Over 3,000 expected for Rwanda Day in Atlanta

Over 3,000 Rwandans and friends of Rwanda are expected to attend the sixth edition of Rwanda Day, scheduled Saturday, September 20, in the US city of Atlanta, Georgia.

Rwanda Day events have since become a platform for strategic networking and closing business deals between government officials, businesses and the Diaspora community.

This year’s event is expected to help forge new partnerships that would help fast-track the country’s development.

The Atlanta event will be held under the theme; “Agaciro: Our Choice”, in celebration of the country’s 20 years of liberation.

Delegates will have the opportunity to discuss solutions to underlying challenges to the nation’s progress, Parfait Gahamanyi, the Director General of Rwandan Community Abroad at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, said yesterday.

“Rwanda Day 2014 will be preceded by a business forum on September 19, during which local investors will meet their counterparts in the Diaspora to discuss Rwanda’s investment climate.

From the forum, we are optimistic that new ventures and partnerships will be formed,” Gahamanyi told journalists in Kigali yesterday.

“On the main day, there will be two discussions. One will be on youth employment and entrepreneurship, after which, participants will discuss the issue of global dignity, and how Rwanda can work with the rest of the world to promote dignity.”

The event will climax with a keynote address by President Paul Kagame as well as a Question and Answer interactive session.

If you are intrested in watching the video you can click here

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

Liquid Telecom reveals 100Mbps FTTH progress

At AfricaCom 2014, which is currently taking place at CTICC in Cape Town, Liquid Telecom unveiled its progress in laying “Fibre To The Home” which it is, according to the company, providing to homes and small businesses with unlimited data packages as well as speeds up to 100Mbps.

According to Liquid Telecom, the service has already gone live in Zambia as well as in Zimbabwe via retail ISP ZOL Zimbabwe, part of the Liquid Telecom Group. Plans are now underway to launch FTTH on a wholesale and retail basis in Kenya, Rwanda and two further countries early next year.

At AfricaCom 2014, Liquid Telecom’s CEO Nic Rudnick revealed that the company is laying more than 100km of new fibre every week. Rudnick revealed that Liquid Telecom’s goal is to deliver “The Real Internet” into Africa by setting the highest possible standards for internet access with the fastest available broadband speeds and widest penetration across the continent.

Rudnick, who was recently named as one of the 100 most influential people in the global telecoms industry, outlined the four requirements needed for FTTH to work in Africa:- International connectivity at a reasonable price – provided by subsea cables.

Terrestrial backbone networks bringing capacity inland – Liquid Telecom has spent more than five years building what is now Africa’s largest fibre network spanning more than 18,000km across borders and connecting to all the subsea cables.

Fibre rings around towns – Liquid Telecom’s fibre network includes fibre rings around the major towns and cities in DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as a regional fibre ring around the whole of East Africa.  The rings enable Liquid Telecom to guarantee uptime as traffic can be rerouted in the event of a fibre cut so that service is not interrupted. Liquid Telecom builds its own fibre branches both within and outside the rings to provide FTTH.

GPON FTTH technology – Liquid Telecom has proved that GPON technology is the most suitable FTTH technology for the African market.

According to Rudnick, Liquid’s FTTH service enables faster links to the Internet, which essentially brings smaller businesses the same speeds as large corporations, as well as enables the use of cloud-based services. Rudnick stated that:

Our FTTH service has made accessing streamed, high-definition media via the Internet a reality for homes and small businesses in some of the remotest parts of Africa.