Rwandan President Paul Kagame says his government sees broadband as a means to address its development challenges. He was addressing a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, on the question: “why broadband should be prioritized in the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.”
The Rwandan government reports that President Kagame outlinedd Rwanda’s commitment to the use of ICT for transformation: “People used to think that broadband is meant for a few people and cannot be accessed by the majority. We have found that with the right investments, we can make it accessible and affordable. People are now able to use ICT for health, education and to access markets for their agricultural products. The results speak for themselves in every part of Africa.”
As co-chair of the Broadband Commission, President Kagame also thanked the broadband commissioners for their dedication to increasing broadband accessibility.
ITU Secretary General, Ahmadou Toure explained the goals of the Broadband Commission as essential to sustainable development. “Our goal is to put broadband at the centre of every national agenda. We want to use broadband to achieve millenium development goals and address global challenges including youth unemployment, climate change, and environmental sustainability. We are part of the solution and not part of the problem.”
Reminding those present that ICT must be part of a wider context that includes good governance, President Kagame emphasized the role of ICT in ensuring that citizens have access to information: “My hope is built on one thing. Giving the majority of our people ICT tools means they will be able to face their challenges.”
President Kagame added that broadband is an opportunity to share knowledge in a mutually beneficial manner:“It is important to understand that there is no part of the world that has monopoly of knowledge or best practices. That is the beauty of the globalized society we live in.”
The fifth edition of Tour of Rwanda will be broadcast live on Supersport everyday from November 17-24.
Rwanda Cycling Federation (Ferwacy) president Aimable Bayingana said in a press statement that, “South African based sports television Supersport, TV5 and French television Canal Plus have agreed to broadcast the tour live.”
“From the time we started organizing the Tour of Rwanda, it has been our goal to broadcast it to the world. This means that the cycling competition will be viewed by people in many countries across the world,” added Bayingana.
The seven-stage race will cover a total distance of 819km and three new routes have been introduced including Kigali – Kirehe, Rwamagana – Musanze and Rubavu – Kinigi.
Meanwhile, the race is expected to have 16 teams from different countries like South Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Algeria and Gabon.
UCI Continental Center, Eritrea’s AS BE CO, AVAIA Crebbe from Belgium, Novo Nordisk from USA, Algeria’s Sovac, Samsung MTN Qhubeka from South Africa and Rhone Alpes from France are the foreign teams that have confirmed participation.
Rwanda will be represented by three teams including Karisimbi, Akagera and Muhabura. These teams are currently training at the national cycling camp in Musanze.
The two Rwandan riders from UCI Continental Center, Janvier Hadi and Bonaventure Uwizeyimana have also joined camp to prepare for the annual competition.
Rwandan Olympian Adrien Niyonshuti is expected to participate with his team Samsung MTN Qhubeka.
Team Samsung MTN Qhubeka is the first African team to join the second division of world cycling, the highest level from any team on the continent after the International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed its status as a professional continental team for 2013.
Team MTN-Qhubeka is determined to compete on the international arena in the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.
Professional cyclists like Niyonshuti alongside Africa’s best cyclists including Daniel Teklehaymanot and this year’s African Cycling Champion Natnael Berhane will be in Rwanda to represent the team has a roster of 15 African and 6 international riders.
Rwanda will soon be among the few African countries to link every corner of the country when it rolls out the first ever 4G LTE broadband network in the region.
LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a wireless broadband technology designed to support roaming Internet access via cellphones and handheld devices.
The $140 million project, to be rolled out over the next three years by the government in partnership with KT Corporation, South Korea’s biggest telecommunications provider, will see the whole country linked to a fiber optic cable.
Its launch coincides with Transform Africa, a continental ICT and innovation summit that takes place in Kigali from October 28 to 31.
Seven African presidents and more than 1,500 delegates from all over the world are expected at the summit to discuss how Africa can overcome its connectivity and ICT challenges.
The presidents who are expected to attend include Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda — who will also be in Kigali for their countries’ Infrastructure Summit on October 28.
According to Rwanda’s Minister for ICT Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the country is today ranked among the “most connected” countries in Africa.
The 4G LTE network will be the final phase to deliver the “last mile” of connectivity after putting in place all the other infrastructures needed, including linking the whole country to the fiber optic backbone. The project will connect 95 per cent of Rwandans.
“Six years ago, African leaders met in Kigali for the connect Africa summit to find means of addressing the digital divide the continent was facing. At the time, only five per cent of the population had mobiles but today 65 per cent of Rwandans own mobile phones,” Mr Nsengimana said.
Connecting all citizens
“Today, when we meet in Kigali for Transform Africa, the question will not be how Africa will be connected but rather how this infrastructure can reach the final person,” he added.
Africa’s biggest challenge remains linking population to available ICT infrastructures as well as the high cost of making phone calls.
Rwanda and other EAC member states are among the countries where making a single phone call is more expensive than in any other part of the world.
The issue of affordability of telecoms and data will be one of the key issues to discussed at the Kigali summit this week.
Butaro Cancer Centre has opened a new wing to address the increasing demand for medical services at the facility.
The new facility, a brainchild of joint efforts between government and Partners in Health, among other stakeholders, has been named the Butaro Ambulatory Cancer Centre (BACC).
BACC has been constructed to supplement the centre that has taken on more than 1,000 new patients on its oncology programme during its one-year existence.
Addressing officials who graced the opening of the centre, Dr Paul Farmer, a co-founder of Partners in Health, said the only way to reduce cancer deaths is to integrate prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
The Butaro District-based centre is the first to be established in a rural area across East Africa, and according to officials, some of the patients who have been treated there are from other EAC countries.
“Eighty-four per cent of cancer falls more heavily on the poor, especially in low and middle income countries,” Dr Farmer said, defending the decision to set up the facility upcountry.
The Minister for Health, Dr Agnes Binagwaho, said Rwanda has a plan of having a medical campus at Butaro.
“We avail services to our people and that’s what we are supposed to do but the people also have a task: to use the services given to them; for cancer screening, it’s free of charge,” Dr Binagwaho said.
Saved by cancer centre
Delphine Musabeyezu, a 39-year-old cancer survivor from Rusizi District, said she is grateful to be alive and for having completed her chemotherapy treatment.
“I am grateful to have received my treatment at Butaro Cancer Centre. I encourage other women to opt for early detection as it is the best way treatment can have desired outcome,” Musabeyezu said.
The new centre will have outpatient clinic for oncology consultations for new and existing patients, modern chemotherapy mixing facility for both inpatient oncology unit and outpatient, patient support groups and outpatient IV chemotherapy, among other services.
The cancer ward, a 24-bed facility, regularly has more than 100 per cent bed occupancy.
Observers say the establishment of BACC comes in handy to help ease pressure on the facility.
BACC will decongest the cancer ward and restrict hospitalisation to those patients who require complex or more than one day IV chemotherapy infusions or those who are severely ill.
The Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Youth and ICT aimed at enhancing Information and Communication Technology.
Under the agreement, KOICA will construct an ICT innovation centre in Kicukiro , Kigali. The centre will be a major step in the Information Technology front in the entire East African Region, according to officials.
The agreement was signed on Wednesday by Rosemary Mbabazi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and ICT, and Sang Chul Kim, the resident representative of KOICA.
The centre, which will be constructed late next year over a period of 24 months and will cost $5.6 million, will be under Rwanda Development Board’s IT department.
Speaking at the ceremony Kim said, “This agreement is another significant step for the friendship between Rwanda and South Korea. This is the 50th year of our friendship. So we had to move it a step further by starting this important journey as well as helping Rwanda move further towards its Vision 2020.”
KOICA affirmed to continue its support of the ICT development in the country with a plan to put up other IT centres around the country to help rural youth access information.
“This signed document represents another milestone for ICT in our country,” Mbabazi said.
Upon completion, the centre which is targeting 78 per cent per cent youth will be a major leap for the ICT industry.
“It will also help in job creation and give more exposure for the youth in the country. Not only will it be good for the urban youth which is our main target but also for the rural youth,” Mbabazi asserted.
The ceremony was a culmination of a six months survey by a Basic Design Survey Team (BDST) that consisted of members from KOICA and officials from RDB who took a Kigali-wide research to determine the essential tools and strategies which were necessary for the commencement of construction of the centre.
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.
How well do you know your capital city? Even some of you who were born here have not discovered many of Kigali’s jewels. The Society Magazine team has done the hard work for you and it presents to you the best places to visit Kigali.
Home of art: Ishyo Art Centre and Goethe Institut, Kacyiru:
This is a platform for all artists, arts lovers, culture professionals, activists, critics, entrepreneurs and everyone else who is passionate or just curious about traditional and/or contemporary modes of artistic expression.
Ishyo also hosts different events related to fashion, plays, music and different other aspects of culture. It usually hosts experts from different countries to train and work with Rwanda artists, encouraging cultural diversity and improving skills. It is also home to the Goethe Institut – well known for its movie night every Tuesday evening. You will find a lot more than movies as it also organises brainstorm debates every last Thursday of the month.
Kigali’s skyscraper: Kigali City Tower:
Kigali City Tower is located in the city centre. This blue, curvy building with a protruding stick like part of it at the top can’t be missed as it is our only real sky scraper. It is the tallest building in the country with 18 storeys of well designed architect and beauty.
From the outer look it may not look that big but when you enter, it might take you all day just to see everything in it, ranging from supermarkets, offices, restaurants, boutiques, gadget shops, radio stations and do you know what else? Rwanda’s new 5D cinema is also there.
Mamba Club, Rwanda’s only bowling alley:
There is no way you can classify Kigali City treasures and not mention Mamba Club. It’s located in Kimihurura in front of Top Security headquarters. It is a bar and restaurant and even has several health fitness facilities ranging from a swimming pool, a hot yoga facility and it is Rwanda’s only bowling alley.
Besides the bowling alley and comfortable lounge, there is an area with sand to play beach volleyball. In other words you don’t need to go to Gisenyi to enjoy beach volleyball. Bowling is an American game that is enjoyed by both children and adults. It’s relaxing and fun especially if there are two teams competing.
It is a wonderful place for people of all age groups. For example during birthday parties for children, bouncing castles are set up for the children to have fun.
Kigali Public Library:
Like a diamond that has many facets, Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda has many faces. For those who prefer the literary one, I am sure you cannot leave without visiting the Kigali Public Library.
Located in Kacyiru opposite the American Embassy, the standard fare from everywhere is 200 Rwandan Francs, except of course for those who live in Kacyiru. The building stands proud and majestic facing the sun and proving the UNICEF report that almost seventy five percent of Rwandans are literate.
The library has several sections including children and teenagers and adult sections which all have several collections and reading areas.
The building also has an African section that includes history and literature, an internet café which enables the readers to have access to the Library and a reference section.
Genocide Memorial Gisozi : We Remember:
Most people around the world know our small country as the home of one of the most atrocious massacres that have ever been carried out between brother tribes. The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi left over a million dead and many others wounded. With this background, one cannot expect to come to Kigali and leave without visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
Located on one of Kigali’s hills, the memorial tells the story of what happened in very few words but many pictures and videos Beautifully decorated, the centre stands on the site of 250,000 mass graves. The centre is a must visit if one is to learn the root of Rwandan persistence and optimism.
The oldest buliding: Kandt House:
The museum is dedicated to Dr. Richard Kandt, a German doctor and explorer who embarked on the exploration of Rwanda in 1897, searching for the source of the Nile River.
The Nature History Museum aims at examining the richness of Rwandan nature. This museum showcases many specimen and replicas of natural wonders of the country.
As the only national museum in Kigali, do not dare attempt to leave Kigali without visiting it at least once.
kLab: Where ICT came to life:
For a country that is striking a fine balance between technology, business, innovation and preparing the next generation of IT leaders in Africa is what kLab does. kLab, a community of technology wizards and entrepreneurs is one of the spaces that play an important role in growing and supporting the Rwandan ICT entrepreneurs community. By transiting at kLab, techpreneurs are coming up with viable ICT solutions, being able to sell them and earn a living out of it.
But this space isn’t only for experts, it also has different programs of mentorship, capacity building, networking events and inspirational talks. So let your inner nerd come out!
The visiting UK Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State, William Hague, has commended Rwanda’s cooperation with regional countries in efforts to bring security in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Hague addressed reporters yesterday shortly after meeting President Paul Kagame and Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo at Village Urugwiro, where the leaders discussed the need for a lasting solution to the conflict in Eastern DRC, as well as other bilateral issues. The UK diplomat described the efforts of regional states in the Great Lakes region to bring back peace in the DRC as “positive” in addition to commending Rwanda’s role.
Hague met Rwandan leaders as part of a trip that he is conducting in the region along with UNHCR Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie, to highlight the terrible human cost of warzone rape, and to call on Governments worldwide to address this issue. Rape is rampant in eastern DRC, where armed groups including the FDLR, made up of elements who committed the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, have been using it as a weapon of war against local communities.
In 1998, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) became the first international court to find an accused person guilty of rape as a crime of Genocide. The judgement against Jean Paul Akayesu a former mayor, ruled that rape and sexual assault constituted acts of Genocide as they were committed with the intent to destroy in whole or in part, the Tutsi In Rwanda, between 100,000 and 250,000 women were raped during the 1994 Genocide.
Rwanda has been cooperating on regional efforts to improve security in eastern DRC through working with other regional countries under the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and it has also signed the UN-brokered Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region. The cooperation framework was signed last month in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, and it binds the DRC along with ten other countries of the region: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Namibia, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Strong Partnership with the UK:
Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo noted that the UK diplomat’s trip is likely to boost relations between the two countries in the next few months. While Hague was critical of Rwanda after a highly controversial UN Group of experts report alleging support to M23 appeared, Mushikiwabo described Rwanda and the UK as strong partners.
“Friends sometimes agree, sometimes disagree. Disagreements have been less than our agreements. So, I have no reason to believe that the partnership and the relationship between Rwanda and the UK have changed dramatically, not at all,” she said. “I think the relationship between our two countries is solid.”
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.
Every year, on February 1, Rwandans celebrate the National Heroes’ Day. It is the day on which we reflect on acts by national heroes and heroines and the values for which they are remembered. Heroes are classified into three categories; Imanzi, Imena and Ingenzi.
Imanzi are supreme heroes who demonstrated outstanding achievements occasioned by supreme sacrifice, outstanding importance and example. This category, which only has the late Maj Gen Fred Rwigema and the Unknown Soldier, can only be awarded posthumously.
Heroes in the Imena category are reputed for their extraordinary acts for the country marked by sacrifice, high importance and example.
The Ingenzi category comprises heroes who are still alive.
The Unknown Soldier (‘Imanzi’)
The Unknown Soldier represents all the fallen soldiers of the liberation struggle. The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is at the National Heroes’ Mausoleum in Remera, next to Amahoro National Stadium. The tomb is a way of commemorating the soldiers whose remains could not be identified after the Liberation war.
Maj Gen. Fred Gisa Rwigema (‘Imanzi’)
Born on April 10, 1957 in Mukiranze village, Kamonyi District (former Gitarama) in the Southern Province, Maj Gen. Fred Gisa Rwigema died on October 2, 1990, on the second day of the Rwanda Patriotic Army liberation war. His parents were Anastasie Kimonyo and Gatarina Mukandilima. The young Rwigema and his family fled to Uganda and settled in Nshungerezi Refugee Camp in the 1960’s following the 1959 pogroms.
On June 20, 1987, he married Janet Urujeni and they were blessed with two children: Junior Gisa and Teta Gisa. In 1974, he went to Tanzania and joined the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), a rebel group led by Yoweri Museveni. Later in 1976, he travelled to Mozambique and joined the FRELIMO rebels who were fighting for the Mozambican liberation against the Portuguese colonial power. In 1981, 27 soldiers including Rwigema and his childhood friend and current President Paul Kagame, and Museveni, started a liberation struggle against the then regime of Uganda president Milton Obote. Rwigema helped the National Resistance Army (NRA) capture state power in 1986 and was appointed the Ugandan Deputy Minister of Defence.
He was regularly at the front line in northern Uganda during the government’s offensive against remnants of the ousted regime. He attained several positions in the Ugandan army, including Deputy Army Commander and Overall Operations Commander. But despite holding all the above posts, he always held Rwanda at heart. Rwigema is remembered for being among those who greatly inspired the Rwandan refugees to liberate their country, and on October 1, 1990, he spearheaded Rwanda’s liberation struggle. He was shot at the front line on the second day of the attack.
Umwami Mutara III Rudahigwa Charles Léon Pierre (‘Imena’)
He was the son of King Yuhi IV Musinga and Nyiramavugo Kankazi Redegonde. He became King on November 16, 1931 after the abdication of his father on November 13, 1931. During his rule, King Rudahigwa advocated for the welfare of Rwandans, independence, democracy and fought against injustice through the King’s Court. He married Nyiramakomali on October 15, 1933 but separated in 1940. He then married Rosalie Gicanda on January 18, 1942. He worked hard to educate Rwandans through the establishment of the Mutara Fund and requested Jesuits to establish a college in Gitarama but, instead, the college was built in Bujumbura, Burundi. Rudahigwa later set up the Islamic college in Nyamirambo, a Kigali , suburb and another school in Kanyanza and offered scholarships to many Rwandans to study in Europe. Under his reign, he eliminated all forms of slavery and advocated for unity and reconciliation among Rwandans. King Mutara III Rudahigwa died under mysterious circumstances on July 25, 1959 in what many consider to have been an assassination.
Michel Rwagasana (‘Imena’)
Michel Rwagasana was born in 1927, in Gitisi, Nyamagana of Ruhango District in the Southern Province. He attended Groupe Scolaire Astrida, attaining a Diploma in Administration. He married Suzana Nzayire in 1957 and the two were blessed with four children, but he never got a chance to see his last born because he died when his wife was three months pregnant. Rwagasana attained several distinctive positions due to his integrity; he later became the Personal Secretary of King Mutara III Rudahigwa from 1954. His unvarying advocacy for unity, independence and denouncing ethnic differences. He was killed during the regime of Gregory Kayibanda for declining to embrace ethnic segregation.
Agathe Uwilingiyimana (‘Imena’)
Agatha Uwilingiyimana was born on June 23, 1953, in Gitore, Gisagara District of the Southern Province. She was the daughter of Yuvenali Ntibashirakandi and Saverina Nyirantibangwa. She got married to Ignace Barahira in 1976 and was blessed with five children. Uwilingiyimana became the first woman to hold the position of Prime Minister in Rwanda’s history from July 17, 1993 to April 1994. Prior to that, she served as the Minister of Education where she advocated for equal rights among students. During her time in office, she advocated for the rights of women and spearheaded the fight against divisionism. She was assassinated on April 7, 1994 by the Genocida; machinery.
Félicité Niyitegeka (‘Imena’)
Born in 1934, Félicité Niyitegeka was the daughter of Simon Sekabwa and Angelina Nyirampabuka. She was killed on April 21, 1994 during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Niyitegeka is remembered for refusing to part ways with the people who found refuge at Centre Saint Pierre in Gisenyi (currently Rubavu District).
She was just a casual worker when her brother asked her to separate from the Tutsis since the military was aware of her activities, but she declined. When the Interahamwe militias came to her house, she already had over 30 Tutsi refugees in her house. The Interahamwe informed her that she would be spared but her charges would have to be killed, but opted to die alongside them.
Nyange SSS students (‘Imena’)
The Senior Five and Senior Six students of Nyange Secondary School were on March 18 1997, attacked by remnants of the genocidal machinery (during the insurgency days) who forced them to separate themselves along ethnic lines. They refused and the attackers killed six of them, including four girls. Those that were killed are Sylvestre Bizimana, Chantal Mujawamahoro, Beatrice Mukambaraga, Seraphine Mukarutwaza, Helene Benimana, and Valens Ndemeye. The Nyange heroes are among millions of victims of the decades of bad leadership that attempted to erase our characteristic values that were historically built around our common identity since the days of our forefathers.
Understandably, events that commemorate these fallen students and all other celebrated national heroes evoke bitter memories. February 1 is also a reminder that there are exemplary men, women and children, who laid down their lives for this nation and whose love for this country should inspire us all to work hard to advance the same values they strived for.