growth in gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to reach more than 7 percent as the economy rebounds from delays in budgetary support from donors, John Rwangombwa said in an interview while visiting Dubai for an international conference:

“For next year we are targeting for 6.5 percent. The services sector is picking up and the construction sector continues to perform well.”

GDP will grow 6 percent this year, up from 4.7 percent last year, he estimated.

International donors delayed aid payments to Rwanda in 2012 after United Nations monitors accused it of backing rebels in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, some aid flows have resumed.

We expect in the next two to three years a recovery to the pre-shock numbers of above 7 percent.

Rwangombwa said by “shock” referring to the delay in aid payments.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame said in 2013 that he wanted the countrys economy to grow by an average annual rate of 11.5 percent over five years. This target is unlikely to be hit in the short term, said Rwangombwa:

That does not discourage us. Its like saying you aim for the moon, when you fail you land in the stars.

African governments urged to scale up investments in agriculture

African governments have been advised to scale up investments in the agriculture sector to enhance productivity and ensure food security on the continent. These were the remarks made at the opening of the second African Union Private Sector and Agribusiness Forum in Kigali, Thursday.

Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, the Africa Union Commissioner in charge of Rural Economy and Agriculture said the initiative must be done in a more inclusive and sustainable manner. The 2-day annual conference brings together more than 100 agronomists, policy makers, business leaders, farmers and development partners from across Africa. It is expected to lay a concrete foundation for the transformation of agriculture across the content.

Ms. Tumusiime noted that doubling agro productivity will transform the continent’s economic growth. Agro business, she said, is poised for global growth however, both public and the private sector must complement each other for Africa to benefit from this growth:

More resources will have to be extended to women and youth along the value chain to enable them to transform the sector.

African governments are spending more than US$40B annually on food importation and yet food can locally be produced on the continent. Tumusiime added:

If we are to take agriculture as a business, it has to be well funded and streamlined from a multi-sectoral perspective.

As part of the sustained Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), the African Union Commission has spearheaded efforts to engage the private sector in identifying opportunities for their increased participation in agricultural value chains in Africa.

We have also highlighted and underscored the need to strengthen private sector participation in the program as part of expansion and strengthening agribusiness in African agricultural value chains.

Rwanda’s Agriculture minister, Gerardine Mukeshimana, said there is need to turn the sector into a market oriented entity through increased resource mobilization. Agro business will grow faster only if the private sector takes a leading role, Mukeshimana adds:

We must do more to connect farmers with buyers through rural infrastructure development, technical training and most importantly scale up our budget allocations to the sector for sustained economic growth.

Rwanda was the 1st  country to sign up for CAADP, and more than 10% of the national budget goes to agriculture in order to stimulate its growth. In Africa, agriculture employs more than 80% and contributes 20% of the continent’s total exports and more than 40% total GDP. In Rwanda, the sector grew by 5% and contributed 1.5 percentage pts to the overall GDP growth during Q-2 of Y 2014.

Overall, the entire sector employs about 80% of citizens contributed 33% of the country’s economic growth.

Residents from 12 countries to get visa-free entry to Rwanda

Passport holders of 12 countries across the world will no longer need a visa to travel to Rwanda for short visits from next month, Rwandas Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration said Monday.

A visa waiver agreement, which recognized growing links between Rwanda and concerned 12 countries including Singapore, Hong Kong, Mauritius and Philippines will be applied where by nationals from these nations will from now on be exempted from entry/tourism visa for a stay of up to 90 days, the official statement said. Among other countries for whose citizens shall get and pay entry visa fee of 30 U.S. dollars are Australia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Britain and the United States, according to the same source.

Speaking during an exclusive interview with Xinhua, the spokesperson of Rwandas Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration, Ange Sebutege, said that Rwanda nationals are also expected to enjoy visa-free access to Philippines where by it is expected that each year the number of investors from the Southeast Asian island was expected to grow with the visa waiver in place.

Meanwhile, citizens from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) will continue getting visitors visa for a stay not exceeding 90 days with no fees as provided by the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Region.

Rwanda is a member state of the sub-regional Economic Community of the Great Lakes region that also includes Burundi and DR Congo, and members of this regional bloc are bound by the agreement signed in September 1976 dedicated to promote regional integration, particularly free movement of persons, goods, and services.

The new decision on visa policy and regulations for neighboring DR Congo nationals comes a few months after Congolese authorities has instructed all Rwandan citizens to pay for visa in order to enter the DR Congo.

By adopting these new set of measures, Rwanda is looking to become a preferred destination for tourists while mobilising large foreign investments in the country.

India committed for infrastructure development in Rwanda

Paul Kagame expressed gratefulness for the contribution of India in the development of Rwanda, particularly in the field of agriculture and energy.

India remains committed to supporting infrastructure development in Rwanda, President Pranab Mukherjee said here today.

Welcoming the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, Mukherjee said India appreciates the important role of Rwanda in maintaining peace and security in Central Africa and Horn of Africa:

The two countries have a commonalty of views on many issues.

Kagame has called on Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

The President expressed happiness that the hydroelectric project supported by India will be soon commissioned. Mukherjee pointed out that India has supported the expansion of cultivable land in Rwanda:

India remains committed to supporting infrastructure development in Rwanda.

Mukherjee said he is sure that participation of Rwandan President in the India Economic Summit will enrich its deliberations.

Kagame warmly reciprocated Mukherjees sentiments and recalled the long history of friendship between India and Rwanda. He appreciated Indias positive contribution to Africa. Kagame expressed gratefulness for the contribution of India in the development of Rwanda, particularly in the field of agriculture and energy, it said. Kagame said the Government of Rwanda is keen to enhance relations with India by deepening and broadening bilateral cooperation.

Rwanda also shares Indias views on many global issues, including the need to reform the UN and other international organisations to reflect current global realities, the release said.

Rwandan youth encouraged to promote peace online

Rwandas Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, has advised young people to promote peace by using todays available technologies. On Tuesday last week he participated in a public YouthConnekt Google+ hangout, discussing the role of youth in peace building. A video of the live broadcast can be viewed below.

YouthConnekt is a social platform in Rwanda that helps participants to share and engage in youthful activities that create positive-forward impact in the economy. Both youth and ICT players or anyone interested in these sectors are encouraged to contribute to the country’s developmental agenda through debates, particularly through their video conferencing hangouts.
Remarking on the potential of youth and the use of technology, Nsengimana said:

There is a very nice meeting between Youth, ICT and Peace because with new technologies like the one we are using right now, we can really promote peace and take peace where peace is not. At least we can carry a message of peace.

Peace building effort has to be a holistic effort; it doesn’t just touch on elements of violence, it also connected with access to basic necessities like food, shelter, security, education; it’s all interconnected, and that’s why any effort thats contribute to uplifting the standard of living of people actually indirectly contributes to peace building.

Jeremy Gilleh, founder of British non-profit organisation Peace One Day, shared during the broadcast:

We need young people to believe particularly that peace is possible and the only way is showing them the vision of peace is coming together with them.

Learn more about YouthConnekt and their upcoming live broadcasts on Google+ and YouTube through their Facebook page.

Share Economic Growth Broadly World Bank livestream

The World Bank is soon to host a live stream on their next event, Sharing Economic Growth Broadly: New Challenges for the Continent.

This event will focus on avenues African policymakers can pursue to increase the benefits of economic growth for broad segments of their societies. Challenges to be discussed include the share of manufacturing in GDP, lower rates of employment creation, rapid urbanization of the continent, and difficulties in generating new sources of growth.

The event is co-sponsored by the Growth Dialogue and the World Bank Africa Region and will feature high-level policymakers engaging in a rich exchange of ideas and concrete policy options.

Date: Thursday, October 9, 2014
Time: 9 a.m. -11 a.m. ET (13:00 – 15:00 GMT or convert time)
Location: Online