Category Archives: Rwanda Education

Rwanda’s Stock Exchange Market Is Promising

THE RWANDA Stock Exchange’s (RSE) central depository was recently inter-linked with other regional stock markets’ depositories; a move many sector players say will boost activity at the local stock market. In fact the switch was long overdue considering that three out of the five companies trading on the local stock market are cross-listed.

The development therefore gives them more opportunities to transact business compared to the previous situation, when they could spend months without trading a single share. It will now be easy to transfer shares across the Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania stock exchange markets. According to RSE officials, transactions involving regional firms will now take less than two hours compared to over three months previously. Things can only get better.

However, this development should not be seen as the magic bullet that will solve the challenge of low volumes at the local market, or why companies are reluctant to list on it. The RSE issues need new approaches and innovation so that more investors, especially Rwandans, can get involved and invest in shares of different companies listed on the stock market.

Remember, the majority of would-be investors do not understand how the stock market operates. This, therefore, calls for massive sensitisation drives to educate the public, especially business people, the benefits of investing in shares. Last year, when the Capital Markets Authority officials were appearing before Parliament they said they would start massive sensitisation campaigns, but nothing seems to be taking place.

Also, CMA had said they were working with local authorities to start issuing Municipal Bonds by end of last year; the public is still waiting. If this initiative kicks off, it would do a lot in creating awareness as more people get involved.

New Houses for 1,500 Elderly Genocide Widows

About twenty years after the tragedy of 1994, about 1,500 elderly genocide survivors from around the country are still either homeless or living in poor, unsatisfactory conditions. The government, through the Genocide survivors fund (FARG), says it is ready to build houses for the homeless and to rehabilitate those which are in critical conditions.

The program groups elders together, in order to facilitate their supervision regarding their living conditions, their health, and their assistance in general for a better, less lonely living style.

In order to make this feasible, Theophile Ruberangeyo, the executive secretary of FARG, says they are thinking of constructing and rehabilitating shared, group.

“These elders suffer from loneliness and lack of care, but if they are somehow together, they will interact each other and it is very easy to be aware of their neighbors’ problems”, he said. Apart from being old aged, some of these widows have other health problems like disabilities, and these should also get special care.

Local leaders, through a video-conference last week, expressed worries that the given budget is not enough to make sure that the houses are sustainable.

For instance, 944 houses slated for rehabilitation were allocated Frw 300 million, a small amount for so many houses. However, Ruberangeyo assured that there is a plan to have the budget increased in the upcoming budget revision.

Gisagara experience

Some districts, like Gisagara, have already adopted the plan. Leandre Karekezi, the mayor of Gisagara district, says that once the elders were living close to one another, it was easy to protect and care for them.

“There even some activities that they can do if they are together. They feel somehow not alone as they could feel if everyone is in his or her own house”, he said.

Inkeragutabara will build the houses, and most of districts have already signed contracts with them. Districts that have not yet signed contracts are requested to do it as soon as possible in order to have all activities starting in all districts.

James Musoni, the Minister of Local Government, appreciated the initiative, arguing that it will help in making sure that these elders are well assisted. He suggested that there be a social worker hired to supervise these elders, providing services like counseling, among others.

According to suggestions from local leaders, each house will accommodate four or five widows. The Minister requested that the FARG establish an overall design of these houses in order to start the construction.

Rwanda to benefit with a state of the art sports Academy

StarAfrica

Copyright : StarAfrica

 

A Turkish construction firm-Babil Group of Companies, is set to start a football academy in Rwanda.

The Academy is meant to  help nurture a generation of talented players. According to Mustafa Cem, who is  the company’s head of international development, he wants to  nurture a young and exciting generation of football stars, who have the right exposure to the soccer world . “Because of my love and passion for the game,he added, I have decided to set up an academy because I don’t want  to see the  youth being idle. By setting such an Academy, would make a huge impact as far as development of Rwandan football is concerned.”

He said his main desire  is  to see Rwandan players among top cream on the African continent adding that he believes Rwanda is capable of producing top-level footballers.

He added that their target is to play a part in the development of Rwandan football and sports in general.

Recently, Babil Group of Companies and Rwanda Football Federation reached an agreement to sponsor the inaugural Super Cup.

The inaugural Super Cup match will pit Primus league champions Rayon Sports and Peace Cup winners AS Kigali on September 1 at Amahoro national stadium in Kigali.

Fitch Lifts Outlook on Rwanda on Economic Growth

Fitch Ratings revised Rwanda’s Outlook to ‘Positive’ from ‘Stable’ while simultaneously affirming Rwanda’s long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘B’ and short-term foreign currency IDR at ‘B’. Fitch has also affirmed Rwanda’s Country Ceiling at ‘B’.

According to Fitch ratings, the revision of the outlook from stable to positive reflects continuing rapid and inclusive GDP growth in the future, high governance standards relative to regional peers, marked improvements in poverty reduction that attracted high levels of international support, and low public and external debt.

A sovereign rating indicates the rating agency’s opinion of a country’s credit worthiness, or in other words ability and willingness to meet its financial obligations in timely manner. Credit ratings, as opinions on vulnerability to default, do not necessarily imply a specific likelihood of a country’s defaulting on its payment.

This year’s rating is the fourth following the first in 2006, the second in 2010 and the third in 2011. At ‘B’, Rwanda’s rating is within the range of regional countries. A ‘Positive” outlook may imply to a certain extent possibility of rating upgrade provided continued positive trends in factors that triggered the upgrade in the outlook.

Rwanda readies debut Eurobond

Rwanda’s debut in the Eurobond market will offer investors the rare opportunity to buy into one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa – but don’t expect the country to get carried away.

The sub-benchmark size of the trade, combined with the country’s strong dependence on foreign aid and volatile sectors of the economy, will see some buyers take a step back and demand a reasonable premium to get involved.

The East African sovereign, rated B/B, will wrap up investor meetings for its planned US$400m 10-year bond sale next Wednesday, after conducting a one-week roadshow in Asia, Europe and the US through BNP Paribas and Citigroup.

The last Eurobond issue from the continent, Zambia’s 5.375% US$750m 10-year note offering, generated an order book of US$12bn when it was issued in September, pricing through the curves of the country’s regional peers.

While Rwanda is unlikely to replicate that success, a shortage of African paper in the market will generate strong interest among yield-starved investors.

Despite a US$50m increase from the originally targeted US$350m, Rwanda’s transaction will fall short of the US$500m minimum required for inclusion in global emerging market indices, reducing the notes’ potential buyer base and limiting their liquidity in the secondary market.

“The sub-benchmark size is a problem because it means there is no automatic demand from index followers,” said Graham Stock, chief strategist at Insparo Asset Management. “It is a market distortion created by the importance of the index, but it can’t be ignored.”

Borrowing more for the sole purpose of joining the index league, however, would make little sense for a country with annual GDP of US$6.4bn. “It would be risky for the government of a small economy to borrow more than it needs and thereby increase debt service costs and refinancing risks just to qualify for the benchmark,” said Stock.

While Rwanda’s growth story is compelling – real GDP growth averaged 7.4% between 2003 and 2011 – the country relies on foreign aid to finance almost 40% of its budget. Subsistence agriculture accounts for one-third of annual GDP, employing 73% of the labour force.

Eyeing a 7% yield

In light of these challenges, a syndicate official away from the deal reckons investors are likely to demand a yield of around 7% to buy the new notes. “I see a definite floor of 6%, on top of which you need to add a new issue premium and [an additional concession for] non-index eligibility,” said the banker.

“I think the premium for the size will be significant. A pricing [of] circa 7% is not far-fetched,” said a London-based portfolio manager who specialises in African markets.

He suggested, however, that the rarity value of the name could push the yield even lower. “I would go tighter, between 6.5% and 6.75%, mainly because of the appetite for Eurobonds from the region and current yield levels for SSA names,” he added.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to repay outstanding loans and finance the completion of the Kigali Convention Centre and the Nyabarongo hydro power plant.

Microsoft 4afrika Initiative Launches Its Activities in Rwanda

Kigali — Today, Microsoft launched its 4Afrika initiative in Rwanda. The continental initiative was set up by Microsoft to actively engage in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness.

According to Microsoft, the goal of the 4Afrika initiative in Rwanda is to disseminate affordable smart devices built specifically for Africa which will encourage application development by Africans for Africans.

The initiative will also run an education platform aimed to develop technical and entrepreneurship skills as a means to improve employability especially for young people.

According to Patrick Nyirishema, Head of ICT Department in Rwanda Development Board, the Government of Rwanda has identified two lead programs for possible collaboration with Microsoft within the 4Afrika initiative.

There is Viziyo program which is designed to increase citizen-access to smart phones and the Smart Village program built on the concept of replicating digitised model villages across the nation as a means to achieve Rwanda’s goal to become an ICT driven economy.

Speaking at the launch of this initiative, the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana indicated that tremendous opportunities abound in Rwanda’s ICT industry.

“Technology is now becoming a driving force behind numerous aspects of national development and we cannot afford to be left behind. I believe a lot can be achieved through collaboration, consultation, and smart private-public partnership.

We welcome Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative and we know that they are committed to developing innovative ways using the power of technology to help transform social and economic progress in Rwanda,” he concluded.

Rwanda: Awareness Campaign Lowers New HIV Infections

Several HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns by the government and other stakeholders have recorded significant improvement in the reduction of new HIV infections in the country.

Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Coordinator of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Care and Treatment Department at Rwanda Biomedical Centre, who disclosed this at a meeting in Kigali on Wednesday, said the campaigns have been effective that the rate of new infections has gone down compared to the previous years meaning that more Rwandans are aware of the dangers of HIV/Aids.

“The rate of new infections was at 25,000 people every year in Rwanda five years ago, but now it has gone down. We have laid a number of strategies to increase awareness and other protective measures against new HIV infections so we are positive that this rate will go down further,” Dr Nsanzimana said. Every hour, two people get infected with HIV in Rwanda, according to Dr Nsanzimana. This is equivalent to 15,000 new HIV Infections every year, according to the doctor, who called upon those already infected to adhere to the instructions of their anti-retroviral treatment.

Functional HIV cure:

An infant was reportedly cured of HIV as announced recently at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta, while French researchers published in the journal PLOS Pathogens that they had been studying 14 people that have been “functionally cured” of HIV.

But Professor Andrew Zolopa, from Stanford University School of Medicine, said those people who got cured had started on their ARVs at least a month after infection and so they started treatment early enough.

Rwanda Gets U.S $50 Million for Poverty Fight

Kigali — The World bank has approved a grant of $50m aimed at bolstering Rwanda’s poverty eradication efforts.

It fund will also see Rwandans cushioned from the full impact of shocks, from unemployment or illness to sudden natural disasters.Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda said that while Rwanda has pushed back poverty dramatically in the past decade, it is still one of the world’s poorest countries.

“We are happy to continue supporting Rwanda’s efforts to manage its social safety net programs more efficiently, so that poor people can withstand economic and climatic shocks better and benefit more from economic growth,” she said

Rwanda has recently seen a record decline in poverty, from 57 percent in 2006 to 45% in 2011. The government has partly attributed this success to its social safety net programs.

Rwf500 Million Earmarked to Promote Arts Countrywide

The Workforce Development Authority (WDA) has earmarked Rwf500m to promote and professionalise art in the country.

Jerome Gasana, the WDA director-general, revealed this at a symposium on arts and craft organised by the Authority and the Rwanda Arts Initiative.

It drew artists, teachers, government and private institutions to discuss the way forward to develop arts and craft.

According to the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Mathias Harebamungu, the first step is to expand the arts school of Nyundo (Ecole d’Arts de Nyundo) in Rubavu district, Western Province, to train more students.

The school will later have branches countrywide to nurture talent.

“Artists can’t be professionals unless they sacrifice and put more effort. The appealing arts products should market artists and the country,” said Harebamungu.

WDA has toured the country to meet talented people and gather their views on what can be done to equip them with skills to generate income like other paying professions.

The Education Ministry has set a curricula to cover arts and craft in primary and secondary schools.

Be original

The minister urged artists to define arts, be original, innovative and critical thinkers before seeking government support.

According to Gasana, the drive targets not only students, but other persons whose talents have not been tapped.

He said expanding schools of arts and craft will be done in Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centers (IPRC) are spread country wide.

“Promoting arts and craft is our priority. We want every artist to be competitive at international level,” Gasana said.

He said WDA is looking for qualified teachers in arts and crafts.

Michel Saba, an expert and staff from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Burkina Faso, who was invited to participate in the symposium, said arts and craft has in his country to the extent that artists earn a lot from it and contribute significantly to national development.

Saba said his country has been developing the arts industry since 1969.

Florence Boivin Roumestan, a Canadian consultant, said she has seen a lot of potential among Rwandan artists.

“Artists should work as a team, organise themselves and do lobbying so that the government supports them,” she said, stressing the need for arts schools and individuals to inculcate respect of copy right law of other artist.

Sir Ian Wood to invest in Rwanda tea industry

Ian Wood will help to develop Rwanda's tea industry

Ian Wood will help to develop Rwanda’s tea industry

By FRANK URQUHART
Published on Tuesday 22 January 2013 16:14- Scotsman

 

SCOTLAND’S second richest man has announced plans to invest a total of £7.5 million from his family’s charitable trust in the development of the tea industry in Rwanda in Sub Saharan Africa.

 

 

Sir Ian Wood, the recently retired head of energy giant the Wood Group, established the Wood Family Trust five years ago with an initial investment of £50 million.

But the trust’s annual report has revealed that, as a result of continued significant contributions by the oil tycoon, the funds in the trust now stand at approximately £114 million.

The trust, which also supports an initiative to develop tea farming by small holders in Tanzania., is already investing a total of £5.6 million on a six-year project, named Imbarutso, to aid 30,000 tea farmers in Rwanda by increasing their yield and income.

Bit Sir Ian, whose offer of a £50 million gift towards the transformation of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens was rejected last year by the city council, has now revealed that the trust is investing another £7.5 million to buy the majority shareholding in two tea factories, on behalf of about 12,000 smallholder tea farmers in Rwanda

The Rwanda tea factory purchase is being made under a partnership project between the Wood Family Trust and the Gatsby Foundation, Lord David Sainsbury’s philanthropic foundation. The eventual aim of the scheme is to transfer ownership of the factories to the farmer shareholders at no cost.

Professional management will be provided by the Kenya Tea Development Agency with Sir Ian acting as chairman. Sir Ian commented “This represents an innovative philanthropic intervention which, if successful and further developed, could transform the viability of smallholder tea farmers in Rwanda and pave the way for more smallholder farmers owning their factories across the region, which in turn will substantially increase the incomes of the smallholder farmer tea producers and their families.

“Experience in East Africa indicates that where the smallholder farmers own their own factories, they receive approximately 70 per cent of the made tea price against only 25 to 30 per cent if they simply sell their product to an estate owned factory.”

The trust is also planning to continue to invest in the UK through its Youth and Philanthropy Initiative which will be delivered in 81 schools across ten local authorities in Scotland.

The annual report states: “Sir Ian Wood has continued to contribute significantly to trust funds and, with the trust having spent about £13 million to the end of 2012, our funds going into 2013 are

approximately £114 million. “

The report also confirms that the Wood Family Trust spent a total of £1 million supporting the preparation and start up costs of the aborted city garden project and paying 80 per cent costs of the public referendum on the controversial scheme.

The report states: “Altogether, we will have spent more than £1 million and this is clearly a very disappointing outcome. However, the trustees judged this to be a high value transformational project for Aberdeen which would have facilitated the regeneration of its city centre with significant positive implications for the city’s long term economy. Thus the risk involved in providing the front end investigation and early design capital was deemed worthwhile.”