Insight into Rwanda’s business environment.
Rwanda is opposing United Nations plans to use surveillance drones in eastern Congo until there is a full assessment of their use, saying it does not want Africa to become a laboratory for foreign intelligence devices.
According to reports, UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told the Security Council that the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo planned to deploy three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the country’s conflict-torn eastern provinces.
The mission, known as MONUSCO, has wanted surveillence drones for eastern Congo since 2008.
A request had previously been made by the former head of the UN peacekeeping force for helicopters, drones and other items to improve real-time intelligence gathering.
While the request was never met, the idea generated new interest last year after M23 rebels began taking over large swathes of eastern Congo.
Aided by UN peacekeepers, Congolese troops have been battling the M23, who UN experts and Congolese officials say are backed by Rwanda and Uganda, for nearly a year in the mineral-rich east of the country.
Rwanda, which denies allegations it has been supporting M23, made clear it considered Mr Ladsous’s call for deploying drones premature.
Rwanda’s deputy UN ambassador Olivier Nduhungirehe said it was vital to know before deploying drones what the implications would be for individual countries’ sovereignty.
“It is not wise to use a device on which we don’t have enough information,” Mr Nduhungirehe said.
“Africa shall not become a laboratory for intelligence devices from overseas.”
Other diplomats, including Russia, China and some from Europe, have also expressed reservations.
They said there were unanswered questions about who would receive the information from the drones and how widely it would be disseminated.
They also expressed discomfort at the idea of the United Nations becoming an active gatherer of intelligence.
France, the United States, Britain and other council members are supportive of the idea of using drones.
Fireworks lit the sky above Gikondo Expo Ground on friday to signal the launch of the Prosperity Expo in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Rwanda Patriotic Front-Inkotanyi.
The exciting event was attended by high government officials, RPF members and private sector representatives among others. Participants were excited by renowned entertainers such as Jean Paul Samputu.
According to officials of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), the expo has attracted about 500 exhibitors that will be showcasing different achievements attained under the leadership of the RPF.
The expo reflects different achievements in many sectors such as in ICT, financial institutions, agro processing, SME promotion, governance, health and education among others.
Faustin Mbundu, the chairman of PSF, explained that the Expo is an event that brings together the business community to celebrate what they have achieved under the good leadership of RPF that created for them a favorable business environment.
“This is special in that people are celebrating 18 years of success attributed to 25 years since the creation of RPF which leads the government here,” he told The Rwanda Focus. “RPF created a favorable business environment to flourish. Business people can now run their businesses in any part of the country in security.”
He mentioned that there has been the establishment of the Public Private Dialogue where both public officials and private sector meet to discuss different issues in order to get harmony for sustainable development.
Prior the Expo, different activities where youth have been helping vulnerable people to improve their lives were organized. Other activities such as football games and entertainment events continue across the country. All these activities will be closed on December 20 while celebrating RFF’s silver jubilee, according to François Ngarambe, the Secretary General of RPF.
Ngarambe, who officially opened the expo, said that they opened the ground to business people so that they can showcase their achievements as they are committed to make private sector an engine of the national economic growth.
“RPF believes that private sector is the basis of the national wealth growth,” Ngarambe pointed out. “That is why we have always been encouraging business people and RPF members in particular to strive for excellence so that we can increase our production.”
The expo, which is scheduled to close on December 18, is held under the theme “Governance, Prosperity and Dignity to Our People” reflects the broad line of RPF leadership.
“Good leadership is a key pillar to progress,” Ngarambe said. “You can’t get any progress without good leadership. We have got great development over the years thanks to good leadership of RPF since its creation 25 years ago.”
He noted that the idea behind is to become self-reliant in order to uphold Rwanda’s dignity as it is envisaged in the RPF manifesto.
Rwanda is planning an investment of up to $1 billion for the development of up to 300 MW in geothermal power generation capacity by 2017 with Japan, China and European interests in supporting development.
A recent article discusses the ambitious plans of African Rwanda to develop its geothermal energy resources. From currently 69 MW of overall electricity generation capacity installed, the country is in dire need to expand its power generation rapidly to fuel growing demand of not only focused on economic development but also to bring electricity to the 86% of its population that does not have access to electricity yet.
Rwanda is located on the East African Rift Valley, one of the world’s largest geothermal resources covering a wide array of country across Eastern Africa.
The potential for power generation is estimated at about 15,000 MW, with only Kenya and Ethiopia currently producing power from geothermal energy.
Rwanda’s region with most geothermal potential is the country’s Virunga volcanic zones in the north and hot springs in the western part of the nation.
Rwanda’s Energy Ministry is targeting a geothermal power generation capacity of 310 MW with an investment need of $935 million.
The cost for initial three exploration wells and preparatory work is expected to be around $30 million. Other energy sources such as hydropower, methane gas, solar etc. are also being explored to bring the overall power generation capacity of the country to 1,000 MW by 2017.
There are several countries that have raised interest in supporting Rwanda. Japan has recently sent experts on a fact finding mission with Japan’s International Cooperation Agency (JICA) willing to support the country to utilize its geothermal resources.
China is also showing interest and the country already has signed a “a contract with a Chinese firm, China Petroleum Technology and Development Corporation (CPTDC) to supply drilling materials to the tune of $7 million.”
Initial scientific studies on the potential for geothermal energy utilization has been carried out by Auckland Uniservices Ltd. from New Zealand.
Last year, the Belgian Development Agency also reported interest in spending $74 million by 2014 to explore Rwanda’s geothermal energy potential. The hope is that this work attracts investors to Rwanda by conducting drilling to prove that about 300 megawatts of energy can be extracted from Rwanda’s geothermal sources.
President Kagame today received in his office Charlie Denson, President of Nike Brand Inc. and his delegation.
Speaking after the meeting, Charlie Denson said:
“We are working with the Rwandan government on what we call ‘The Girl Effect”, a project aimed at empowering and building the confidence of young girls of Rwanda around education, economics and health. We have been carrying out a pilot project over the last eight months and we are now looking at rolling out in scale all across the country. There is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm by girls to take control of their destiny”
The Minister of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho said:
“The progress of the pilot project is quite promising. The objective is to empower girls to believe themselves and take control of their lives through family planning and economic entrepreneurship. We focus on girls from the age of 12 because at this age where they start to think and to reflect on themselves. The next step is to customize and include formal curriculum.”
Senior tax officials from Rwanda and Burundi, over the weekend, signed a memorandum of understanding to operationalise the one border post at Nemba in Bugesera District.
The deal was signed at the Nemba border post by Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) Commissioner General, Ben Kagarama Bahizi and his Burundian counterpart, Kieran Holmes of Burundi Revenue Authority.
The development is expected to bolster trade across borders and reduce the time spent on clearing at the border posts.
Under the one border post, travellers will access services at one spot unlike in the past when documents were processed at two locations in both countries.
“It will reduce the number of stops by combining border control activities of the two countries at a single location,” Kagarama noted.
The RRA boss added that it would lead to greater inter-agency and cross-border cooperation between the two countries.
He urged the business community from the two countries and other East African Community member states to take advantage of the economic reforms being introduced in the region, to fully enjoy the benefits of economic integration.
On his part, Holmes also stressed that the one stop border concept would reduce the time spent by traders and other travellers in clearing their documents.
He observed that the objective of the two EAC member countries in facilitating trade at Nemba has been achieved.
“Harmonisation of customs and border operations is key in the regional integration process…by removing barriers and reducing the cost of doing business,” Holmes noted.
Under the deal, the two countries will also share border control data that is useful in border operations through the use of Information and Communication Technology.
Other areas of cooperation include conducting of joint technical training of border control officers so as to achieve common levels of conceptual understanding of the one stop border post operations.
Eugene Higiro, the private sector representative in Bugesera District welcomed the development, saying that traders were facing unnecessary delays in processing documents.
The establishment of the one border post at Nemba will be followed by another at Kagitumba at the Rwanda-Uganda border and Rusumo at the Rwanda-Tanzania border.
All the initiatives are being jointly undertaken by sister revenue authorities within the EAC bloc to significantly reduce the cost of doing business by removing existing trade barriers.
The establishment of the one stop border post at Gasenyi 1/Nemba border post is financed by the African Development Bank.
Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara the Defence Attache at the Rwanda High CommissionUK gave a presentation at the African Agency in Peace, Conflict and Intervention one day seminar held at Birmingham University as part of the British International Studies Association (BISA) Africa and International Studies working group’s seminar series on African Agency in international politics.
The seminar explored the role of African agency in shaping both African and international responses to conflict and insecurity on the continent.
The Presentation: Military Integration – the Rwanda case study by Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara (Rwanda HighCommission, UK)
We are meeting on the 17th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide – a key example of the failure of the international community and Africa to act and a lesson which may well be informing today’s response to crises in Libya and Côte d’Ivoire.
The Rwandan process of military integration before, during and after the
conflict has lessons for peace-building processes. Of three models of military integration (consent model;complete demobilization model; and coercive model) Rwanda most closely followed the consent model with ex-combatants fully integrated into the post-conflict army, although in this case the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) began this process before the end of hostilities.
For Rwanda this was centred on the traditional concept of Ingando: emphasising national interests above sectional ones and providing a focus
for dialogue, emotional un-burdening of combatants on both sides and accepting collective responsibility for the tragedy.
A central aspect of this case was the local ownership and management of the process, with a limited role for international agencies. Ownership and management in this sense referred to: the need for home-grown peace-building processes; making peace a positive-sum game; the need for local capacity in order to be able to say no to a paternalistic and patronising international community; and that the process should not be one of scapegoating but of collective responsibility.
The following questions and responses were raised in the discussion:
– Whose responsibility is it to develop capacity – society, the state or external actors?
– The role of the military is (and needs) changing from the colonial conception of military as guards of power to a more collective understanding of security in society
– The extent to which civil society can be brought into peace-building processes and the critical need for stability as a prerequisite for broadening out such processes
– Critical need for leveraging agencies that are often excluded or marginalised, particularly women, who can make a major difference to the dynamics of conflict resolution
For details of the full presentation or to discuss the presentation, Please email Gen. Frank Rusagara at email@example.com