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Rwanda’s Eurobond Oversubscribed

Rwanda’s debut US$400Million Eurobond has been over subscribed, a lead banker has revealed saying, “its well over subscribed as you can imagine”.

An investor source told media that the order book was $3 billion, or 7.5 times the issue size.

The 10-year dollar bond was issued on Thursday with a 6.875% yield, a lead banker said. That was at the tighter end of Rwanda’s final guidance of 6.875-7 %.

Investors were attracted by Rwanda’s strongly growing economy, low debt and recent political stability.

President Paul Kagame has been commended for presiding over Rwanda’s recovery after the 1994 genocide against the tutsi that claimed over a million lives.

Economic growth averaged 8.2% from 2006 to 2012 and the International Monetary Fund projects growth of 7.6% this year.

Rwanda’s debt levels are equivalent to 23.3 % of gross domestic product in 2012 and Inflation is in single digits.

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US HAILS RWANDA FOR DOUBLE LIFE EXPECTANCY, LOW MATERNAL MORTALITY

The United States has praised the government of Rwanda for its tremendous strides in improving the lives of Rwandans by increasing the rate of life expectancy for its citizens and reducing the maternal mortality.

William J. Burns,

Speaking at the Africa Health Forum in Washington DC on Friday, the US Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns said that the country is on track to meet many of the Millenium Development goals despite challenges the country faced after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

In his key note address, the Deputy Secretary of state said that: “Rwanda, a country devastated by genocide less than two decades ago, is today on track to meet many of the Millennium Development Goals – life expectancy has doubled, maternal mortality and annual child deaths more than halved, and deaths from HIV, TB, and malaria have dropped by 80percent.”

The US diplomat went on to thank the current African leadership for the dramatic transformation of the continent.

“We gather here today amidst a dramatic transformation of the African continent from a region once defined largely by its problems, to a region defined increasingly by its possibilities… from a region afflicted by conflict, crisis, and impoverishment to a region known more and more for its economic growth, expanding democratic governance, and enhanced health and human development,” said William J. Burns.

He emphasized that as the continent evolves, and as governments take on greater leadership and responsibility for their own future, the nature of assistance and cooperation from the international community should evolve as well – from a donor-recipient relationship to more of a partnership.

“This partnership – based on principles of country ownership, shared responsibility, and mutual respect – allows donors and partner countries to better meet the needs of the country’s population. Where transparency, good governance, and accountability are enshrined in law and in practice – our joint investments will yield more effective, more efficient, and ultimately more sustainable outcomes.

This is why sustainability and shared responsibility are two foundational principles of President Obama’s Policy Directive on Global Development and our global health diplomacy strategy.”

The US Deputy secretary of State told delegates that United States commitment to global health is strong, citing President Obama’s budget request for a $1.65 billion contribution to the Global Fund in fiscal year 2014 as US’s historically high level of support.

The Forum was attended by Ministers and representatives of Ministries of Finance and Health over two dozen African countries.

Rwanda is globally hailed for presenting a unique case in development and in the progress towards attaining the MDGs.

 

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.

S. Korea to Construct ICT Innovation Centre in Kigali

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.

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.

Places to Visit in Kigali City

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!

Rwanda Insurance Industry Grows By 36 Per Cent

The insurance sector grew by 36 per cent between 2011 and 2012, according to the latest National Bank of Rwanda monetary policy and financial stability statement released by the central bank last month.

The sector’s revenues also grew progressively, for instance by December 2012, the industry recorded Rwf214b compared to Rwf157 in 2011, representing a 36 per cent expansion. The gross premiums also grew by 67 per cent, from Rwf46b in 2011 to Rwf77b in 2012.

“Last year, we tripled our advertising campaigns, which increased general public awareness about insurance services and their importance. This was more new people coming on board,” said Pamela Abonyo, the assistant manager corporate communications at Sonarwa Insurance Company while commenting on the sector’s growth.

She added that a bylaw passed by the government last year, which made it compulsory for all commercial properties to be insured against fire also played a big role as property owners were forced to take on policies.

Last year, the industry’s profitability (after taxes) also increased by 192 per cent, from Rfw12b in 2011, to Rwf35b in 2012.

“Ever since the central bank started supervising the insurance sector, the number of policy holders (clients ) increase as this protected their interests,” Bonaventure Sangano, the director for non-bank financial institutions department at the central bank, said.

He added that separation of life and non-life insurance, instituting of corporate governance structures, coupled with latest licensing of a number of insurance companies, boosted capitalisation and ensured efficient management.

“The fact that last year in July, the government made a general salary increment for most of its employees may have partly contributed to the general increase in subscription to insurance services,” noted the National Bank of Rwanda governor, John Rwangombwa, at a recent media conference.

By the end of 2011, the sector had six non-life insurers, three life and two public insurers, totaling to 11 insurers in the entire market. However, by the end of 2012 the number had increased to 152 insurance agents, six insurance brokers and nine loss adjusters.

The liquidity position of the insurers also improved as the current ratio stands at 241 per cent.

The return on assets increased from 9 per cent to 17 per cent, and the return on equity from 13 per cent to 25 per cent, according to this periodic statement review

The pension sector is comprised of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF/CSR), which merged with Rama to form Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) and about 40 private pension schemes.The National Social Security Fund covers largely salaried workers representing eight per cent of the working population in Rwanda.

The pension sector assets increased by 74 per cent from Rwf192b recorded during the quarter that ended in December 2011, to Rwf334b recorded in the quarter that ended in December 2012, this excludes private pension schemes.

In tiny Rwanda, staggering health gains set new standard in Africa

When Agnes Binagwaho began her career as a doctor in the slums of Kigali, Rwanda, in 1996, she worked in one of the most precarious health environments in the world.

The rickety public hospitals that had not been destroyed in the genocide two years before were filled with AIDS patients. But drugs – and doctors – were scarce or nonexistent. Meanwhile, Rwandans were dying in massive numbers from malnutrition, malaria, and tuberculosis.

“We could do nothing for them,” she remembers. “We didn’t have drugs even for ordinary diseases.”

19 years later, however, Rwanda is on pace to become the only country in sub-Saharan Africa to meet all of its health-related Millennium Development Goals, and the tiny pocket of Central Africa has posted some of the world’s most staggering health gains in the past decade, outpacing nations that spend far more per capita on healthcare.

And Dr. Binagwaho, who once stuffed her suitcases full of basic medicinal supplies to take home to Kigali whenever she traveled abroad, is now leading that charge as minister of health.

In an article published earlier this year in the British Medical Journal (BMI), a team of doctors and researchers working in Rwanda laid out the country’s swift rise.

Between 1994 and 2012, they wrote, the country’s life expectancy climbed from 28 years to 56 and the percentage of the population living in poverty dropped from 77.8 percent to 44.9 percent.

In the past decade, deaths from HIV have fallen 78 percent – the single largest decline in the world during that time frame – while tuberculosis mortality has dropped 77 percent, the most significant decrease in Africa.

Of course, the starting point in Rwanda’s climb was a harrowing one: In 1994, between 500,000 and 1 million people — up to 20 percent of its total population — were killed in an ethnic genocide, and some 2 million more fled. Many doctors were among the dead and exiled, and the country, including its healthcare system, was left in tatters.

That year, less than a quarter of Rwandan children received immunizations and more than 1 in 4 children were dead by their fifth birthday.

But in the years that followed, Rwanda became the darling of the international development community, a case study for how a country could use a trans-formative post-conflict period to effectively rebuild its core institutions.

As aid poured in, Rwanda’s new government channeled it into a wide variety of social programs, including healthcare. It rolled out a system of universal health insurance, doled out vaccinations and mosquito nets, and put nearly every AIDS patient on antiretrovirals.

And it did all of this in a place that still faces what the BMI article called “one of the greatest shortages of human resources for health in the world.”

Indeed, the country of 11 million has only 625 doctors in its public hospitals nationwide. But there are also now more than 45,000 “community health workers,” trained to treat basic health issues and help ensure adherence to drug regimens in rural areas far from hospitals and clinics.

As a result of these efforts, the probability that a child will die before the age of five has fallen by 70 percent and is now half the regional average. Some 108,000 people now receive antiretroviral treatment for AIDS – a figure approaching universal access.

But as the healthcare system has lurched forward, it has also come under attack for its heavy reliance on foreign aid: Nearly half of the government’s health budget comes from external funders.

Unlike many other countries, however, Rwanda has used these cash infusions to build institutions, not merely fund programs, says Peter Drobac, the Rwanda director for Partners in Health, a public health nonprofit, and one of the authors of the BMI paper.

Indeed, Rwanda spends no more on health than many of its neighbors, ranking 22nd among 49 sub-Saharan African countries in per capita health spending. That comes to about $55.50 per person each year, which Drobac says is a “tremendous value for money.”

But Rwanda’s government has ambitiously called for the country to be aid-free by 2020, an undertaking that would require a massive pivot away from its current healthcare funding model. In reality, that goal may be decades off, but in the meantime, officials have built the scaffolding for a sturdy healthcare system, Drobac says.

“The lesson we have learned is that you cannot solve every [health] problem at once,” Binagwaho says. “So you do the best with what you have, and you don’t leave anyone out.”

Know Your Heroes

Photo: New Times

Remembering a fallen hero (file photo).

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.