by Richard KARUGARAMA Lebero
On 7th April, Rwanda marks 20 years since the 1994 genocide. A lot has been written about Rwanda’s journey and, as is to be expected, much of the commentary is misleading, lacking sufficient understanding of the extent to which Rwanda has been transformed over the last 20 years.
This year’s theme – unite, remember and renew – aptly reminds us to commit ourselves towards ensuring that genocide never happens in any part of the world.
We also have the opportunity to reflect on Rwanda’s transformation and deliberate upon the lessons post conflict countries can draw from its resilience.
The narrative of Rwanda’s past is one of anger and pain. Starting from the colonial period and stretching up to the 1994 genocide,Rwanda was a deeply divided society entrenched with the scourge of ethnic politics and bad leadership.
Although the colonialists did not invent the Hutu and Tutsis ethnic identities (historically the labels existed), colonial intervention changed the meaning, practice and importance attached to these labels.
Following the 1994 genocide, modern Rwanda articulated and implemented a vision of co-existence between Hutus, Tutsis and Twa which emphasizes the virtues of being Rwandan.
The dividends from collective reconciliation and nation rebuilding have resulted in unprecedented social, economic and political transformation.
Rwanda’s rebirth is by all measures remarkable considering that for over five decades it was characterized by systemic governance failures, authoritarian rule, entrenched ethnic tensions, corruption and a spiral of extra judicial killings.
Indeed, the failure of state institutions to galvanise citizens into productive means of labour and the use of government structures as instruments of social disharmony, culminated in the horrors of 1994 and the loss of one million lives.
Twenty years after the genocide Rwanda is experiencing significant improvement in poverty levels, women and youth empowerment, transparency and accountability, democratic governance, respect for the rule of law and a profound mindset shift towards self-reliance.
The depth of reforms and the increasing levels of efficiency are well captured in numerous governance and business surveys conducted periodically by reputable institutions.
On the basis of the reforms, Rwanda ranks favorably across most indicators. For instance, in the 2014 World Bank ‘Doing Business Report’, Rwanda is ranked as the second most improved country in the world and the second easiest place to do business in Africa.
Despite evident improvement in social well being, modern Rwanda regularly witnesses unprecedented attacks – some commentators arguing that economic development has been achieved at the expense of human rights.
Historically, this type of commentary is not unprecedented and is well illustrated by the experience of Singapore – once accused of trading off human rights for economic prosperity.
But Singapore’s journey from third world to first world country demonstrates that the one size fit all approach to democracy and human rights barely makes a dent in the challenge of improving the material state of people’s lives.
As Professor Kishore Mahbubani correctly argues, economic development is the only force with the power to liberate the Third World. In essence, human rights can only be enjoyed when people are liberated from the scourge of hunger, insecurity, disease and poverty.
It is also too simplistic to argue that emerging countries such as Rwanda are advancing economically at the expense of human rights. The premise of this argument overlooks the fact that strides in economic development are intertwined with respect for human rights.
The two are not mutually exclusive as there can be no economic development without the respect and protection of fundamental freedoms.
The philosophical underpinning of human rights is both controversial and ambiguous because protection of fundamental rights means different things in different parts of the world.
The most recent Gallup poll best illustrates this point; it ranks Rwanda as the safest place to live in Africa with 92% of ordinary Rwandans feeling safe and secure. Additionally, the poll shows that among African countries, Rwanda is the safest place for women to flourish.
Even without the Gallup survey, Rwanda’s respect for gender equality is unprecedented – 64% of Rwanda’s parliament is constituted by women (the highest globally). Moreover, the Constitution stipulates that for all leadership positions, women must constitute a minimum of 30%.
The trust and confidence ordinary Rwandans place in state institutions to guarantee security, law and order extends to other important rights such as privacy, life and dignity which are cornerstones of human existence.
It is only through guaranteeing respect for the rule of law and a peaceful environment that people are able to freely exercise their right to dignity, privacy, life and freedom of expression.
Put succinctly, personal liberties do not operate in a vacuum – such rights are meaningless without a certain level of development. Indeed, over the last twenty years, modern Rwanda has strived to lift ordinary people out of poverty because only when people have been liberated from it can they fully enjoy personal liberties.
Source: African Arguments
THE NEW TIMES
by James MUNYANEZA
Photo: President Kagame and Howard Buffett share a light moment during the International Quality of Life Award held at the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday. The New Times/Village Urugwiro
Rwanda values organisations and individuals that do not seek to impose their will but rather align their support with the priorities of the recipient countries, President Kagame has said.
The President was on Tuesday speaking in New York where he delivered a keynote speech on the occasion to honor Howard G. Buffett, an American philanthropist, for his significant contributions to the improvement of the quality of life in developing countries, including Rwanda.
“As we, in Rwanda, look back on our journey of recovery and nation building and as we reflect on the core values of dignity and self-determination that guide our efforts, there are organisations and individuals whose partnership and support stand out. Howard’s is one of them,” he said.
For his work in making significant and lasting contributions to individual, family and community well-being locally and around the world, Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences honoured Howard with the International Quality of Life Award.
Buffett is chair and chief executive of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private charitable foundation working to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalised populations.
Describing him as a unique partner, the President said the IQLA laureate was different from many visitors from foreign governments, academic institutions and NGOs, who arrive in Africa with “preconceived ideas based upon where they come from, what they have heard or read”
Some of these partners, Kagame said, while they often come to the region with good intentions, tend to believe that they understand the situation better than those they seek to help, thereby making the mistake of being overly prescriptive.
“However, Howard [Buffett] has been different. He came to our region with an open mind, ready to listen, learn and share; and not to dictate – and he genuinely used what he learned to inform his actions and investments,” the Head of State told the audience.
“Howard [Buffett] has been a friend to many, including the people of Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region of Africa for more than fifteen years. He has made significant contributions to the improvement of the quality of life that should be recognised and respected,” the President said of the laureate.
In the case of Rwanda, Kagame said, Howard [Buffett] has “sought to understand the country and brought in support and perspective that have helped address our particular challenges.”
Photo: A busy Rwanda-DR Congo border post. The country’s capacity building could grow through leaps and bounds with partners such as Howard Buffett who give unconditionally. The New Times/ File
Approach to partnerships
Sharing Rwanda’s approach to partnerships, President Kagame explained that in order to achieve the country’s national vision and overcome adversity, Rwanda has continued to challenge conventional wisdom.
“Our situation has taught us to value and appreciate people of conviction who have the courage to do the right thing even when it is considered controversial by others. Howard [Buffett] is one of those people,” he added.
President Kagame said when he met Buffett in August, the American philanthropist committed to two things: partnering to modernise and develop DRC-Rwanda border post; and supporting Rwanda’s Strategic Capacity Building Initiative to strengthen government institutions.
In a statement released yesterday, the Howard Buffett Foundation announced a US$3.7 million grant for the Government of Rwanda Strategic Capacity Building Initiative (SCBI).
“Rwanda’s development successes can be attributed to its aid effectiveness and its investments in governments and institutions,” Buffett said.
“If Western donors truly want to support African-led development, and bring an end to Africa’s reliance on outside aid, it’s critical they support important efforts like SCBI.”
President Kagame also lauded the American for his Africa Great Lakes Peace Initiative which seeks to fund specific development projects in eastern DR Congo, with the President saying this “will play a significant part in lasting peace and stability that is sought in the DRC and beyond”
“Howard’s work should serve as an example to those who want to build meaningful partnerships that make an actual difference in the lives of those who need it the most,” the President said of the recipient of the IQLA.
Howard, the eldest son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, also operates a 1,500-acre family farm in central Illinois, and is involved with improving production practices for smallholder farmers in developing countries in Africa and Latin America.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, received a lifetime achievement award. Other notable attendees were UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson and actress Eva Longoria.
Contact email: james.munyaneza[at]newtimes.co.rw
Source: The New Times
THE NEW TIMES by Eric KABEERA, 22. August 2013
Photo: Dr. Kalibata (L) and other officials examine bottles of banana juice during the conference in Kigali yesterday. The New Times/John Mbanda
African countries could face food shortages by 2050 due to a rapidly growing population, agricultural experts have warned.
“Hunger is widespread in Africa and the problem cannot be addressed unless there is partnership between governments and the private sector. This means there is a need to increase the level of education, ensure access to family planning methods and apply research in the agriculture sector,” [Dr Timothy D. Searchinger.]
He was yesterday addressing a meeting of scientists from several continents during a three-day conference on agricultural research and extension in Kigali.
It was organised under the theme; “Confronting challenges of food insecurity and poverty in the era of climate change and variability.”
To avoid food insecurity there is need for more research, education and increase of family planning services, participants said.
The experts called for public-private partnership in population control campaigns and strategies for food security.
Searchinger warned that unless African countries apply various mechanisms like agricultural intensification to double food production, the continent will continue to face food insecurity.
“Africa must primarily produce food for Africans not for export,” he said.
The Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness report released early this year shows that Africa holds almost 50 per cent of the world’s uncultivated land which is suited for growing food crops.
Africa’s harvests is said to routinely yield far less than its potential and, for food crops such as maize the yield gap is as wide as 60 to 80 per cent.
The report further indicates post-harvest losses run 15 to 20 per cent for cereals and are higher for perishable products due to poor storage and other farm infrastructure.
Speaking at the same conference, Dr Agnes Kalibata, the Agriculture minister cited inadequate private investments in agriculture among the challenges that need to be addressed.
She also called for more investments in agricultural technology to help enhance food security.
“What can we do to produce more by using less; it will be done by scientists. The productivity is still low and it’s worrying. However, we need to work closely with other partners, including the private sector, not to leave everything to the government,” [Dr Agnes Kalibata]
She stressed the need to link farmers to markets so as to avoid post-harvest losses.
Dr Gadi Gumisiriza, an expert in plant breeding from Uganda, noted that research and technology has been applied in crop husbandry with positive results and it is thus time to extend it to animal husbandry.
More countries need to invest in domestic animals like cows, goats and sheep and produce quality products for domestic consumption as well as exports, he suggested.
Martin Ngirimana, a farmer from Bugesera District who showcased food crops at the sideline of the conference, also noted that access to market was vital in farming business.
Government allocated Rwf164 billion, worth 10 per cent of the total 2013/2014 Budget, to agricultural sector.
There are only three days left until thousands of Rwandans from all over the world gather together for this year’s
to reaffirm their core national value of Agaciro ( Delivering Prosperity)
For the forth time, after past events held in Brussels, Chicago, Paris and last year in Boston, Rwanda Day brings together Rwandan’s diaspora, friends of Rwanda, culturally interested persons, investors, business men and ladies, short: Numbers of people with different backgrounds to celebrate and illustrate the country’s progress and problems and discuss ways of being part of Rwanda’s social-economic transformation.
An interactive panel with young professionals and entrepreneurs from Rwanda and abroad will discuss the country’s development goals, business environment and opportunities available for those wanting to be part of a country on the move.
An exhibition featuring Rwandan banks and real estate businesses will provide the chance for Rwandans living abroad to learn about financial services, including sending back remittances, and investing in the property market. A selection of companies showcasing Rwandan products will also attend.
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame is the Guest of Honor and will participate in an open interactive question and answer session with attendees.
The registrations will only end in two days:
President Kagame Rwanda Day Boston 2012
By J Boima Rogers, Oxford, UK.
A recent report stated that seven African countries were projected to be among the top ten fastest growing economies in the world in 2013. This is an impressive record that the continent should be proud of but it fails to highlight some important issues. Firstly, African countries have exhibited the highest variation in economic growth rates, so while 2013 may be a good year, some of those countries may well record minimal or even negative growth rates in 2014. Secondly, these growth rates are fuelled by the demand for raw materials, as China and some other fast growing economies pick up from the recession.
African countries continue to remain at the lowest level in the food chain where variability is high and their take of finished products is miniscule. Africa has lost market share in world trade, from 6% of world trade in 1980 to its current share of only 3%. In order for these countries to minimize variability, move up the food chain, improve their market share and bargaining positions in trade and ensure that economic growth filters through the various parts of their communities, the continent needs to build and expand its infrastructure. This should include the physical, educational, governance and regional infrastructure. The continent possesses considerable natural resources that can be used in its infrastructure, the measures required are not insurmountable and indeed some are quite basic. Africa’s trading partners, aid donors and non-government organisations must play a role in this process. African leaders must realise that improving the infrastructure will attract investment, generate economic growth and political stability and secure their positions.
An anecdote highlights the importance of the infrastructure. In response to recent accusations of military aggression in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Rwandan government stated that the problem in Congo was the lack of basic infrastructure which caused its people to revolt against its leaders. It is bizarre that Rwanda, a country that has only 1% of the area and 15% of the population of Congo should be an aggressor. Congo with an abundance of minerals and huge agricultural potential is in such a sorry state that it can be threatened by its much smaller neighbour. A tiny country with minimal natural resources which has made great strides in developing its infrastructure is being accused of aggression by a huge country teeming with natural resources because the bigger country’s infrastructure is largely non-existent.
The only way that the continent can attract and maintain investment is by building and maintaining its physical infrastructure, namely, ports, rail and road networks, airports, power supplies and telecommunication. An analysis of the situation reveals the challenges facing the continent.
A review of ports, the gateways where the bulk of imports and exports pass into and out of the continent shows that much work needs to be done. The dwell times, that is average waiting times for ships is four days for European ports and berth productivity is 25 moves per hour compared to four days and 40 moves for African ports. High dwell times result in high congestion levels and make African ports less competitive. Customs delays for the continent are three and a half times what they are in Europe. The time spent in ports as a percentage of total transport time in Africa is four times that of East Asian ports. African ports have failed to invest in new equipment, notably, on equipment to handle large ships and in container facilities, consequently only small ships can call in many ports and many cannot handle containerized cargos, a fast growing mode of transportation. The continent also has some of the highest insurance charges. These conditions make African ports significantly more expensive for shippers, discourage ships from using them and for many ports because only small vessels can be handled they miss out on the efficiencies that large ships can bring, ultimately, incurring higher shipping costs.
Roads and railways are the arteries in the economy. Farm to market roads are crucial in agricultural development. National road and railway networks are essential in moving goods and people within countries, between and outside the region. Roads which carry between 80-90% of freight and passengers within Africa are in a poor state and inadequate for the needs of the continent making transportation less efficient compared to other regions. A recent World Bank study revealed that rural Sub-Saharan Africa has only 34% of access (lands covered by roads) as compared to 90% in the rest of the world. The study found out that the average paved road density for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa was only a third that of the average for low-middle income countries as a whole. The poor state of roads, particularly secondary ones and the numerous check points on all roads increase the time it takes to travel and transport goods significantly. This is a major impediment to trade and development, with wastage of farm produce on the continent accounting for up to fifty percent of output.
The density of rail networks in Africa per land is lower than in other low income countries. A high proportion of them are very old, up to a hundred years, with low maintenance, in some cases tracks have deteriorated to a point of no return and some have gone out of service. The lack of repair and upgrade means they cannot compete against modern road networks. Railroads according to a recent report tend to have “low axle loads, low speeds, small scale, undercapitalized, and ill-suited to modern requirements”. Most of them are single tracks and are not electrified, with South Africa alone accounting for virtually all the electrified rail network. Africa has largely ignored this mode of transport that could play an important role in its transport network by giving businesses and passengers choice, removing transport bottlenecks and being an alternative cost effective transport mode if properly maintained and upgraded.
In comparison with countries of similar per capita income African countries are underendowed with airports, runways and passenger and freight terminals. The number of paved runways longer than 1,500 meters is 20% less (as a share of land area) than other low income countries. Many of the runways are unpaved. A study by Bofinger in 2009 found that twenty five percent of airports are in poor condition. Airport efficiencies, in terms of processing passengers and cargo are low and many airlines servicing those airports have poor safety records. The state of the aviation industry on the continent is a severe impediment in attracting business travelers, tourists and the development of air cargo.
With 3.1% of world power generation, Africa has the lowest electrification in the world. The Economic Commission for Africa reported that only 23% of the continent’s population has access to electricity, with unreliable supply, power rationing and unscheduled cuts. Installed capacity is equal to what China installs every two years. Installed capacity at 153 kilowatt-hour (kWh) per capita, excluding North Africa and South Africa, was only 6% of the global average in 2009. If we include North Africa and South Africa, per capita electricity consumption increases to only 23% of the global average. The average effective electricity tariff in Africa is US $0.14 per kWh, three and a half times the tariff in South Asia and double that for East Asia. Tariff rates would be even higher without subsidies by African countries of US $0.04 per kWh. The situation is really bizarre with some countries endowed with vast power resources having very low installed capacity and consumption per capita. The power generation industry in Africa is dominated by costly small-scale power systems. Subsidies for electricity have discouraged investments needed to expand capacity. The deficiencies in power supply are a major impediment in attracting investment into the continent. In a World Bank survey of 55 countries, 67 percent of firms cited electricity as a business constraint.
Telecommunications and ICT are important for competitiveness and productivity. While there have been significant improvements on the continent in mobile phone usage, the region lags behind other regions in terms of the number of fixed lines, internet usage and broad band installation.
CT Indicators in 2012 (Millions)
Individual Internet connections
Source: International Telecom Union
The area where African countries have lagged behind very significantly is in fixed lines and fixed lines with broadband. Fixed lines are still the dominant and cheapest telephone system for businesses and the lack of this infrastructure is a serious impediment to business. African countries are not yet making full use of e-commerce systems. The limited use of information technology is due to inadequate, inefficient and very expensive telecommunications services; the inadequate development of fixed lines which is required by businesses providing such services is a major factor.
The educational and governance infrastructure
A major constraint to economic development on the continent is the poor state of the educational infrastructure. While great strides have been made in basic primary education, the continent is failing to set up and maintain educational systems that are conducive to economic growth, notably, in training a pool of workers proficient in maths, science and technical skills. The lack of trained technical staff and the high cost of services discourage investors who often have to bring in low level staff for many technical jobs. This is happening despite a mushrooming of universities in many countries.
The governance infrastructure is a major deterrent to investment. A clearly defined, consistent and transparent policy and legal framework and efficient civil service with minimal corruption are essential requirements for nurturing and attracting investment. Investors require clear and consistent regulations on property rights, taxation, labour and technical standards. While a lot of progress has been made since the 1990s in the democratic process, with many countries holding elections and attempts made to improve legal systems and reduce bloated civil service and corruption, usually under pressure from aid donors, it is still work in progress. High and in some cases endemic corruption, opaque and burdensome bureaucratic processes, unresponsive and inefficient bureaucracies and lack of clearly defined policies are still a major deterrent to investment in many countries.
It must be noted though that governance is not identical to democracy and many countries have attracted investments without going through the full democratic process. Some leaders who have presided over major developments in the infrastructure of their countries but would hardly be described as blue blooded democrats include Houphat Boigny in the Ivory Coast, William Tubman in Liberia, Jerry Rawlins in Ghana, Jomo Kenyata in Kenya and Paul Kagame in Rwanda. Indeed “democracy” as practiced in some cases has hindered investment in the infrastructure, in particular, it has increased the cost of governance to prohibitively high levels with little funds left for investment in the physical infrastructure. Kenyan parliamentarians have recently decided to get rid of the independent organisation that reduced their extremely generous salaries and perks and, have vowed to reinstate these extremely generous salaries and perks, which will mean fewer funds for investment in the physical infrastructure.
An International Finance Corporation report showing the ease of doing business in a country paints a grim picture, with most African countries languishing at the bottom of rankings. The indicators used include: starting business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; registering property; getting credit; protecting investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Only three countries, Mauritius, South Africa and Tunisia are in the top fifty ranking.
The development of regional organisations and investment projects on the continent will improve the physical and market infrastructure significantly. It allows countries to pool resources to invest in infrastructure projects, create larger markets by giving preferential access, standardizes rules and disseminates market intelligence. This attracts foreign investors to countries involved that would otherwise not be keen to enter relatively small markets and allows for efficiencies and reduced unit cost for electricity, transportation, port charges, telecommunication services, water and goods produced. The problem is that regional groupings have often been political in origin not based on economic prospects but rather the “bandwagon effect”. Many countries are members of several groupings with conflicting policies in treatment of third countries and sometimes different regulations and technical standards governing the import of the same commodity from different sources. Overlapping memberships in the different regional groupings – and hence overlapping commitments – have resulted in duplication of effort and occasionally inconsistent aims. The result is that they have not created the necessary market or physical infrastructure
Policy Implications for Stakeholders
The infrastructure is the linchpin for development and Africa has huge untapped potential for its physical infrastructure. There is much room for improvements in its educational and governance infrastructure. There are huge benefits to be gained from regional cooperation. All stakeholders must make a concerted effort, including national governments, regional groups, donor countries, multilateral and aid organisations. Measures required are not unduly expensive and with modest investments there can be very high returns. The continent has vast quantities of oil and gas deposits and immense hydro and solar potential. It has been reported that the the hydro potential of the Democratic Republic of Congo alone is sufficient to provide three times as much power as Africa presently consumes. A recent study revealed that upgrading the road network would expand overland trade across the continent by about $250 billion over 15 years, requiring an investment of $20 billion for initial upgrading and $1 billion annually for maintenance. Indeed the situation is rather perverse; some countries with huge potentials making little use of what they have. Congo and Nigeria with substantial natural power resources have some of the lowest electricity generation. Gabon a major oil producer has one of the highest electricity tariffs. Nigeria in particular, is a sad case, largely the result of its political elite. This is the continent’s natural giant, with huge oil production that it has been pumping for over sixty years and huge hydro electric potential yet it still has one of the lowest per capita electricity consumption in the world at 121 kWh and availability of less than 5 hours per day.
African governments need to ensure that they implement appropriate policies and create and maintain the relevant governance infrastructure. This means having qualified policy making teams to devise appropriate policies and prepare and implement action plans and monitoring systems. Ministers and civil servants need to do the jobs and give the time that they are paid for. Monitoring systems should include mystery shopping in which teams are sent out to actually find out the ease and difficulties ordinary people and businesses face.
The aim should be to deliver credible and efficient services and minimize corruption. Targets must be set for the delivery of services, for example applications for visas, passports, construction permits, licenses and other documentations must have time limits within which they must be processed. Airports and harbours must have time limits when people and goods must be processed. Bottlenecks and issues must be addressed promptly. Governments must continue privatization programmes and where appropriate consider joint venture projects in roads, airports, telecommunications, harbours, water supply and other infrastructure projects. In such ventures or if such projects are fully privatized, the user pay principle will encourage investment and ensure proper maintenance. Governments must phase out subsidies to encourage investment, this is particularly the case with electricity where subsidies have not only deterred investments but tend to disproportionately accrue to sections of society that can and should pay for such services. Measures to ameliorate conditions for the poor must be carefully targeted to ensure that they really go to specific and/or poor households. In cases where infrastructure projects are privatized, measures must be in place to penalize companies if they do not perform according to the specified terms of reference.
In building the human infrastructure, with very scarce resources, governments need to priorities their education budgets. This means a shift away from the arts to maths, science and technical subjects at all levels but particularly at post primary school level. This does not mean that these arts subjects cannot be studied but students pursuing them must score very high grades to obtain state funding or pay for the privilege. Foreign investors and aid organisations must also assist in developing the human infrastructure. They should be given reasonable tax incentives to train staff and after a certain period punitive tax and other measures must be implemented if they have not trained and/or engaged local staff.
African governments need to do a lot more to implement regional infrastructure projects and develop and expand regional markets. The benefits are substantial if these regional cooperation projects focus on real economic issues and standards and rules are consistent. A recent report reveals that cross-regional collaboration could reduce electricity costs in Africa by US $2 billion per year.
Foreign donors, multilateral organisations and NGOs have a part to play in building the continent’s infrastructure. They should give high priority to infrastructure projects, either on a government-to-government basis or encourage private companies to invest on the continent through taxation and/or subsidies. They should make use of nationals (including the diaspora), African companies and NGOs in projects. The current debate over President Obama’s proposal that half of US food aid should be sourced from suppliers within or around countries where it is used demonstrates the difficulties that these partners face. Aid is often seen as an opportunity for producers and companies in the donor country whereas the long term goal must be for aid to improve markets and the infrastructure of recipient countries which in the long run will minimise the need for such aid.
The challenges facing the continent are not insurmountable but they require vision, leadership, planning and tenacity. Leaders must earn the right to govern which means developing and maintaining the infrastructure that will grow their economies and improve the lives of citizens. In a democratic setting they need to deliver to win the votes and admiration of their people. African leaders could take a leaf from Singapore and Malaysia, countries where the same parties have ruled for decades largely because they have built first class infrastructure that have resulted in very strong economic growth rates.
J Boima Rogers, M Sc Marketing
Project Manager, Events, Marketing and Media Management
Boima has been involved with the media for over twenty five years, writing for various publications and websites including Agra Europe, West Africa, Fresh Produce Journal, logafrica.com and local press in Bournemouth and Oxford. He was European correspondent for ProFarmer America. Boima has worked on several events, initially in marketing and PR, eventually as project manager for two large events, Winton carnival 2006 and Bournemouth World Food and Music Festival. Other events that he has worked for include Cowley Road carnival, Oxford, The Water Festival, Oxford, The Boscombe Arts Festival, Bournemouth, The Bournemouth Literary Festival
Photo: President Kagame: Rwanda president and chairman of the EAC summit. (www.businessdailyafrica.com)
Rwanda expects two companies, Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR) and the airline RwandAir, to list on the country’s fledgling stock market soon, the head of Rwanda’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) said
Robert Mathu, executive director of the CMA, said he expected an initial public offering for BCR, in which the Kigali government holds a 20 percent stake, this year or in 2014.
Other companies, including insurance firm Sonarwa, Fina Bank and the local unit of South Africa’s telecommunication company, MTN, were all potentials for listing, he said.
“BCR is the one that’s certainly close. We also expect RwandAir to come to the market soon,” Mathu told Reuters late on Friday.
Rwanda, a landlocked country of some 11 million people, listed its first two Rwandan companies, brewer Bralirwa and the country’s biggest bank by assets, Bank of Kigali , in 2011. Both offerings were heavily oversubscribed, attributed to their cheap valuations and Rwanda’s sound economic fundamentals.
Kenya Commercial Bank, the region’s biggest bank by assets, and leading media firm Nation Media Group have cross-listed on the Rwanda Stock Exchange.
Foreign investors still see the country as a good bet. Rwanda’s debut $400 million Eurobond was sold last month at a yield of 6.875 percent in an over-subscribed sale.
President Kagame Keynote Address at Emergent Markets Forum- Miami, 7 March 2013
For many African countries money for development comes from their own resources or from international aid donors.
Rwanda has taken a different route. This week, it went to the international financial markets to raise funds and it was an unmitigated success.
Rwanda launched a $400m (£260m) 10-year bond sale which was heavily oversubscribed, attracting investor offers of more than $3bn.
The bond issue will enable Rwanda to repay government loans, complete a conference centre in the capital, Kigali, and finance a hydro-electric power project which – if everything works to plan – should enable the country to reduce its energy imports.
To find out more, BBC Africa’s Komla Dumor spoke to the governor of the Central Bank of Rwanda, John Rwangombwa.
Rwanda’s economy is expected to grow faster than initial projections for 2012, the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) Governor, Claver Gatete, has said.
Photo: Steve Terrill (file photo)
Gatete said although recent donor aid cuts cannot go unnoticed; they are not potent enough damage the healthy Rwandan economy.
“We are going to maintain our macroeconomic regulations to ensure that the Rwandan economy continues to flourish and attract more investments,” he said.
The BNR is basing its optimism on current positive trends in some sectors of the economy, especially in the financial sector which is mainly dominated by the banking industry, and continuing private foreign capital inflows.
Gatete explained that even as donors withheld aid, private foreign capital continued to flow into Rwanda.
“Since a lot of capital has been coming into the country even during the hard global economic crisis, this is what will yield the expected high growth,” he said.
Clare Akamanzi, the Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the institution charged with speeding up investments in the country, says Rwanda may register over US$1billion in investments this year surpassing the initial target of around US$800 million.
Last year, investments registered hit US$626 million.
Over the same period, Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 9.4% beating the initial projection of less than 9%. The growth was mainly fueled by good performance in all sectors coupled with low inflation.
While inflation in some neighboring economies went as high as 30%, Rwanda managed to maintain it at 8.3% by December 2011, which was the lowest in the five member bloc of the East African Community (EAC) bringing together Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi.
The reason for increased investments this time–both domestic and foreign–is the stable economic growth and business environment. Rwanda makes it easier to start a business, pay taxes and register property which helps to attract more investors.
Rwanda also has attractive investment opportunities in various sectors with energy especially in electricity generation, construction especially commercial and residential houses and agro processing topping the list. Others include financial sector mainly investment banking, Information Technology Communications (ICTs) especially software development and skills development especially in higher learning education.
The central bank says the increase in investments has resulted in increased imports mainly of capital goods and resulted in a 4% depreciation of the Rwandan Franc against the US dollar. But the Central bank says the depreciation is not “alarming”.
The banking industry, according to the regulator, BNR, continues to register increases in the amount of loans to the businesses which are further assurance that the economy is expanding with high demand for of capital.
BNR statistics indicate that the total loans this year have increased to Rwf839.574billion from Rwf631.267billion by end of December in 2011, representing an increase of about 32%. Banks have even exceeded the highest loan to deposit ratio which, at 94%, stands slightly above the standard measure of 80%.
The increase in loans, says Anand Sanjeev, the Managing Director of Banque Commerciale du Rwanda (BCR) which was recently bought by Kenya’s I&M Bank, is attributed to low lending rates which are currently between 15.9% and 17%, according to the latest BNR statistics.
Sanjeev says that commercial banks are increasingly lending to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which comprise over 80% of the taxpayers in Rwanda, and are considered the next movers of the economy.
Gatete said the central bank will propose to the government to limit public spending and prioritise its expenditures.
“Government spending now is what we will have to deal with in order to ensure that it is done within the limits of available funds while long term solutions are being pushed to politically to ease the case.”
Gatete says the fine performance of the financial sector may help prop-up growth in the entire economy which is largely dependent on the agriculture sector.
“Judging from what we have witnessed in the financial sector in the recent three quarters, there is more enthusiasm that the little money that donor countries have delayed to disburse will not deter our country’s growth,” Gatete said recently during a press conference in Kigali.
Many western donors have suspended aid to Kigali following allegations that the Rwandan government was backing Congolese rebel group M23.
The EU, Germany, Sweden and Holland have all delayed aid disbursements to Rwanda, increasing fears that a deficit in the development budget may hinder growth which was projected at 7.7% this year.
Belgium also recently suspended military aid and the U.S government froze US$200,000 meant to support the newly opened senior army officers’ college.
However, UK government which had equally suspended its aid to Rwanda later unfroze part of it and recently opened a debate on whether the remaining portion should be released.
Source: MATTHEW RWAHIGI, 12 DECEMBER 2012, The Independent (Kampala)
Photo: President Kagame with members of the YPO after their meeting yesterday The New Times / Village Urugwiro
The Young Presidents’ Organisation (YPO) – Rwanda Action Forum (RAF) has set up a new group “Doing Business in Rwanda Network” that will focus on attracting foreign direct investment into the country.
Denis Overton, Managing Director of Aquascot who headed the 17- member YPO delegation, made the remarks, yesterday, while speaking to journalists shortly after meeting President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro.
Aquascot is a Sotland based sea food company.
The group is in the country to learn more about the country’s vision and progress as well as to follow up on projects set up during their previous visits.
“Today we are able to launch the next development in the life of the forum doing business in Rwanda network within YPO, which marks a change to greater emphasis on foreign direct investment coming to the country,” Overton said.
“The business network will allow us to connect with some of our 20,000 members within YPO who are very interested in the straight forward business development activities.”
YPO is a global network that connects 20,000 chief executives of leading companies generating $6 trillion and employing more than 15 million people in 120 countries.
Overton noted that RAF focuses on economic development by connecting members from around the world with business opportunities in the country.
“We are exploring new areas of investment and, it’s very important for potential investors within our network to know and understand Rwanda, its people and particularly perhaps entrepreneurs.”
The group that comprised of members from Australia, Scotland, USA, South Africa, India, Israel, Czech Republic and Rwanda visited the Head of State to update him on their various initiatives and to develop further cooperation with Rwanda.
“YPO-Rwanda Action Forum currently focuses on agriculture, ICT, education among others. We have achieved a lot since the inception of Rwanda chapter five years ago,” Emery Rubagenga Chapter Chair YPO-Rwanda said.
The YPO-Rwanda Chapter has 30 members.
The global forum activities started in Rwanda in 2008 when the first group of 12 members from the global organization visited the country as part of an economic development network’s exploratory mission to Africa.
YPO was founded in 1950 by manufacturer Ray Hickok ,who, at the age of 27, inherited his family’s 300-employee company in New York. He and other young presidents began meeting regularly as a way to become better leaders by learning from each other. This founding principle still guides the organization today.
YPO members are required to “graduate” from the organisation at age 50, with many joining World Presidents’ Organisation, or WPO, a group founded in 1970 by 200 former YPO members to sustain their YPO experience. Originally, called World Business Council, the group changed its name to World Presidents’ Organisation in 1991 to reflect its rapid growth in membership and global reach.
Source: Frank Kanyesigye, 16.11.12, the New Times
Written by: Lillian Nakayima, 8 May 2011
Rusizi/Nyamasheke — The Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, has called upon the population to register their land as part of ongoing agricultural reforms based on the new land policy.
Kamanzi said the registration process should at least be 50 percent complete by the end of June this year.
He made the remarks during his visit to Nyamasheke and Rusizi districts, where he addressed residents on environmental protection and land conservation issues.
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