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.
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.
IT started like any other day. Maina woke up and headed to class. The then senior four student concluded the day with a jog at the school’s play ground. As she went through the drills, she was summoned by the school cricket coach to join the rest of the team. Efforts to explain her self that she had never held a bat or played cricket fell on deaf ears.
“I was exercising in the school field; the girl’s cricket team coach mistook me for a cricket player. He called me to join the team, when I tried to explain to him that I was not a player he insisted and that is how I became a cricketer,” Mary Maina narrates.
This is how one of Rwanda’s best female cricketers ended up building a passionate bond with the game of cricket. Mary Maina represents the cream of female cricketers who hold the future of women cricket in Rwanda.
With the upcoming ‘UAE Exchange Money Express’ Women Cricket Tournament, it will be yet another opportunity for the female cricketers to showcase talent. Women Today’s Doreen Umutesi talked to Maina, who plays for the ‘White Clouds Cricket Club’ and Cathia Uwamahoro, a member of Charity Club, to talk about the sport, how it has gained popularity in Rwanda, their inspirations and the challenges they have faced.
Born on September 17, 1992 in Kenya, Maina started playing cricket in 2010 while at APRED Ndera Secondary School.
She says she has strong love for the sport. “I treasure this game and always reflect on the circumstances under which I joined the sport. I actually trained for three days with the school team and was instantly picked to be the captain of the team during the inter-schools competition. I encountered several challenges because I started playing the sport without knowing all the rules of the game. In other words, I learnt most of the rules of the game in the field during the inter-schools tournament.”
She says that at first she was also scared of the cricket ball given the fact that it’s very hard.
“I didn’t even know the history of the game as the captain of the team but it’s the cricket ball that always freaked me out. I always thought that if it hit me, it would cause great injury and it’s funny because in a few moments it hit me but I got minor injuries and that didn’t make me quit the sport,” Maina reveals.
She adds that being part of the U19 National Team that represented the country in Tanzania in 2011 inspired her into embracing the sport even more.
“I was happy about the trip and the game and I got to learn a lot from the 2011 tournament. But I am grateful to the local companies that have empowered us and introduced local tournaments for the women cricketers. This has greatly improved our skills in the sport,” Maina acknowledges.
Besides the inter-schools competitions that are held annually, the first female tournament was held in February 2013 under the name VR Naidu because it was sponsored by an Indian family known as Naidu. The White Clouds Club are the defending champions.
In September 2013, Maina is enrolling at the National University of Rwanda to pursue a Bachelor’s course in Pharmacy.
“As a child I always wanted to be a doctor to closely work with people and impact on their lives. Although I’m not going to offer medicine, I will ably serve people as a pharmacist. I will also continue playing cricket at university. I would also wish to encourage more girls to join cricket. It’s a gentle game and it’s the only game in sports where your opponent is your friend, even though you’re competing. Respect is encouraged all the time,” Maina reveals.
She continues, “The girls should not be scared of the bat because it is made of hard wood or that the ball is hard too. Cricket is very exciting.”
Currently there are about ten schools in Rwanda that have fully established the female cricket teams and six of these schools are based in Kigali.
Uwamahoro was also introduced to the sport in 2008 at the age of fifteen.
“I used to watch cricket on television and I didn’t understand what it was but one day I got to see people training at our school in Gikondo and I sat down and watched. I did this often and one day the coach asked me if I wanted to join and I accepted although I was a basketball player at the time,” Uwamahoro narrates.
She adds that she quit basketball to play cricket.
“Because of the love I gradually attained for cricket, I learnt the rules of the game pretty fast and I was able to play for the U19 National Team in Kenya in 2008. I was also able to play in 2010 and 2011 in Tanzania and I learnt a lot and gained more skills in all these region tournaments,” Uwamahoro explains.
She adds, “At first I didn’t like fielding because I was afraid of the ball hitting me but with time, I over came my fears and I can now field, bat and ball because it’s required as a team player.”
She reveals that her favourite local player is Andre Kayitera and internationally, she is inspired by the cricket legend Brian Lala.
Charles Haba, the President of the Rwanda Cricket Association, says that in Rwanda, cricket was first embraced in December 1999.
“We aggressively embarked on training female cricket players in 2006 and several women development programmes in the sport were embraced. We have taken on these programmes mainly through schools but also additionally we have started a women’s league. There are not many countries that have a structured women’s league,” Haba reveals.
Rwanda Cricket Association, the official cricket governing body in Rwanda, is a representative at the International Cricket Council and is an affiliate member. It attained its membership in 2003.
“Something else that is a bit unique is that every tournament that we have held, we have played a double-header for the girls. Basically what it means is that parallel to the boys competition, we have the women’s tournament and that applies even when we are going to seek sponsorship or during corporate events. This has had a positive impact on the women cricket teams.”
He adds that before, girls would go for the regional cricket women competitions and play well but as a result of lack of exposure, lose to different teams.
“Our biggest challenge is the lack of facilities because we have one main ground therefore we have to use it for both the women and men’s tournaments. The other challenges are not really big and we are happy that the girls love cricket,” Haba discloses.
He continues, “There is need to encourage women and girls to embrace cricket. Something I have learnt in cricket is that girls are not as demanding as the boys, yet the levels of output and levels of success come out quicker than the boys. I will give you practical examples of the fantastic experiences we have encountered with the girls. The boys tend to ask for so much because they are so hungry for overnight success and want to be professionals in the shortest time but the girls will just want to pick up the bat and the ball to go and play. They are always happy to wait for their opportunity to play, without letting the little challenges affect them.”
There are currently four established women cricket teams/clubs in Rwanda; Queens of Victory, Kigali Angels, Charity and White Clouds.
Eric Hirwa, the Cricket Female National Team coach, says that in the earlier days, the girls’ main challenge was their parents granting them permission to play cricket. But that is gradually changing.
“With the development of the sport and the popularity it has gained, we now encounter a few situations or no situations at all where a parent has refused a player to come for training. When the girls master the game, after a few months they make it a point to come for regular training. However transport from their home to the training grounds is the main challenge they currently face,” Hirwa explains.
He encourages parents to let their girls come for training since it helps them improve their skills.
“We currently have about 30-60 girls that can actually attend regional competitions. They are about 15-20 years old and most of them are students. It’s also amazing how the girls learn the game so fast and become very passionate about it. It’s always important for someone to first love the game to actually perfect their skills in the sport,” Hirwa reveals.
According to Hirwa, female cricket teams train every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 3pm in Kicukiro.
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has embarked on an exercise to transform a famous cave in Musanze district into a tourism site.
This was disclosed by Rica Rwigamba, the head of Rwanda Tourism and Conservation at RDB, while touring the site together with tour operators to assess the progress on Friday.
Located in Musanze district, the decades-old cave is about 2km. She said works are already ongoing. A meeting between tour operators and the department of tourism and conservation is scheduled next month to seal the cooperation to promote the place as a tourist site.
“We have been planning this for a while, our target is to increase tourism products; caves are part of products attracting tourists. We want to discuss with tour operators to help us let tourists know about our new products,” said Rwigamba, adding that within a month, they will announce the price of touring the cave after the consultations with tour operators.
Rwigamba also urged local leaders to help in conservation of the cave by preventing people from dumping wastes or anything which can pollute in the cave.
So far, the inside of the dark cave depicts a picture of a house with several rooms and corridors. The floor is paved and there are some stairs to ease movement.
The cave is said to have been a result of volcanic eruption decades ago.
Residents said they expected the cave to benefit them because they will get jobs. “The cave has been lying idle for years. Now people have started benefitting from it, some are guides there, others are cleaners, we hope as tourism grows more people will get employed,” said Pacifique Nshimiyimana, an area resident
Tourism was identified as a priority sector to achieve Rwanda’s development goals as set out in Vision 2020.
The cave is the newest tourism product in Rwanda; with plans to turn several other caves into tourism sites in the future, according to officials.
Last year, Rwanda’s tourism sector generated $281.8m (Rwf178b) up from $251.3m (Rwf159b) in 2011, according to 2012 Tourism Report by the RDB.
Meanwhile, RDB is also set to introduce hiking as another tourism product, Rwigamba announced.
“The country is hilly. There are people who like mountain climbing,” Rugamba said.
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!
Akagera Park management launched a new Day Visitor Centre complete with a tented boarding facility. Launched on Tuesday, the new 14-bed Rusizi Tented Lodge is located right at the heart of the Akagera National Park.
The accommodation facility will supplement the Akagera Game Lodge, the main hotel inside the Eastern Province-based park. The centre, on the other hand, incorporates the park reception, a café souvenir shop and education centre. The infrastructure was set up with financial support of the US based Walton Family Foundation.
The Foundation has disbursed $500,000 per annum, from 2010, to finance the construction of the facilities under a five-year financial assistance programme that will total $2.5 million upon completion.
Rob Walton, the chairman of the foundation, and his wife, Melani Walton, attended the ceremony. Walton Family Foundation is a philanthropic organisation with a strong focus on conservation and biodiversity protection.
According to the park’s officials, the new infrastructure is part of an integrated tourism development plan aimed at increasing revenues for the park’s long-term sustainability. The Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, who presided over the function, said new infrastructure was an important step towards the park’s achievement of self-reliance.
“The Park has been performing well in the last three years or so…we expect it to do more, so that it can stop relying on aid. I also commend the support of Walton Foundation; local investors should borrow a leaf,” he said.
Kanimba noted that revenue from the industry is progressively increasing. “Tourism will remain number one for many years. It earns the country over $280m per year. This explains why we are committed to supporting the industry,” said Kanimba.
Jes Gruner, the Manager of Akagera Park, the largest in the country, noted that proper management and infrastructure development drastically increased the number of tourists. “In 2011, we had 20,000 tourists. In 2012 they increased to 23,000. The park has seen 40 per cent increase in visitor numbers and 73 per cent increase in revenue over the last three years,” he said.
Akagera Park, African Parks and Rwanda Development Board partnered to form the Akagera Management Company (AMC). This is a 20-year joint management agreement with a vision to restore, develop and manage the park to international standards.
Rica Rwigamba, Head of Rwanda Tourism and Conservation, RDB, said that tourism industry would increase its revenue by a large margin at the end of the year 2014. “We want our revenues to increase to $317million by next year,” she said.
Akagera National Park was founded in 1934.
The national Athletics head coach Eric Karasira has lauded the determination and hard work displayed by the national team which is currently undergoing intensive preparations in Northern Province district of Gicumbi.
The team is preparing for the 40th IAAF World Cross-Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on March 24.
The six-member team, alongside two officials, assembled in Gicumbi since the month started to prepare effectively ahead of the event.
“The athletes are training very well, no injuries and they have easily adapted to the weather. I believe this camp will be of much use to our objective of performing well in Poland.”
“The athletes have potential to shine at the World event. They will be keen to reaffirm their prowess and win Rwanda a medal. Our target is to be on the medal podium but we have to be cautious because the other countries have strong teams. But after four weeks of training in Gicumbi, I believe these athletes will be ready for the assignment,” said Karasira.
The team in Gicumbi is comprised of Kajuga Robert, Eric Sebahire, Cyriaque Ndayikengurukiye, Jean Marie Uwajeneza, Jean Baptista Simukeka, Felix Simuceka and Alexis Nizeyimana.
Last year, Rwanda missed out on the world event due to visa hitches. In 2011, Rwandan athletics displayed poor show in the IAAF 39th World Cross Country Championship in Punta Umbria, Spain.
Gervais Hakizimana emerged as Rwanda’s best performer after finishing 33rd in the men’s 12km race.
The team is expected to participate in the East Africa Cross-country championship which will be held in Uganda on March 3.
“Rwanda, our beautiful and dear country / Adorned of hills, lakes and volcanoes / Motherland, would be always filled of happiness…”
Despite being an ideal tourist destination, many Rwandans have continued to ignore the beauty of their country while foreigners remain the best story tellers of the country’s beauty and wonders.
When Joe McDonald and Mary Ann, an American couple landed in Rwanda in 2003 for the first time, their main destination was the home to the rare mountain gorillas, the Volcanoes National Park.
On January 5, they celebrated their 75th visit to the gorillas.
“We decided to come very often and our 75th visit is not the last. We will keep coming until we reach hundred times and more,” Mary Ann disclosed adding that every year they make up to three visits to the country and five rounds in the park.
The couple has spent around US$ 1m in the visits with the friends they brought on board.
“There is no other place in the world where you can be so close to large wild animals and be safe,” McDonald told The New Times shortly after completing their record breaking visit on January 5.
Officials in the tourism department in the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) say they have never registered such a record from any Rwandan. Not even for ‘smaller’ wonderful packages such as the canopy walk in Nyungwe and the game safari in Akagera that are sold by various tour operators.
But although the number of tourists in general increased from 18,865 in 2009 to 27,000 tourists in 2011, according to statistics from RDB, Rwandans always lag behind their foreign counterparts in visiting parks, except in the Akagera National Park where about 10,362 Rwandans were registered to have visited the park, compared to 8,649 foreign tourists, in 2011.
There are also fewer Rwandans visiting the six museums and 80 historical sites in the country.
Statistics from the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (IMNR) indicate that by June 2012, of the 151,000 visitors to the six museums, 100,666 were Rwandans, an insignificant number considering their target is 600,000 local and foreign visitors.
Despite a steady increase in the number of park activities bought by Rwandans – 10,263 and 13,172 in 2010 and 2011- RDB believes they are still very few.
The explanations offered by Rwandans for not visiting the various tourist sites are diverse, including the most common one that prices are very high.
Most people The New Times talked to said they visit some of these sites only when the companies or institutions they work for plan to visit the parks, usually once a year. Otherwise, a family can barely plan a visit to a tourist site.
According to Innocent Bahati, a civil society activist, many costs involved such as transport, entry fees, picnic and sometimes accommodation make visiting tourist sites expensive.
“I feel that Rwandans, like most Africans, would rather visit places outside their own country,” observed Darla Rudakubana who visited Rubavu Beach once, adding that she has only started thinking of Rwanda as a tourist attraction recently.
To visit a park, a Rwandan resident pays about Rwf 5,000 and Rwf 30,000 against US$ 60 and US$750 for foreigners in Nyungwe National Park and Volcano National Park respectively.
In museums, the entry fee for locals is Rwf 1,000 against Rwf 6,000 for foreigners. Unfortunately, there is no fee set for the historical sites, regrets Alphonse B. Umulisa, the Director General of IMNR in charge of cultural tourism. And yet, most Rwandans don’t visit these either.
But Rica Rwigamba, the Director General of tourism and conservation at RDB, says the issue of price is an excuse because someone can spend much more on a night out with friends and family.
“We are conscious to make it accessible for Rwandans when it comes to price so I don’t think it is the impediment. More awareness, education and change of culture that tourism is for foreigners is what is needed. That’s our priority and we trust it will improve further and bring more local tourists.”
Working with schools for study trips and marketing destinations are some of measures that Rwigamba thinks will increase the number of local tourists.
Her views were echoed by Paulline Uwera who works with a telecom company in Kigali.
“The only problem we are facing here is the mindset. People think tourism belongs to the wealthy that have time to waste and money to spend,” she says. This should be the case. Rwandans need to be proud of Rwanda. And what better way than to know the country’s most beautiful and historical sites.
SOME OF RWANDA’S ATTRACTIONS
*Gisozi Genocide Memorial site
*Murambi Genocide Memorial site
*Rukari Kings Palace
*Huye Ethnographic Museum
*Natural History Museum
Team Rwanda has started preparations ahead of the 2013 La Tropicale Amissa Bongo international cycling tour scheduled for January 14-20 in Gabon.
According to the national cycling federation Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Murenzi the six-man team entered residential camp in Musanze last week.
The team includes; Nathan Byukusenge, 33, Hassan Rukundo, 23, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, 20, Jean Bosco Nsengiyumva, 20, Valens Ndayisenga, 19, and Jérémie Karegeya, 20.
“We have changed strategy and decided to give the young riders a chance to compete in big competitions. I believe the team will be competitive in the tournament.
It’s a very tough competition as it attracts the best riders on the continent and beyond but we hope our team will do better this time round,” said Murenzi.
Team captain Byukusenge is the most senior rider on the team.
This year’s La Tropicale Amissa Bongo competition will bring together 15 teams, including nine African countries; Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Morocco and Rwanda.
Professional teams Europcar (France), Cofidis (France), Lampre-Merida (Italy), Lotto-Belisol (Belgium), Groupement Sportif Oil (Algeria) and Adrien Niyonshuti’s MTN-Qhubeka (South Africa) will take part.
Last year, Team Rwanda finished on 7th position out of 15 teams and secured 3rd position in Africa countries behind Eritrea and Morocco.