Tag Archives: Rwanda High Commission

Czech Republic Investors Eye Rwanda

A group of investors from the Czech Republic are set to invest in a range of businesses in the country.

The 30-member delegation led by Jan Kohout, the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, was in the country last week as they explored potential areas of investment in the country.

During their visit, the group visited Rwanda Development Board (RDB) where they were assured of an enabling business environment in Rwanda.

The group, which also had a business meeting last Tuesday with several government officials and the Rwanda business community, is interested in investing in the a variety of areas, including: agriculture, services, manufacturing, energy, import and export promotion, and aviation.

“We have chosen Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Ghana as our economic missions in Africa and I am optimistic that our business community will find various investment opportunities in these countries,” said Kohout in the meeting.

He added that the objective of coming to explore potential areas of investment in the country is due to the fact that Rwanda offers potential business opportunities since the country has continued to perform well in World Bank ‘Doing Business’ reports.

Borivoj Minar, a member of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, said that although it was their first time in Rwanda, they have developed a strong feeling of establishing businesses in Rwanda after holding meetings with government officials about various business opportunities.

“We are looking forward to partner with Rwanda towards promoting trade, innovation and entrepreneurship between the two countries,” Minar said.

RDB Chief Operations Officer (COO), Claire Akamanzi, said that Czech investors are looking to African markets where growth is high, and Rwanda was chosen as one of their destinations.

“Many countries are choosing our country as a potential area of investment and this shows that Rwanda is one of the fastest growing economies on the continent. We are happy about that and ready to offer them a conducive environment that will enable them to efficiently and effectively do their respective businesses in Rwanda,” Akamanzi said.

She said that RDB will continue working together with the Czech chamber of commerce in order allow many investors from the Czech Republic to come and invest in Rwanda.

“Although we haven’t done much with Czech Republic in terms of investments, the coming of such investors shows the beginning of their business journey with Rwanda,” Akamanzi said.

The group also toured Kigali Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) which the government put aside as place for industrial zone for the national and foreign investors.

Statistics indicate that RDB registered investments worth $1.2 billion (about Frw 800 billion) between January and June this year.

The investments represent 58 domestic projects, worth $ 509.1 million, 22 foreign projects, worth $406.9m, and nine joint ventures worth $338.1 million.

While talking to the visiting delegation, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba said: “Our economy has responded considerably well to business reforms, we have grown at an average rate of about 8 per cent over the last decade and we welcome you to Rwanda to explore areas of your business interests,”

According to 2013 Baseline Profitability Index by the Foreign Policy Magazine, Rwanda was ranked fifth-best destination for investment in the world out of 102 countries surveyed. The global study indicated that high returns of investment are accessible and to a great degree, retrievable to investors in Rwanda.

The 2013World Bank Doing Business Report also ranked Rwanda the third easiest place to do business in Sub-Saharan Africa, after Mauritius and South Africa.

Rwanda scores another first in region with 4G rollout

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.

The new technology is expected to offer high-speed Internet and make Rwanda the East African Community leader in information and communications technology.

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.

Rwanda Receives U.S. $39.44 Million From AFDB for Skills Development

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) Board yesterday approved $39.44 million to help in developing the Skills, Employability and Entrepreneurship Programme (SEEP) in Rwanda.

The initiative created to support specific sectors in the country’s budget of 2012/13 was mapped out in partnership with Rwanda and her development partners, according to AfDB.

The continental bank was among development partners that had frozen or cut aid to Rwanda over allegations that the latter was supporting a rebel group in DRC – which Kigali vehemently denied. Most of these donors have since released their financial support.

The SEEP aims to boost Rwanda’s policy reforms for inclusive growth and poverty eradication programmes.

Negatu Makonnen, the AfDB Rwanda resident representative, said “the SEEP beneficiaries will include youth, women and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Reducing critical gaps skills:

“The bank’s plan is to directly contribute to inclusive growth and reduction of the Balance of Payments and fiscal deficits that will lead to a reduction in Rwanda’s high dependence on foreign aid over the medium term,” he noted.

Makonnen observed that young people and women comprise 40 per cent and 52 per cent of the population respectively while SMEs account for over 90 per cent of private sector establishments and employ the majority of the population.

According to SEEP, the programme targets to reduce critical skills gaps and improve the relevance of education in relation to the labour market.

Recently AfDB gave Development Bank of Rwanda with US$8 million Line of Credit (LoC) to support BRD lending to the agriculture, agro-processing, telecommunication, education and tourism infrastructure sectors in Rwanda.

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’s Economic Miracle

December 13, 2012

Rwanda has been getting a lot of attention lately, but not the good kind. With the possible appointment of Susan Rice to replace Hilary Clinton as US Secretary of State, many media outlets are digging up one of the more embarrassing moments in recent history, as the Western world stood idle while a genocide unfolded in this small Central African nation. In addition, the recent siege of Goma by the M23 rebels has attracted a certain level of suspicion over Rwanda’s motives in the region, while others have defended its stance on the conflict.

But leaving these two angles aside for the moment, all this coverage has ignored a more interesting story: that the Rwandan government has actually implemented ideas that work, resulting in a small economic miracle.  Should other African governments pay attention?

Having moved beyond the horror of the 1994 genocide, even if the West has not, this nation of 10-million is experiencing fast growth based on tourism and services despite a near total absence of mineral wealth. Averaging above 8% GDP growth for the past five years, more than one million Rwandans have been lifted out of poverty, according to the Rwanda Household Living Conditions Survey.

Unlike some other African nations who have struggled despite enormous mining exports and oil production, Rwanda’s business and service sectors account for two-thirds of GDP, having replaced agriculture. Tourism is a key part of the service sector, and multinationals are beginning to pay attention. Recently it was announced that Hotel giant firm Marriott is building one of its first three hotels in sub-Saharan Africa, with a 5-star, 250-room hotel in Kigali.

Marriott is eager to cash in on the promise of booming services, transportation, and logistics industries in the country, where thanks to strong education programs put in place by the government, foreign investors enjoy a particularly vibrant talent pool of recent graduates and experienced workers.

Rwanda has had more success than others in translating its economic growth toward solving social issues. The country has recorded a significant boost in the health sector where infant mortality dropped from 86 per 1000 live births in 2005 to 50 per 1000 live births in 2011. The strides made in the health sector have also spread to the use of contraceptives in a country with a very high population density, providing an improved public safety net against the threat of infectious diseases.

Infrastructure has been improving quickly. Households on the electricity grid have jumped from 91,000 in 2006 to 215,000 in 2011, according to government statistics.

Access to education improved sharply with primary school completion rates for 2011 reaching 79 percent for boys and 82 percent for girls, much higher than the overall targets of 59 percent and 58 percent respectively, while participation in secondary level education doubled from 2006 to 2011.

Instead of absorbing more and more donor aid without any visible improvement, Rwanda is actually taking less and less.
In 1995, donor accounted for 100% of the state budget, while today it is less than 40%.

The country is also trying to make some inroad in the technology sector, as Carnegie Mellon University has already opened a computer science training institute in Kigali, where ambitious young Rwandese gather to push forward an African innovation hub. The idea is that the university will be able to attract the brightest and most promising students and help build and support the nation’s IT sector to study in their own countries.

Rwanda is described by many experts as the most well connected country in Africa, boasting the fastest internet speeds on the continent. Thanks to this advantage, the government landed a crucial foreign investor with Visa, which launched a partnership with the state to develop a cashless economy.

Undoubtedly, many challenges remain for the political development of the country. The opposition complains of unfair treatment, while the authorities are often accused of meddling in the neighboring conflicts in the Congo, where untold wealths of diamond, gold, copper, and cobalt deposits are attracting many potential suitors from across the region and beyond, who are all positioning to be part of the opportunity.

But judging strictly by the social and economic progress achieved in the past decade, something is going right in Kigali, and that’s no small feat.

The Lives Changed by Hang’Umurimo

When Remy Uwamahoro heard about the Hang’Umurimo programme, he immediately knew it was the right time for him to seize the opportunity and grow his business.

The 33-years-old resident of Gasaka sector, Nyamagabe district, had always dreamt of running a big enterprise but had always failed to access loans due to lack of collateral.

The man, who dealt in timber, had an idea of venturing into the production of furniture to increase his revenues.

“I was in need of money, but banks had refused to offer me a loan because I did not have enough collateral for them to trust me,” Uwamahoro decries.

And, when Hang’Umurimo programme was introduced, he smiled. He sat down, took a pen and paper and, detail after detail, he wrote down his business plan.

After a thorough analysis by a panel of selected economists, his business project emerged the second in the whole Nyamagabe district, qualifying him to receive financial support under the programme.

Hang’Umurimo is a programme which aims at creating more than 200,000 off farm jobs annually.

Eligible candidates under the programme consist of two categories: established entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Those successful from each category qualify for loans of between 70 percent and 75 percent from the Business Development Fund (BDF). BDF is a government-owned fund established in every district to fund enterprises.

For Uwamahoro, the programme came as good news and a wonderful opportunity to make his dreams a reality.

When his project was presented to FINA Bank, it did not hesitate to offer him a loan.

Uwamahoro was granted a Rwf 25 million loan and received the first instalment last September while he expects the second this month; enough to fund his project.

“With the money, I bought four machines and started a joiner’s workshop,” he says.

And, though his investment is yet to make interests, he expects them sooner.

“I have extended my activities.

“From zero employees I had in the past, I now employ 21 people on permanent basis,” he says.

“My project is growing and I hope I will start to yield fruits sooner,” Uwamahoro optimistically notes.

Hang’Umurimo programme was introduced with the aim assisting aspiring entrepreneurs to access finance to fund their projects, and thus, generate jobs for members of the community.

Its rationale derives from the fact that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) not only create jobs but play a vital role in socio-economic development and are increasingly seen as central to creating and developing an entrepreneurial culture.

While launching the second phase of the programme in the Southern Province on Thursday, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Trade and Industry Emmanuel Hategeka noted that SMEs contribute significantly to employment creation, income generation and stimulation of growth in both urban and rural areas.

David Cameron and Jonathan Agnew come out to bat for Christopher Shale

David Cameron and Jonathan Agnew are to be patrons of a foundation to build a cricket stadium in Rwanda in memory of Christopher Shale

David Cameron’s friend Christopher Shale died of heart attack, say family

Christopher Shale  Photo: INS

By Tim Walker

6:30AM GMT 12 Dec 2011

David Cameron and Jonathan Agnew didn’t immediately appear to hit it off when the Prime Minister appeared on Test Match Special during the summer. “Some people would suggest that, instead of sitting around watching cricket, you should be running the country,” Aggers had chided him on-air.

Still, the unlikely pair are to come out to bat for Christopher Shale, Cameron’s constituency chairman, who died of a heart attack at Glastonbury at the age of 56 in June. I can disclose that Cameron and Aggers have agreed to become patrons of the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation, which will build the first ever cricket stadium in Rwanda. Shale had been passionate about the African country and had been a founding father of Project Umubano, a group of Conservative Party supporters who travel to Rwanda every summer to work with charities devoted to improving the lives of survivors of the country’s 1994 genocide.

Shale’s sons, Alby and Edo, who are supervising the foundation, are delighted that their foundation has attracted two such prominent patrons. “Christopher loved Rwanda and he loved cricket,” they tell me. “The Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation is a fitting tribute to his memory.”

I disclosed in July how, on the fifth anniversary of Umubano – the word means “friendship” – the Tory volunteers had, for the first time, beaten the Rwanda national cricket team by an impressive seven wickets. Alby Shale was man of the match with 45 runs off 19 balls.

Cameron had hoped to join the volunteers this year, but had to curtail his trip to Africa in July in order to return to Westminster for the phone hacking debate. He was unfazed, by the way, by Aggers’s googly to him on Test Match Special. “Oh, I don’t think anyone would begrudge me an afternoon at The Oval,” the PM had cheerfully replied.

100,000 Rwandans benefit from new power plants

Kigali, Rwanda — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 01 November 2011 – In a bid to increase the access to electricity among the rural population of Rwanda, three new micro-hydro power plants have been inaugurated in the Rubavu and Rutsiro districts of the country.

Camera crew shooting one of Rwanda’s micro-hydro power plant

The three plants ‒ at Keya in the Rubavu district, and Cyimbili and Nkora in the Rutsiro district ‒ were constructed through Belgian-Rwandan collaboration, and have the capacity to produce a combined 3.2 MW of electricity, which is fed into the national grid to increase the power output by 5%.

According to Marc Pecsteen, the Belgian ambassador to Rwanda, more than 300 households were connected upon completion of the transmission lines, making more than 100,000 inhabitants profit directly or indirectly from the new extension lines in the two districts.

The ambassador observed, however, that the energy generated was still significantly low compared to demand, yet he remained optimistic about the impact it would have on local residents, especially for social and economic development.

“Without electricity, living conditions cannot be improved, vaccines against diseases cannot be kept in acceptable conditions, children will not be able to study in a conducive environment, business cannot be developed,” Pecsteen mentioned. “I am convinced that the local population is already enjoying these benefits, and hope that it will lead to increased and more diverse local income-generating activities.”

The plants and transmission lines stretching more than 60 km, have been constructed through a project co-funded by the government of Rwanda and the government of Belgium at a cost of more than US$15 million.

Infrastructure minister Albert Nsengiyumva says this is in line with government commitment to increase production and distribution of electricity as an engine to foster socio-economic development. According to the minister, only 15% of the Rwandan population has access to electricity. To overcome this situation, the government has set out clear targets of 1000MW and 50% of connections countrywide by 2017.

To achieve this target, development of renewable energy such as solar energy, methane gas energy, micro-hydro power plants and geothermal energy are alternatives that are to be expanded.

Rwanda to get $142m loan for methane-to-energy plant

Rwanda to get $142m loan for methane-to-energy plant

From News & Views

Lake Kivu

International investment management company BNY Mellon has been appointed by ContourGlobal as corporate trustee for the loan financing of its $142m methane-to-power plant in Rwanda.

The development is being funded by the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, the Netherlands Development Finance Company, the African Development Bank and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Nations. It is the largest single private investment in Rwanda’s history.

The project will remove and process otherwise hazardous methane gas trapped in the waters of Lake Kivu that will then be used to produce electricity to be sold to the country’s Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority.

William Barry, vice president of business development for ContourGlobal, said, ‘We are delighted to have the BNY Mellon team involved in the transaction and for their important contributions to the closing and ongoing administration of the financing. Their experience of dealing with complex documentation and numerous interested parties helped ensure that everything was successfully completed within a tight timescale.’

Michael Adams, managing director of BNY Mellon Corporate Trust, added, ‘BNY Mellon serves as an impartial link between borrowers and lenders in infrastructure projects. Our independence and objectivity has been a major factor in winning mandates in a field where lenders to projects have traditionally also performed the facility agent role. The KivuWatt project financing is one of the most innovative in the history of electricity generation and we are pleased to have been part of this process and the benefits it will bring the people of Rwanda.’

Building Relationships- the way forward for Rwanda

The Rwanda High Commission and Suffolk Council have certainly been breaking bread over the past year! The relationship started when Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk was chosen to host the first ever Rwandan Olympic Team in 2012

Since then, the High Commissioner and other Diplomats at the High Commission have worked closely with Suffolk to keep up the relationship

One of the best relationships formed have been with King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds where the pupils are overwhelmingly enthusiastic to learn about the country, take on the culture , partner and visit schools in Rwanda

Below are a few of the events that have taken place with the school;

King Edward VI School and Hardwick Middle School students were excited to be special guests of Rwanda House (The Rwandan High Commission). They were treated to a tour of the embassy, learning about the famous hand-made Peace Baskets as well as other arts, crafts and a sample of traditional Rwandan dancing at the World Travel Market. They were particularly taken by the connoisseur coffee which Wynn Rees, our Fair trade ambassador at King Edward VI has taken to serving to all our guests at school, and will be looking to source a variety of Rwandan products for sale in school. One of the projects our students will be working on is creating markets for Rwandan products in the town, as well as further afield through an online business.

Spearheaded by our special guests from the Rwandan embassy and diaspora (names), Rwanda week at King Edward VI School saw an explosion of colour and celebration. Students learnt the art of Rwandan bead making, sampled traditional food, hosted charity sports events and held a showcase event for 7 partner schools (some 200 primary school students), focussed around the Olympic and Paralympic values and the link with our Rwandan Olympians. Students watched videos and listened to stories of Rwanda from people with real experiences. The showcase was the launch pad for a town-wide poetry competition to be judged by Waterstones, the prize being a sightseeing trip to London including visits to the Olympic Park and Rwanda House.

Charity work and Rwandan – English school links:
Engalynx and Rwanda Aid charities were represented and a cheque for £2004.27 was presented to Rwanda Aid. Both charities support sustainable development in Rwandan schools. An impressive piece of international liaison between Mururu School (King Edward VI School’s partner school) and Rwanda Aid enabled children in Bury St Edmunds to see video footage of Mururu  school showing a “virtual tour” of their school, a personal address from the Headteacher and a group “hello” to King Edward VI School students. We hope to send King Edward VI staff and students out to Rwanda to work alongside Rwandan students in sports leadership, dance, music, drama and art projects as well as literacy and maths.

English and PE lessons
PE lessons focussed around how the government in Rwanda is using sport to develop solidarity, reconciliation and relationships. Three hundred and fifty students fourteen year old (year 9) students developing poetry styles in English lessons through the stimulus of the film “Hotel Rwanda” and the Olympic Values

Other events
Other events included film screenings, African drum workshops, displays of Rwandan arts and crafts, assemblies tracing the recent history, and focussing on the current status of Rwanda as a beacon of good practice in Africa.