Category Archives: Rwanda Employment

I&M bank signs EU funding deal

Untitled

 

The European Investment Bank and the I&M bank on Tuesday signed a deal that will see Rwandan small businesses benefit from EUR8 million under the new lending programme for Small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s).

This is the second new small business lending programme between the European Investment Bank and I&M Bank Rwanda in seven years. Previously the EIB floated $3 billion.

The agreement was signed by Sanjeev Anand, Managing Director of I&M Bank Rwanda and Kurt Simonsen, Head of the European Investment Bank’s regional representation for East and Central Africa.

Simonsen said that the I&M bank has proved to be a good and trusted partner over the years and the European Investment Bank (EIB) is confident that the funding will enable Rwandans to attain their economic development strategies.

“We are very proud to work with I&M, who have been using the funding appropriately to facilitate economic development in this country. We are very sure that this money will reach the rightful owners and be used well” he said.

Managing Director, Sanjeev Anand explained that the SME and corporate sector forms the most important part of I&M Bank’s strategy in Rwanda and that the long-term financing lines provided by EIB will go a long way in facilitating efforts to provide investment support to SMEs.

Over the years, the European Investment Bank has extended five small business focused credit lines for a total amount of EUR 31 million to Banque Rwandaise de Développement, Bank of Kigali, and I&M Bank Rwanda Ltd.

The funds have helped to develop more than 100 SMEs and created more than 1, 250 jobs in the private sector in Rwanda. In addition to supporting small and medium sized companies in the country.

The European Investment Bank has signed a credit line with Kenya Commercial Bank to support microfinance and intends to broaden support for private sector investment in Rwanda in the future.

Advertisements

Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda to Build Super-Highway

Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are considering building a superhighway from Mombasa to Kigali, parallel to the planned railway.

According to regional trade lobby organization Trademark East Africa, which will be facilitating the project, it is expected to have a six-lane road, with construction beginning in 2016.

Inspired by the N1 highway that runs from Cape Town in South Africa to Harare in Zimbabwe, the proposed road is intended to ease the movement of cargo, thereby reducing the cost of doing business and increasing intra-regional trade.

Expenditure on transport in the EAC countries accounts for 45% of the total cost of goods. This is 30% higher than in Southern Africa, making commodities produced in the region uncompetitive.

John Byabagambi, Uganda’s Junior Minister for Works who is chairing the Standard Gauge Railway Committee, said that Trademark was doing feasibility studies for a dual carriage highway that forms part of plans to expand the Northern Corridor, as the current single carriage system is too narrow and fraught with inefficiencies.

Allen Asiimwe of Trademark East Africa said the superhighway would have no weighbridges or roadblocks.

This means that once the goods are loaded onto a truck at the Port of Mombasa, there will be no stops until the final destination. Weighbridges and roadblocks are among major hindrances to trade in the region.

As the cost of doing business in the region drops, intra-EAC trade, which currently stands at over $3.8 million, or just 13% of the total trade volumes in the region, is expected to increase.

Asiimwe added that the road, the ability of the revenue authorities of Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya to acquire the latest software known as Automated Systems for Customs Data (Asycuda), plus a $50 million investment in the port of Mombasa, will ensure that cargo moves fast and that it is constantly monitored.

“Investment in a regional asset like the Mombasa port will reduce the time for clearing goods from 18 to five days,” she said.

The software enables Customs officials from the three countries to use the electronic tracking system to monitor the trucks.

The software will also boost the EAC Customs Union since revenue authorities will be able to assess and collect taxes at the first point of entry. This means that once a trader has paid his taxes for goods bound for Uganda, there will be no need to pay a refundable bond to Kenya. This has been the practice, due to the fear that goods could be dumped in Kenya.

As the cost of doing business in the region drops, intra-EAC trade, which currently stands at over $3.8 million, or just 13% of the total trade volumes in the region, is expected to increase.

Experts warn that intra-EAC trade is well below the standards of any functional common market.

“Intra-regional trade should account for at least 25% of the total trade volumes in any functional common market,” said Rashid Kibowa, Commissioner for Economic Affairs in Uganda’s Ministry of East African Community Affairs.

In the European Union, intra-regional trade accounts for 55% of total trade while it stands at 40% in the US.

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 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.

Rwanda Businesses Target Burundi, Uganda Markets

Kigali — Rwandas midsize companies are looking at Burundi and Uganda as potential investment destinations in the region. According to the Top 100 Mid Sized Companies survey, over 69% out 205 companies surveyed indicated that Burundi would be their potential target for investment in the region while 48 percent saw Uganda.

“It is very interesting to see Rwandan companies beginning to pick interest in investing in the region,” Robert Onyango Senior Manager, Mid Markets at KPMG said during the launch of the survey in Kigali.

The Rwanda Top  100 midsize  companies  Survey  is an initiative of KPMG  to identify and recognize Rwanda’s  fastest  growing  medium sized companies  in order  to showcase  business  excellence and highlight  the country’s  most successful entrepreneurial stories.

Conducted last year for a period of three months, the survey targeted around 205 midsize companies with a turnover of between Rwf 50 million up to Rwf 5 billion in different sectors with 175 submitting financial ratios in order to qualify for the ranking.

“By giving recognition  to these  companies, we are investing in the multinationals of tomorrow  and meeting one of the national goals of Rwanda which is to move  from poverty reduction to wealth  creation,” John Ndunyu, Director KPMG Rwanda said.

The survey reported that the past 6 months credit extended to businesses has increased  with most businesses accessing bank overdrafts, credit lines or credit card overdrafts and bank loans which indicated 41 percent and 40 percent respectively.

Rwanda Is Ninth Fastest Growing Economy Globally

Rwanda will be one of the top 10 fastest-growing economies in the world this year even as it braves challenges presented by aid cuts.

Last year, Germany, the US, Britain and the EU suspended part of their budget support for this year over allegation that the country was helping M23 rebels in the DR Congo

The Economist, in its latest report on global economic trends for 2013, indicated that Rwanda’s economy would grow at 7.8 per cent this year, making the country the ninth fastest-growing economy in the world and the second-best in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the global ranking of what it terms as ‘the top growers’, the paper has Mongolia, with a projected growth rate of 18.1 per cent, on top of the list followed by Macau at 13.5 per cent. Libya leads in Africa at 12.2 per cent. In sub-Saharan Africa, Mozambique is projected to register the highest growth at 8.2 per cent, with Rwanda, which is seen growing; at 7.8 per cent, on its heels.

This projection echoes that of the economic planners at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

The Economist termed Rwanda’s ranking, along with other star performers of the world, as part of a ‘more cheerful segment’ of an otherwise gloomy global economic outlook.

The newspaper also lauded Rwanda as one of the countries that have made tremendous progress over the last 10 years, enabling it to transform its economy towards a service-oriented one.

While reacting to the report, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) acting chief executive officer, Clare Akamanzi, affirmed that the country would this year achieve or even surpass its medium-term plan economic objectives.

“Rwanda’s economy has been on track, growing at over 7 per cent annually; therefore, the fundamentals for achieving this target are already in place. That is why analysts at The Economist and others rank Rwanda highly,” Akamanzi said.

The RDB Chief added: “What is most important for us is to increasingly build our economy’s competitiveness to attract more private sector investments. This is a key input for economic growth. ”

A Ministry of Trade and Industry 2012 preliminary economic performance review shows that the country’s investment rate (the per cent of investment to the gross domestic product – GDP) reached 25 per cent, surpassing the 21 per cent target set earlier.

Another key fundamental was the growth of exports that reached $429m, higher than the $344m targeted. The robust growth of the tourism sector was another factor.

The sector raked-in $263m in the 2011/12 period, exceeding the earlier target of $244m. This was also reflected on strong growth of Rwanda’s services sector.

Although the Central Bank had pegged the inflation rate at 7.5 per cent, it was contained at a commendable 4.6 per cent. Rwanda, The economist noted, achieved a “hat-trick” of rapid growth, sharp poverty reduction and lessened income inequality.

“Because of this, many donors were reluctant to stop or reduce aid, whatever the arguments that came up over the eastern DR Congo saga,” the publications added.

This performance is a good indicator that the suspension of aid would most likely not hurt the country as it continues guiding its economy towards its chosen path of transformation.

“Rwanda, our beautiful and dear country / Adorned of hills, lakes and volcanoes / Motherland, would be always filled of happiness…”

Mobile Libraries to Promote Reading Culture

The Ministry of Education is set to rollout the national mobile library to enhance reading culture among the populace.

The new culture, which is being co-advocated for with the Rwanda Education Board, comes after the distribution of reading materials for the community in different sectors that started this year.

Joyce Musabe, the deputy director general in the Rwanda Education Board, in an interview with The New Times, said they are signing contracts with publishers to deliver reading and other learning and teaching materials to schools through mobile libraries.

“We are planning to make the national launch of mobile libraries in Gicumbi district in the near future. Actually, for the community, we are now counting eight mobile libraries based in sectors of Nyaruguru, Gicumbi, Nyamagabe, Ngororero, Ngoma, Kayonza and Bugesera districts. Each mobile library is equipped with 1,200 books,” she said.

Efforts to shape reading culture

The distribution of the materials is part of the Rwanda Reads (REB), an initiative launched in July last year to improve the reading culture that is still low in the country. REB has also reviewed and updated a strategic framework for enhancing reading among the populace.

“The strategic framework was designed to be validated by different stakeholders after different groups were formed to coordinate activities of the initiative. The groups have already met to elaborate tasks to achieve this year in the area of promoting reading culture among Rwandans,” Musabe said.

The board has also elaborated the national reading standards, an important document to guide in monitoring and evaluation of reading. The school-based mentoring programme to support enhanced literacy instructions, have also been elaborated.

Months after the Kigali Public Library was opened, the turn up is still appalling. Now the management of the library is seeking to create more awareness and sensitisation of the public.

According to Marie Claire Mukashayaka, the teen and adult service librarian at the public library, Rwandans are yet to make resourceful use of the public library.

“We have seen few adults come to read at this library. Students make majority of the users of the library, I think it is because it is the first public library in the country,” she said.

Access to the public library in Kacyiru, Gusabo district, is free, though other services such as using the Internet require subscription.

The poor reading culture has not only affected use of public library, but even bookshops. A salesperson in Librairie Ikirezi in Kigali, who did not want to be identified, told this newspaper that a few Rwandans have started purchasing reading materials-major buyers are institutions and ministries.

“We mostly sale books to foreigners here, but recently a few Rwandans have come to buy books and I think this will improve with time,” the salesperson said.

Renewed Hope for Job Seekers

Over 1,200 job seekers with various skills were last week connected to prospective employers during a job fair in Kigali organised by Job in Rwanda Association.

Youth employment and productivity is among development plans the government has in five years

Job seekers also found time to sit interviews with different organisations.

The fair, sponsored by Rwanda Development Board and the Ministry of Youth and ICT, was aimed at connecting job seekers and employers from both public and private institutions.

The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, who opened the event, said it is a good opportunity for both employees and employers to meet and get connected as there is normally a mismatch between demand and supply.

Job seekers at Global Health Corps stall during the Job day at Kigali Public Library yesterday. The New Times / T. Kisambira.

“What is important today is not that all people who are here get a job immediately but to share information and knowledge,” said Nsengimana.

He commended Job in Rwanda for creating the opportunity to connect job seekers to prospective employers.

“I would recommend public and private institutions and universities to adopt such activity as job seekers are too many yet there are employers out there who need them,” he added.

The unemployment rate is below 2 per cent and under employment now is at 40 per cent, according to the minister.

He noted that the most important avenues to create jobs is to equip Rwandans with vocational skills and to train people how to be job creators and be confident when they are looking for jobs.

Most of the job seekers – about 70 per cent of them university graduates – intimated that they had failed to find jobs.

“I graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor’s in Finance but I have failed to find a job. I have submitted my credentials to various companies in vain. Most of the time, about 200 of us have competed for the same job,” a woman who gave her name only as Chantal said. She was one of those who sat interviews at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) yesterday.