Uganda, Rwanda sign deal to fight insecurity

Police chiefs from both countries say shared security strategies will facilitate economic activities and development - August 6, 2014

Uganda and Rwanda police have signed a resolution on joint operations to fight cross border insecurity. The resolutions were agreed upon after a meeting on Sunday in Kabale District aimed at forging collective steps against insecurity.

The meeting was attended by Uganda’s police chief Kale Kayihura and Rwanda Commissioner General of Police Emmanuel Gasana. “This meeting is in line with our earlier commitments and the memorandum of understanding we signed last year in Uganda and March this year in Kigali to strengthen security across our common borders which includes sharing best practices, challenges, joint operations, trainings and capacity building,” Gen Kayihura said.

He said they remain conscious that while free movement of goods and services between both countries is healthy, there was need for increased vigilance so that the situation is not exploited by criminal elements to cause insecurity.

The two police chiefs signed a joint communiqué of resolutions. According to the communiqué read by Uganda’s Interpol boss Assan Kasingye, they will carry out joint coordinated operations, community policing across borders, reinforce each other and cooperate against transnational and other organised crimes, joint trainings and address border land conflict in Katojo, Kabale.

Gen Kayihura said shared security strategies remain paramount in facilitating economic activities and development in the two countries.

This was re-echoed by his Rwandan counterpart. “As neighbouring security agencies, we need to come up with a new, common behaviour, approach, have same doctrine in line with the intent of our leaders to ensure peace, security and harmony of both countries,” Mr Gasana said.

Source: The East African

Reforms at Rwanda central bank see 80 lose their jobs

Insiders say the regulator has on several occasions lost out to commercial banks as they poached some of the bank’s best workers - August 6, 2014

The central bank is going through a far reaching reform process after recent losses of money — through fraud — and talent to the private sector.

In March the bank reported its staff stole Rwf63 million from the depositors’ account though it cannot be specific on when the theft was carried out.

The case is before the court but a key suspect is said to be on the run.

In 2007, the bank, which has been running on an obsolete system, lost Rwf46 million through fraud, which led to sentencing of two of the bank’s staff members.

Insiders say the regulator has on several occasions lost out to commercial banks as they poached some of the bank’s best workers.

Its operations also lacked checks and balances making it easy for fraudsters to take advantage.

Now, the overhaul has led to the layoff of about 80 of the bank’s staff, in a process that John Rwangombwa, the regulator’s boss, says is aimed at removing inefficiencies within the bank.

This is in line with the bank’s goal of becoming a world class institution capable of leading the country to economic development.

The restructuring, which some officials at the bank have described as surgical, was recommended by KPMG after it carried out a detailed audit meant to help the bank achieve optimal operations.

Mr Rwangombwa said the reform is aimed at removing redundancies so as to remain with an appropriate staff level that is focused and well remunerated.

The regulator has advertised a number of vacancies for some of its key functions and it hopes to attract the best talent.

“KPMG also advised on salary restructuring. As a regulator we should not lose staff to commercial banks. We want to attract the best skills,” said Mr Rwangombwa in an interview with Rwanda Today.

The governor believes the reforms and the recently acquired automation infrastructure will help the bank close the gaps that fraudsters have taken advantage of in the past.

Other than the bank’s low salary scale, experts cite the institution’s lack of flexibility and room for innovation and creativity as another drawback in its quest to retain skilled workers.

An ex-employee of the bank, who left a few years ago to work in a commercial bank, told Rwanda Today that he doubts the regulator’s capacity to outdo commercial banks in attracting and retaining skilled workers.

Source: The East African

Rwanda pumps in more money to accelerate growth to 6pc

The government is targeting an average economic growth of 11.5 per cent by 2020 to allow it to lift more Rwandans out of poverty - August 6, 2014

The Rwandan government plans to spend Rwf 1.75 trillion ($2.58 billion) in the 2014/15 fiscal year, an increase of Rwf 75.5 billion ($110 million), compared with Rwf1.6 trillion ($ 2.3 billion) of spending in the 2013/14 revised budget as it seeks to address the slowdown experienced in 2013 that saw growth drop to 4.6 per cent from 7.3 per cent in 2012.

The drop was attributed to the poor performance of agriculture and the suspension of budget support in 2012.

Now, the government is banking on a rebound in the service sector, low inflation and better performance of the agriculture sector to drive growth to 6 per cent in 2014 and 6.7 per cent in 2015. Inflation is projected to exceed 5 per cent this year.

Minister for Finance Claver Gatete said the government has put in place a budget monitoring team to follow up on implementation of the projects that are expected to boost growth. “We want to monitor the areas that are making a huge contribution to the GDP to make sure that these things are implemented as agreed. With extra effort we may even get a higher GDP,” Mr Gatete told The EastAfrican.

In its current second Economic and Development Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II), the government is targeting an average economic growth of 11.5 per cent by 2020 to allow it to lift more Rwandans out of poverty. “The economic outlook is generally positive, but there is some concern about the pace of economic pickup.

“Agriculture growth is projected to be stronger in 2014 based on favourable first season harvest,” said Mitra Farahbaksh, the International Monetary Fund resident representative for Rwanda.

Ms Farahbaksh added that the expected catch up in implementation of government investment projects and increase in credit to the private sector should provide a boost to economic growth. “Risks centre around delays in implementation of government financed projects and a weak agricultural harvest,” she said.

Analysts say the key challenge for government will be to maintain this strong growth and low inflation in a highly uncertain global environment. This is in addition to weaker than expected global demand that could negatively affect Rwanda’s exports and higher than expected international food and fuel prices that could add to inflationary pressures.

In particular, Rwanda’s ability to incur additional debt remains vulnerable to a sharp decrease in exports due to the country’s narrow export base or to a decline in foreign aid. Rwanda’s traditional exports including tea, coffee, pyrethrum as well as minerals continued to dominate the sector in 2013, representing 62.1 per cent of total exports against 59.4 per cent in 2012.

This dependence on a few primary commodities remains one of the main challenges for a country seeking to reduce the high external trade deficit and build resilience to external shocks.

For instance, while exports are projected to grow by seven per cent to $751 million from $ 703 million in 2013, the import bill is also expected to rise by 16 per cent to $2147.4 million from the $1148.4 million spent in 2013. As a result, the country’s current account deficit is expected to deteriorate to $803.2 million in 2014 from $537.5 million in 2013.

Priority areas under the EDPRS2 to be funded in the 2014/15 budget include energy, agriculture, exports promotion, urbanisation and rural settlement, employment programmes and skills development including Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), social protection and graduation and promotion of green economy.

This year’s expenditure projections are tied to the emerging priorities grouped under the EDPRS2 thematic areas of economic transformation for rapid growth, rural development, productivity and youth employment creation as well as accountable governance. These thematic areas have been allocated Rwf 915 billion representing 52 per cent of the total budget.

Source: The East African

Rwanda elected to UN Security Council

Rwanda won a seat on the UN Security Council - published October 18, 2012

president Rwanda won a seat on the UN Security Council on Thursday, despite accusations by a United Nations panel that Rwanda’s defence minister commands a rebellion in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda was unopposed in its bid for the African seat on the council that South Africa will vacate at the end of December, but still needed approval from two-thirds of the UN General Assembly members present to secure the two-year term, which starts in 2013. It won 148 votes in the 193-nation assembly. The election of Rwanda was likely to renew questions about the image of the council, as it tries to overcome division and find a way to end the war in Syria.

An unpublished UN experts’ report, leaked to the media this week, accuses Rwanda and Uganda of actively supporting the M23 rebels in eastern Congo. Rwanda and Uganda deny the charges. The M23’s rebellion has caused more than 200,000 villagers in the province of North Kivu to flee their homes this year. Eastern Congo has been engulfed in fighting since the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo rejected the claims in the latest UN report and thanked the assembly for voting it onto the council for the first time since its genocide. “The contrast could not be sharper between that previous tenure — when a genocidal government occupied a prized Security Council seat as its agents waged genocide back home — and the Rwanda of today: a nation of peace, unity, progress and optimism,” she said.

The Democratic Republic of Congo opposed Rwanda’s bid. Eastern Congo’s latest wave of violence flared earlier this year when M23 rebels linked to Gen. Bosco Ntaganda claimed that they weren’t being paid by the Congolese military and that the government had failed to hold up their end of the 2009 peace deal that integrated them into the army. Ntaganda is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Rwanda was welcomed to the council by Britain’s deputy UN representative, Philip Parham, who said it will “bring to the Council the particular perspective of a country that has overcome serious conflict and has done so more successfully than many.” The other nations joining the council in 2013 are Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg and South Korea. Canada was unexpectedly rejected two years ago for a seat on the powerful 15-country council that decides matters of peace and war, sanctions and international justice. Half the 10 non-permanent council members run for rotating seats each year. The remaining five are veto-bearing permanent members: the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China. UN members voted Germany and Portugal into the two seats allocated to the “Western European and others” region, spurning an all-out diplomatic push by Canada. It was the first time in six decades that Canada failed in a bid for a seat on the council.

In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, Mushikiwabo warned countries against cutting off aid to Rwanda because of the UN report. “It would be the biggest mistake that any donor country could make for Rwanda,” she said. “Rwanda is deserving of aid.”

Australia joins after intense lobbying by Prime Minister Julia Gillard during last month’s gathering of world leaders at the UN The bid earned criticism from the Australian opposition, which claimed it was a wasteful distraction. Luxembourg, a founding member of the UN, will join the council for the first time. Luxembourg and Australia beat out Finland for spot. Argentina will be on the council for the eighth time in its history after receiving more votes than any other candidate country. South Korea gained a seat that was also sought by Bhutan and Cambodia. Seoul’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it would use its platform on the council to take a lead role in managing the situation in North Korea.

Mountain Gorilla Twins

Mountain gorilla twins born in Rwanda - published June 3, 2011

president A mountain gorilla in northern Rwanda has given birth to twins, a rare occurrence for an endangered species whose numbers have dwindled to less than 800, officials said Friday. "The two babies, one male and one female, were born May 27," said Rica Rwigamba, head of tourism and conservation at the Rwanda Development Board. "The two new-borns and their mother Ruvumu are well," she said.

It is only the seventh time in the last 40 years that a gorilla has given birth to twins. Twin gorillas were last born in February. Twenty-two baby mountain gorillas will be "baptised" in a name-giving ceremony on June 18 in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park. The twins born in February will be among those baptised but the latest two will only be named at next year's ceremony.

According to a 2010 census, the total number of mountain gorillas has increased by a quarter over the past seven years to reach more than 780 individuals. Two-thirds of them are found in the Virunga chain that straddles Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were brought to the attention of the outside world by the renowned US primatologist, the late Dian Fossey.

The Top 10 African Billionaires

The Forbes 2011 Billionaires List was recently released. Topping this year’s ranking of 1,210 billionaires is Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu. The telecom mogul, who earns 62% of his fortune from America Movil, is now worth US$74 billion and way ahead of his two closest rivals. Bill Gates, No. 2, and Warren Buffett, No. 3, both added a more modest $3 billion to their piles and are now worth $56 billion and $50 billion, respectively.

president A number of African business people also made this year’s list, here are the top 10. Aliko Dangote is Africa's richest man according to Forbes.

1. Aliko Dangote - Nigeria
Net worth: $13.8 billion
Source of wealth: Sugar, flour, cement, inherited and growing

2. Nicky Oppenheimer & family - South Africa
Net worth: $7 billion
Source of wealth: De Beers, inherited

3. Nassef Sawiris - Egypt
Net worth: $5.6 billion
Source of wealth: Construction, inherited and growing

4. Johann Rupert & family - South Africa
Net worth: $4.8 billion
Source of wealth: Luxury goods, inherited and growing

5. Naguib Sawiris - Egypt
Net worth: $3.5 billion
Source of wealth: Telecom, inherited and growing

6. Patrice Motsepe - South Africa
Net worth: $3.3 billion
Source of wealth: Mining, self-made

7. Onsi Sawiris - Egypt
Net worth: $2.9 billion
Source of wealth: Construction, self-made

8. Mohamed Mansour - Egypt
Net worth: $2 billion
Source of wealth: Cotton trading, inherited and growing

9. Mike Adenuga - Nigeria
Net worth: $2 billion
Source of wealth: Banking, self-made

10.Yasseen Mansour - Egypt
Net worth: $1.8 billion
Source of wealth: Diversified, inherited and growing

Rwanda Day 2011

President Kagame's thank you letter to participants of Rwanda Day 2011

president I want to thank you all for a very Rwandaful weekend in Chicago. Your presence, in numbers and in quality, was an irrefutable demonstration that Rwandans are ready to be the agents of continued change needed towards our country's development. I appreciated your words of encouragement, your active participation in our exchange and your sincere concerns directed to sustaining the gains we have made. Indeed, in dignity and unity, Rwandans continue to uphold our identity in every corner of North America, and beyond. I want to thank you for taking charge of Rwanda’s journey.

In today’s Rwanda, there is a momentum and irreversible change of mindset that we cannot afford to waste. The end result of this must be a realization of our full potential, ensuring that our Agaciro becomes complete. To the youth in particular, well represented and vibrant, I have no doubt that your ambition and sound work ethics will carry on the transformation of Rwanda into the nation we know Rwandans deserve. Your determination brings us all pride and reassurance that the future of Rwanda is secure and bright.

Thank you to all the panelists, exhibitors, artists and hard working organizers and volunteers whose tireless work made Rwanda Day a success. I cannot end without thanking the Friends of Rwanda who joined us and added to the meaning of this day.

Rwanda's Football Team

During the month of June 19th-25th, Rwanda's U-17 football team will be playing at the World Cup in Mexico 2011. By being the first team to reach the semi-final of the CAF U-17 Championships, Rwanda made sure of their place at the FIFA U-17 World Cup after just two matches. A 2-1 win over Burkina Faso in the opening game of the tournament was followed up by a 1-0 victory over Egypt. In effect, three goals were enough for a world championship place but if there was any doubt about their credentials, the Rwandan youngsters went all the way to the final. It is with this pleasure, that we ask you to support our team in Pachuca, Mexico. team

Visit to Rwanda 2010

Canada’s Governor General Michaëlle Jean arrives in Rwanda - April 21, 2010

visit KIGALI – The Canada’s Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, last evening arrived in the country for a 3-day State visit.

Jean was received by the Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza, Foreign Affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, the Minister in the President’s office Solina Nyirahabimana and Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Canada, Edda Mukabagwiza. Also present to receive the Governor General was Canada’s High Commissioner to Rwanda, Ross Hynes and the Mayor of Kigali, Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira.

The Haitian-born Governor General is expected to visit Kigali Memorial Centre at Gisozi this morning to pay her respects to the remains of over 250,000 laid to rest before heading to Urugwiro Village where she will hold talks with President Paul Kagame.

Jean, will also participate in interactive sessions with young Rwandans on the Genocide, human rights and reconciliation among other topics. Tomorrow she will visit the National University of Rwanda where she will lay a wreath at the Genocide Monument the University. She will then deliver the opening speech at a discussion on the role of the media in a democracy. The panel is organized by the NUR in co-operation with the Office of the High Commissioner of Canada to Rwanda. The Governor General will also visit Nyamagabe to check on the Programme d’Appui à la Gouvernance locale du Rwanda (PAGOR), a project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) which supports the Rwandan decentralization policy by strengthening local governance in two districts of the Southern Province; Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru. Jean will meet the women and men of Kibirizi and participate in a discussion on the growing participation of women in Rwandan society and the challenges they face.


Rwanda: Canada Backs Country's Commonwealth Bid - November 25, 2009

Kigali — As negotiations to admit Rwanda into the Commonwealth get into the final lap, Canada, one of the most influential member of the grouping, has affirmed its support for Rwanda's bid to join the 53-nations bloc.

"Canada would welcome the admission of Rwanda to the Commonwealth," a spokesperson for Canada's Foreign Affairs Department was quoted by AFP.

"The Commonwealth is well positioned to assist Rwanda in strengthening its democratic institutions," the official added.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is reported to be leading the bid to admit Rwanda to the club during the biennial Commonwealth Heads of States Meeting starting on Friday in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago.

Canada and Australia, both major funders of the Commonwealth, have expressed their support for Rwanda's bid. Other nations backing Rwanda's entry into the Commonwealth include India, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma has also hinted on Rwanda emerging from this weekend's meeting as a Commonwealth member but refused to make a clear prediction.

Rwanda will be admitted on the basis of a positive assessment report submitted by Sharma to the Heads of State Summit mid this year, whose contents are highly guarded, a senior source on the negotiating team revealed. The country has been vying to join the elite group for the last five years for economic reasons worth $2.8 trillion in annual trade. It will join Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony admitted to the Commonwealth 14 years ago, as the only member without a direct British colonial connection.

Set up 60 years ago, the Commonwealth represents two billion people and accounts for a fifth of the world's trade.