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Before yesterdayThe Rwanda Focus

Entrepreneurship Week to inspire youth into business

By Triphomus Muyagu
global-entrepreneurship-week-2016

Organizers of the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016 Rwanda chapter give explanations on the initiative. (photo Triphomus Muyagu)

The Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016 Rwanda chapter that will run from November 14 to 20 aims at inspiring Rwandan youth to become entrepreneurs.

During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions in 160 countries inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity.

Pamela Munyana, the country director of Idea for Africa, which is among the organizers of the week, said they wish youth to take entrepreneurship as a career to become job creators and address unemployment.

“We want them to think about business when they’re young. However, we have observed some challenges youth face such as lack of innovation, access to finance, creativity, critical thinking and access to markets. During this week, we will meet a big number of youth and see how we can look for tangible solutions for their challenges,” Munyana said.

Livingstone Nkuusi, branches coordinator at the Business Development Fund (BDF), added that entrepreneurship is about problem-solving, noting that they want to attract many people into entrepreneurship and that during that week, they will link youth to potential collaborators, mentors and investors.

“We will assist youth on how to get markets, how they can use their small savings and start business and also visiting successful people in business,” Nkuusi said.

Pacifique Uwineza, the director of the Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs at the Private Sector Federation (PSF), said they want youth to turn theory they are taught at school into practice, and that during the week they will talk about business, opportunities available in business, tax issues and standards.

Malawian officials visit RNP on anti-corruption program

By Staff reporter
malawi-corruption-rnp

The Malawian delegation speaking with senior RNP officers. (courtesy photo)

Two officials from the Office of Public Officers Declarations of Malawi have visited the Rwanda National Police (RNP) as part of their working visit to learn from Rwanda’s success in combating corruption.

Assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Jean Nepo Mbonyumuvunyi, commissioner for Inspectorate of Services and Ethics, who received the officials alongside ACP Celestin Twahirwa, commissioner for community policing, detailed to them on the “RNP role and strategy in preventing and fighting fraud and corruption.”

“Corruption is viewed as an enemy of the rule of law and a major obstacle to protection and promotion of human rights and development as it destroys the proper functioning of both public and private institutions and that’s why fighting it is part of the political agenda backed by strong public support,” ACP Mbonyumuvunyi said.

Graft, he said, manifests in various forms including bribery in form of money, moral, gifts, sexual and gratuities among others. This, he said, can lead to lack of public trust and confidence and undermines operational effectiveness of security services.

As part of the RNP to implement legal tools and policies, he explained, the force established an anti-corruption unit and run campaigns in partnership with other public and private players in the anti-corruption sector.

“Any police officer caught in such malpractices is penalized accordingly including dismissal from the force, because there is zero tolerance to whoever is implicated in graft regardless of the rank or seniority.”

Public support through community policing, establishment of communication channels like toll-free lines – 997 for anti-corruption and 3511 to report police officers – twitter, facebook, online crime reporting, he said, have supported the police efforts in responding to the vice through information sharing.

According to ACP Twahirwa, the use of IT in policing has limited individual contact with police officers like in registration and processing of driver’s license while the created disciplinary unit within the force, internal audits and ethical trainings and standards keep police officers in check.

Christopher Tukura, the director of Public Officers Declarations in Malawi, said that as a new agency which has been in existence for two years, they saw Rwanda as one of their best learning countries to “add value to the anti-corruption fight in Malawi” as they plan to roll-out most of their operations.

“During one of our interactions with the World Bank and EU and our online search, we discovered that Rwanda has made tremendous progress in the fight against corruption. International agencies have ranked Rwanda’s fight against corruption very highly,” Tukura said.

“We came here as a fellow country and Africans to see how better you are doing and to learn from you. We visited the Office of Ombudsman and they informed us that this fight can’t be won by one institution. So, our coming here at Rwanda Police was to learn the progress you have made as the police force in the fight against corruption.”

“We are impressed by the collaboration by various institutions in the anti-corruption sector to progressively deliver results, but also internal measures within police to deal with corrupt officers.”

RNP also signed a partnership agreement with the Office of Ombudsman, Transparency International (TI-Rwanda), all districts and the Rwanda Youth Volunteers in Community Policing (RYVCP), partly to join efforts against corruption.

Three held in Rwf 1 billion tax scam

By Staff reporter
Using EBMs is still a challenge to many traders

The suspects are alleged to have manipulated EBMs to run ghost companies. (file photo)

The police has presented three men who were arrested in connection with evading taxes amounting to Rwf 1 billion.

The suspects are alleged to have manipulated electronic billing machines (EBM) to run ghost companies that they would later use to claim for VAT refund from Rwanda Revenue Authority.

The suspects are identified as Cliaque M., Jean Claude R. and Abdul Karim R.

Besides the refund claims, the trio would also issue false EBM receipts to traders without items sold and would get commissions on every false receipt issued, according to Police preliminary investigations.

They are alleged to have ran the scam using ghost companies registered as Union Trading Company, Beyi Layisi Company and Quality Business company.

“For over a year, they weren’t selling or buying a single unit, yet their billing machine indicates that they had amassed taxes…besides, they were claims of VAT refund from these suspects under the ghost firms as well as refund companies that had acquired items from the trio which triggered investigations that later discovered the network,” Emmy Mbera the coordinator of EBM in RRA said.

Bayi Layisi had allegedly claimed a VAT refund of Rwf249m, Quality Business Rwf542 and Reason Trading had claimed a refund of Rwf 221million.

“Of the 12,000 EBMs so far given out, 25 so far were found to be involved in such dishonest dealings and of the 25 people who own these machines, 10 have been arrested but we are working closely with RNP to ensure all those involved are brought to justice.”

Addressing journalists at Remera police station, the Central Region police spokesman superintendent of police (SP) Emmanuel Hitayezu commended efforts of all stakeholders and the general public for their partnership in overcoming illegal business activities, and for facilitating the apprehension of fraudsters.

“This should serve as an example to those in the business community who are planning to indulge in such activities. Sooner or later we shall catch up with them and they will face the law,” he said.

Hitayezu pointed out that such activities negatively affect the country’s development agenda and warned the business community against getting involved in activities that undermine the economy.

If found guilty, the trio risks a jail sentence of up to two years and a fine equal to the evaded tax as stipulated in article 369 of the penal code.

Man arrested for torturing three children

By Staff reporter

Police on Sunday arrested a man for allegedly taking hostage three children and torturing them, because according to him they had stolen Rwf 27,500 from him.

Emmanuel G., 39, who was arrested in Nyarugenge, allegedly took hostage the three victims aged 9, 10 and 14 years on Saturday night in Nzige village, Rwamagana District, accusing them of stealing his money and a bag; he then put them in the boot of his car and drove them to Kigali.

The police spokesman for the City of Kigali, supt. Emmanuel Hitayezu said that the man, after torturing the children, took them to Rwampala health center in Nyarugenge where he left them with the security guard.

“He didn’t return and the security guard decided to contact the medical staff who attended to the children; the medical staff in turn reported the matter to police and Emmanuel G. was arrested the following morning as he came back to check on the children,” Hitayezu said.

“The parents of the children have been notified of their safety and the children have been transferred to Kacyiru district hospital for further medical checks for a detailed report which will be sent to the prosecution,” he explained.

The suspect is said to have assaulted the children, who were found with bruises on their bodies.

Article 218 of the penal code stipulates that inflicting severe suffering on a child, harassing or imposing severe punishments or degrading him, attracts a prison term of six months to two years and a fine of Rwf 100, 000 to Rwf 300,000.

Hitayezu stressed that nobody can take the law in their own hands.

“Even if someone commits an illegal act against you, you hold no power to take matters in your own hands, that makes you a criminal as well; the justice system was put in place to professionally handle the public’s concerns,” he said.

Motorists on the spot over bribery

By Staff reporter
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In the last week, 16 drivers have been arrested for attempting to bribe traffic police officers. (file photo)

The police has cautioned drivers against violating traffic regulations and attempting to bribe police officers as means to prevent penalties, warning that the force has revised its approach to ensure that such defiant individuals are arrested to face justice.

Spokesperson for the Traffic and Road Safety department, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kabanda said that drivers are the majority of people who try to bribe police officers with money after they are caught in traffic violations.

“In the last one week alone, we arrested 16 people, all drivers who had violated traffic rules and regulations, which in itself is a dangerous offense that put the lives of people at risk of fatal accidents,” CIP Kabanda said.

Most were arrested in the City of Kigali.

“We are well aware of these ill-intentions and traffic officers along the roads have two main responsibilities; to control the traffic flow and penalize offenders accordingly, and to arrest anyone that tries to offer bribes, and this past week of arrests should serve as an example and warning to others with such ill-thinking,” he noted.

At least over 400 people have been arrested in the last two years in connection with attempted bribery, majority being drivers.

“Corruption or bribery and accidents have something in common; the only difference is that one reaps you apart and clumps on the individual and country growth slowly while the other one hits on spot but both, and fighting them requires concerted efforts through information exchange.”

He further appealed to owners of vehicles to be part and parcel of enforcing road safety standards and always follow up the operations and discipline of their drivers.

CAR officials visit Isanga One Stop Center

By Staff reporter
car-officials-visit-isanga-one-stop-centre

The director of Kigali Forensic Laboratory, commissioner of police Daniel Nyamwasa, with the CAR delegation. (courtesy photo)

A delegation of officials from the Central African Republic (CAR) currently on a study tour in the country, visited Isange One Stop Center at Kacyiru District Hospital on November 4, to learn from Rwanda’s model in fighting gender-based violence (GBV).

The officials are from the Ministry of Social Affairs and National Reconciliation.

The delegation which was led by Dr. Ephrem Kosh Komba, the Director of Cabinet in the Ministry Social Affairs and National Reconciliation, was received by the Director of Kigali Forensic Laboratory, Commissioner of Police (CP) Daniel Nyamwasa who gave them an overview and a tour of the center.

“Isange is a multidisciplinary and holistic approach that binds various institutions responsible for fighting and preventing GBV including the ministries of Gender and Family Promotion, Health and Justice; the creation of Isange came as idea to harmonize scattered efforts in responding and handling the increased cases of GBV and child abuse,” CP Nyamwasa explained.

“We have doctors, psychologists, social workers, judicial police officers and this helps a victim to acquire all the necessary services in one place and free of charge,” he added.

“Where necessary, we accompany the victims back to their homes to make sure that they are fully reintegrated in their families because some of them sometimes feel rejected. We work with various entities on grassroots to ensure that they are fully rehabilitated,” he noted.

In his reaction, Dr. Kosh Komba said: “We came to Rwanda to partly witness how you have managed to fight gender based violence. What we have seen, especially here at Isange… it’s amazing and commendable how security institutions in Rwanda work together with other institutions to offer services to victims in one organized and well equipped place.”

He observed that, in CAR like in many other countries, gender based violence is still a big issue…” victims don’t get justice which is different from Rwanda as we have witnessed, where victims are helped psychologically, given medical care and legal services.”

Isange, which started as a pilot project in 2009, has since been expanded to 28 other district hospitals across the country.

It offers free medical, psycho-socio and legal services to victims of GBV and child abuse and has facilitated the public with easy means of communication with a toll-free line – 3029, 3512 and 116 for Child Abuse – which have been essential in getting information from the affected for immediate response.

I&M Bank equips SMEs with financial skills

By Triphomus Muyagu
im-bank-sme-training

Robin Bairstow, managing director of I&M Bank Rwanda, hands over a certificate to a trainee. (photo Triphomus Muyagu)

I&M Bank Rwanda has concluded a training for local small and medium enterprises in business plan writing, budgeting, loan application requirements and interpretation of financial statements.

The 3-day training, organized by I&M Bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB), ended on Friday.

At the closing ceremony during which certificates were given to 20 trainees, I&M Bank Rwanda’s managing director Robin Bairstow said that training of SME owners has been at the core of the bank’s activities as this has been on the agenda each year since 2011.

“We have got a strategic partner for this program with the EIB, so the training you have received meets international standards,” he told the trainees.

“This initiative shows our attachment to the key sector of SMEs which are the cornerstone of Rwanda’s industrial growth,” Bairstow added. “It’s our duty to provide support to SMEs, and this training is the second of two that were planned for this year. We will have two other sessions next year.”

Trainee’s views

Augustine Mugirangabo, who is accountant at Quick Master Supply in Nyarugenge district, said the training involved different participants, who also shared experiences which enriched him.

“I am a client of I&M Bank, and this training will help me to create strong relationship with it, to acquire investment capital since the bank is willing to work with us to expand our business,” Mugirangabo said.

“In the last three days I have also been able to acquire knowledge on this bank’s electronic services such as internet banking,” he added.

Josephine Musasirwa for her part said the training will help her to establish the budget for her business and monitor it.

“I have come to know more about the products this bank offers and which are suitable for business such as e-banking, e-water and visa cards,” Musasirwa said.

RNP starts rotation of South Sudan peacekeepers

By Staff reporter
south-sudan-rotation

The returning peacekeepers were in August decorated with medals of service excellence, particularly for their peacekeeping role in Malakai region. (courtesy photo)

The first batch of 120 police peacekeepers returned home from South Sudan on November 4 as Rwanda National Police (RNP) started to rotate its Formed Police Unit One (RWAFPU1) contingent of 240 officers, which has since completed their one year mandate.

They were received at Kigali International Airport by Commissioner of Police (CP) Felix Namuhoranye, the Commandant of the National Police College (NPC), who was flanked by other senior police officers.

They arrived home few hours after RNP also flagged off another group of 120 officers, who constitute RWAFPU2 contingent of other 240 officers under the command of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Eric Mutsinzi, who will replace RWAFPU1 under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Their based camp is located in Malakai, Upper Nile.

The FPU specializes in public order management like crowd control; facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance, escort duties and protection of UN facilities.

The returning peacekeepers were in August decorated with medals of service excellence, particularly for their peacekeeping role in Malakai region.

CP Namuhoranye lauded them for their discipline, teamwork and professionalism, which guided them in their successful tour of duty.

“This is an annual rotational programme conducted in all mission areas where Rwandan police officers are deployed. The rotation will be conducted in two shifts, with the equal number of 120 other police officers set to arrive home while other deployed, early next week,” Police Spokesperson, ACP Theos Badege said.

“These deployments in all missions, is based on Rwanda’s foreign policy and commitment to bring about peace in other countries,” he added.

Currently, RNP maintains about 1000 police peacekeepers in five UN missions, with at least 30 percent of them being females.

IMF tips Rwanda to promote local production

By Triphomus Muyagu
imf

IMF Team leader Laure Redifer with Finance Minister Claver Gatete. (courtesy photo)

A team from International Monetary Fund (IMF) that visited Kigali from October 19 to November 2, has advised Rwanda to put emphasis on production of local products to reduce the trade balance deficit.

The group held discussions with the authorities on the sixth review of the economic and financial program which is supported by the IMF’s policy support Instrument (PSI) and the first review of policies supported by the IMF’s Stand-by Credit Facility (SCF).

Team leader Laure Redifer said they agreed with the government’s assessment that longer-term policies should help restore external sustainability and these include accelerating policies to support increase and diversify exports and promote domestic production of certain products that are currently imported, through the ‘Made in Rwanda’ campaign.

According to the National Bank (BNR), Rwanda’s trade deficit has been widening, with total export dropping in value by 2.4% in the first half of this year after, after a decline of 6.3% in the same period of 2015, as a result of poor performances in the mining sector.

Also in the first half of this year, formal imports recorded an increase of 3.3% in value, after a decrease of 5.1% in the same period of 2015.

However, the IMF’s Redifer noted that Rwanda’s economic performance remains strong with GDP growth of 6.5% in the first half of 2016, affirming that growth projections for the entire year remain at 6% driven by the services sector, with slightly lower growth in agriculture due to recent drought, and a contraction in manufacturing and construction following the end of a recent investment boom.

Claver Gatete, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said that to boost agriculture, the government is promoting the use of improved irrigation systems and inputs to increase agriculture production, and a proper storage.

The IMF team observed that the government’s performance under its programs has been strong, with almost all of the targets set for the end of June this year being achieved. They also remarked that adjustment policies are proving successful at reducing the trade deficit for goods and services, further abetted by the recent completion of several large public investment projects.

Redifer pointed out that the reduction of external imbalances they should help maintain official foreign exchange reserves coverage at adequate levels.

She added that they welcome the early decisive action already taken by the government which will help avoid a more serious situation, and these policies should help safeguard medium-term growth prospects around 7% by avoiding potentially hasher adjustment policies that are more disruptive to growth.

World Bank supports social protection system with $95 million

By Triphomus Muyagu
world-bank

Finance Minister Claver Gatete and World Bank country manager Yasser El Gammal explain the agreement. (courtesy photo)

The World Bank has boosted Rwanda’s social protection system with a $95 million International Development Assistance (IDA) credit.

The signing of the concessional loan with an interest rate of 0.75%, to be paid back in forty years with a grace period of ten years, was held in Kigali on Thursday between the World Bank country manager for Rwanda, Yasser El Gammal, and the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete.

El Gammal remarked that support to social protection will enable Rwandans to overcome poverty and inequality.

“This support will focus on strengthening the management and service delivery of the social protection program especially the Management Information System (MIS) and the Ubudehe household registry classification system,” he said.

El Gammal added that the loan will also be used to improve the harmonization and efficiency of the Vision Umurenge Program (VUP) which provides cash for work, income support and financial services to poor households.

“Social Protection System (SPS-3) will further support harmonization across social protection initiatives, especially income-generation programs and child-sensitive policies,” he added.

The project supports Rwanda in achieving its goal of establishing a well-structured social safety net with national coverage. The reforms supported by the project will improve the efficiency, accountability and transparency of the system and will expand coverage among poor and vulnerable populations.

According to Finance Minister Gatete, the agreement is an indication of the good relationship between Rwanda and World Bank.

“Apart from the social protection sector, the World Bank has provided support to agriculture, health, and transport, among others,” he said.

He observed that in recent years, the World Bank has supported social protection through financial support and technical assistance.

“With this agreement, we are focusing on inclusive growth to address poverty and cater for our own,” Gatete added.

This latest agreement brings the World Bank’s total financing in the three years since 2014 to $260 million.

Electricity tariffs to be reduced in January

By Triphomus Muyagu
electricity-pole

Today, Rwanda has 27% connectivity rate, of which 25% are on-grid and 2 % off-grid. (file photo)

The cost of electricity will be lowered by January 2017, the Minister of Infrastructure, James Musoni, has announced.

Last year, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) introduced new electricity tariffs where the price jumped from Rwf 134 per kilowatt to Rwf 182 per kilowatt.

“We want all citizens to have access to power at a lower cost, to reduce the number of Rwandans who keep using biomass for energy,” Musoni said on the sidelines of the third edition of iPAD Rwanda Energy Infrastructure Forum in Kigali.

He added that while currently 85% of Rwandans use biomass as a source of energy, the government targets to reduce this to 45% by 2020.

“Investors are willing to invest in our country, we are ready to facilitate them so that we meet our power generation targets,” Musoni said.

Today, Rwanda has a total installed generation capacity of 190 Megawatts (MW) with 27% connectivity rate, of which 25% are on-grid and 2 % off-grid. By 2017, the target is to reach 70% access to electricity, with 48% of the households supplied by the national grid and 22% by off-grid solutions.

Musoni pointed out that off-grid solutions are just developing in the country with private companies now investing in it. Recently, the Energy Development Corporation ltd (EDCL) signed agreements with 13 enterprises to provide off-grid solutions.

Motorcyclist intercepted trafficking narcotics

By Staff reporter

Police in Kamonyi have seized about 15 kilograms of cannabis which were being transported by a commercial motorcyclist.

Chief inspector of police (CIP) André Hakizimana, the police spokesman for the Southern Province, said the motorcyclist was intercepted in Karengera cell, Musambira Sector in the early hours of Monday morning.

“We had received information that the suspect was riding from Kigali to Musambira, but he tried to use feeder roads to beat security but we worked with motorcyclists to trace and trail him but he managed to escape leaving the motorcycle and the narcotics behind. We have already identified him and we are now tracing his whereabouts to bring him to justice,” Hakizimana said.

He thanked the motorcyclists who facilitated the operation for standing up and being the custodians of the law against colleagues who hide behind their business profession to conduct criminal activities.

“We are now in a mass campaign to break the supply chain of drug traffickers and we are happy that the general public has owned this program by providing information on the dealers,” Hakizimana said.

Rwanda calls for more investors in energy

By Triphomus Muyagu
james-musoni-ipad

Minister James Musoni opening the iPAD conference. (photo Mininfra)

The Minister of Infrastructure, James Musoni, has said that while the energy sector has played a key role to the country in achieving an average GDP growth of 8% for the last decade, considerable investment is still required in the sector for the country to achieve its economic target of 11.5% annual growth by 2020.

The Minister made the remarks on Tuesday while opening the third edition of the iPAD Rwanda Energy Infrastructure Forum in Kigali.

“To meet our growth target, partnerships between the private and public sectors and financial institutions is paramount,” Musoni said, adding that the government has created an enabling business environment and facilitated the private sector to tap in these opportunities.

The CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, Francis Gatare, said the country has many investment opportunities and is amongst the region’s fastest growing economies, noting that it has been frequently on top rankings for the best place to do business and to invest in Africa.

Rwanda has set target to achieve 70% of the electricity access rate in 2018 with installed capacity of 563 MW, from the current 27% access with 190 MW generation capacity.

Musoni said that to bridge this gap, a number of projects are being implemented including the regional hydropower station Rusizi III with backing from the African Development Bank (AfDB), and which involves Burundi, the DR Congo and Rwanda. Its expected generation capacity is 147 MW to be shared equally amongst the participating countries.

Officials say such projects and the recently inaugurated 26 MW KivuWatt gas power plant, with a second phase expected to reach 75 MW, give them confidence that the country’s energy targets can be reached.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is faced with issues of low access to electricity, demand and supply imbalances, lack of capacity to develop power generation margins and regional infrastructure integration for power to trade; this is compromising industrialization and economic development,” Musoni observed.

“Regional power and infrastructure development together with harmonization of regulatory frameworks are key requirements to address regional electricity challenges, as well as lower tariffs. Like Sub-Sahara countries Rwanda is not exempted from these challenges,” he added.

The 2-day forum which ends on Wednesday is held under the theme: ‘Rwanda’s Strategic Energy Outlook.’ It has attracted about 200 participants including project developers, financial organizations and multilateral investors, construction and planning companies as well as technology providers from Rwanda and abroad.

Launching of Sustainable Electricity for All (SE4ALL)

Minister Musoni also launched the Sustainable Electricity for All (SE4ALL) campaign, which focuses on making electricity available to everyone, especially the poorest households.

In June this year, the government published its rural electrification strategy with a target of providing energy access to 1.7 million households via a range of technologies, from grid connections, to mini-grid and solar home systems.

Robert Nyavumba, energy division manager at the ministry of infrastructure, said SE4ALL is linked to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 of affordable and clean energy, and to the country’s vision and access to universal energy.

According to the ministry of infrastructure, the SE4ALL strategy is driven by economic efficiency, government encourages households to access the most appropriate form of electricity based on their income levels and usage patterns.

The private sector is supposed to takes a lead role in financing and delivering off grid energy access, it minimizes pressure on government resources and power of competition will be leveraged to deliver better consumer choice value and services.

On World Savings Day, Rwandans urged to save for self-reliance

By Staff reporter
start-savings-week

Officials at the launch of the National Savings Week on October 25. (courtesy photo)

Rwanda on Monday joined the World to celebrate the World Savings Day in a bid to promote savings culture.

The World Savings Day was established on October 31, 1924, during the first International Savings Bank Congress (World Society of Savings Banks) in Milan, Italy and in 1989, the United Nations declared officially that it should be devoted to the promotion of savings all over the World.

Financial inclusion in Rwanda has over the past year increased tremendously. For instance, the 2016 Finscope Survey indicates that 89% of Rwanda are financially included compared to 72% in 2012 and 48% registered in 2008.

Increased financial inclusion has positively impacted the culture of savings. Currently, 86% of Rwandans save compared to 71% in 2012. Government in partnership with stakeholders in the financial sector continues to champion financial inclusiveness through key policies such as Introduction and continued increase in the uptake of Umurenge SACCOs,  creation of the National Investment Trust, promotion of  agent banking, mobile money, ATMs and Mobile banking insurance among others.

“Through various mechanisms to promote financial inclusion, we look forward to capture the remaining 11% of Rwandans who are financially excluded and ensure the remaining 89% have access to different financial services that encourage saving. Self-reliance cannot be achieved if Rwandans don’t access financial services that promote savings. As we celebrate World savings day, we encourage Rwandans to embrace the culture of saving as a right path to self-reliance,” Claver Gatete, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning said.

Prior to World  Savings Day, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the National Bank of Rwanda as well as financial sector stakeholders organized a savings week campaign under the theme “Saving: The Right Path to Self-Reliance”. The objective of Savings week was to sensitize and encourage Rwandans to embrace savings culture not only as individuals or households, but also the country at large. The theme was in line with the Government’s long term goal of becoming middle income country by 2020. Enhancing long term savings for public and private sector investment is key to achieving this national economic objective.

During the course of savings week, several events were organized key among them was a three-day digital financial service exhibition where financial sector players showcased various electronic payment systems, products, and channels. The week saw financial sector experts talk about the importance of saving on several media platforms, school debates as well as national message on savings delivered during Umuganda.

UN Deputy Secretary General on 2-day working visit to Rwanda

By Staff reporter
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Jan Eliasson, United Nations deputy secretary general. (Internet photo)

The United Nations deputy secretary general (DSG) Jan Eliasson is in Rwanda to conduct a series of high-level meetings with senior government officials, starting with President Paul Kagame.

Eliasson also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, the Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, the Speaker of the Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies, Donatille Mukabalisa, and the Rwanda Governance Board CEO Prof. Anastase Shyaka, among other senior government officials.

According to a statement from the UN, “the DSG’s visit primarily revolves around fostering a deeper understanding of Rwanda’s remarkable recovery from the devastation of the Genocide against the Tutsi and strong development performance. He will also discuss with the authorities Rwanda’s efforts so far at domestication of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and country development plans, and taking a closer look at the country’s Governance Model and Humanitarian Responses.”

On Monday, he also visited the Genocide Memorial Center in Gisozi.

“This Genocide was a failure of the international community to see the warning signs and taking action in time. We must learn from these failures. By that we will honor the victims and their families”, Eliasson signed in the visitors’ ledger.

Eliasson also visited the Nyagatovu Model Village in Rwamagana District, Eastern Province. Accompanied by the governor of the Eastern Province, Judith Kazaire, and One UN Rwanda Resident Coordinator Lamin M. Manneh, he witnessed the impact the model villages are having on the local community, who in addition to receiving 300 low-cost houses, have also benefitted from the Girinka program.

The DSG will also meet with the UN Rwanda Country Team, which is composed of Heads of Agencies of all resident and non-resident UN agencies operating in the country.

Police recovers stolen road construction materials in Karongi

By Staff reporter
stolen-construction-material

Some of the construction materials and spare parts stolen from the Chinese road construction firm. (courtesy photo)

Police in Karongi District have intercepted a truck loaded with materials said to have been stolen China Road and Bridge Corporation, which is currently constructing the road that connects the districts of Rusizi, Karongi and Rubavu.

The Fuso truck was intercepted on October 30 in Gacaca Cell of Rubengera Sector.

The recovered materials include spare parts of tractors and others machines, and iron bars used to construct bridges, among others.

Police spokesperson for the Western Province, chief inspector of police (CIP) Théobald Kanamugire said the truck was at the time headed to Kigali.

“The Chinese firm had filed a case of theft of their materials and during investigations we received information of a truck that was loading equipment as scraps in Cyanya Cell of Gishyita Sector and a check-point was mounted, where the vehicle was intercepted and the equipment recovered,” Kanamugire said.

“They had covered the stolen items with real scraps, but because we had credible information that some of the metals were new and hidden, we asked them to offload all of them and that’s how the victims identified their equipment,” he noted

The recovered construction materials and spare parts which have since been handed over to the owners, are valued at Rwf9 million.

“The vehicle has since been impounded, the driver arrested but we are still searching for one Karangwa, who is the lead suspect in this case,” he added.

CIP Kanamugire thanked the residents for facilitating investigations and urged them to continue with the spirit in fighting and preventing crimes through real time information sharing.

Major energy forum gets under way

By Triphomus Muyagu
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The government targets to reach 70% access to electricity by 2017. (file photo)

The CEO of Rwanda Energy Group Limited (REG), Jean Bosco Mugiraneza, has said that the iPAD Rwanda Energy Infrastructure Forum, to be held on November 1 and 2, will be an avenue for discussing how the government’s electricity access targets can be achieved.

“We want to supply electricity to all Rwandans, which is why we sign multiple agreements with companies to provide off-grid solutions country-wide, in bid to promote rural electrification,” he added.

“The forum will bring together project developers, financing organizations and multilateral investors, construction and planning companies as well as technology providers from Rwanda, the region and from the rest of the world as well as high-level government representatives,” Mugiraneza said.

“We want to reach our energy goals by 2020, which will enable industries to grow and development to accelerate,” remarked Robert Nyavumba, energy division manager at the ministry of infrastructure.

The government targets to reach 70% access to electricity by 2017, with 48% of the households supplied by national grid 22% electrified with off-grid solutions such as mini-grids (small hydro, solar and hybrid systems) and standalone photovoltaic (PV) systems.

CNLG analysis: Dissimulation of French responsibility in Genocide: case of French military officers

By The Rwanda Focus
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French military officers drive alongside Interahamwe militia during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. (Internet photo)

French actors were involved in the genocide both as perpetrators and accomplices, and do not want their acts to be known despite their proofs. This is the biggest cause explaining the persistent refusal of the French authorities to validate the ballistic investigation by French experts in Rwanda in 2010 which indicated that missiles were fired from Kanombe military barracks. The role of twenty-two (22) French military officers below testifies it.

 

1) General Jacques Lanxade

He was the Special Chief of Staff of President Francois Mitterrand from April 1989 to April 1991 and Army Chief of Staff (from April 1991 to September 1995). The French army under Jacques Lanxade, played in Rwanda between 1990 and 1994, the role of a real occupation force, involved in serious crimes.

As supreme commander of the Army, Jacques Lanxade received reports of abuses by the Rwandan army, its massacres, its discriminatory and genocidal policy, but he maintained increased assistance to this criminal army; by providing means like equipment, logistical and personnel, for its training and its development.

In 1991, Jacques Lanxade paid a visit to Rwanda in companionship of his chief of staff, General Pidancet and colonel Delort, head of external relations. During this visit, Jacques Lanxade participated in talks with higher authorities of the State and the Army, and visited on ground the Noroît and DAMI detachments. During this visit, Jacques Lanxade was informed of the massacres committed by the FAR on Bagogwe in Ruhengeri, but maintained the presence of the French instructors.

Jacques Lanxade equated the RPF in Uganda to the Tutsi group as a whole and thereby transforming a political conflict into ethnic or racial conflict. Jacques Lanxade argued that the Hutu ethnic majority corresponded to the democratic majority, and then decided to take sides with that majority. Worse, for Jacques Lanxade, every Tutsi was considered a potential fighter of the RPF; France’s enemy that had to be fought. Under Jacques Lanxade’s command, the French military DAMI Panda, received in April 1991, the order to provide operational assistance to the FAR to militarily strengthen the regime, so that it gains an upper hand in negotiatiations with the RPF.

Documents and testimony show that Jacques Lanxade was informed by his Defence Assistant, of the whole situation prevailing in Rwanda since 1990, and that important decisions were taken after his approval. Ambassador Jean-Michel Marlaud confessed before the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (MIP) that all communications from the Embassy of France in Rwanda were controlled by the military Attaché who, in turn, reported to Jacques Lanxade and Christian Quesnot.

 

2) General Christian Quesnot

Special Chief of staff of President Mitterrand from 1991 to 1995, Christian Quesnot is one of those responsible for alluring unreserved support to the Habyarimana regime. He was the main informant of the Chief of Staff regarding any interventions; both official and secret, that the French army carried out in Rwanda. In all his notes to President Mitterrand, Christian Quesnot advocated for immoderate support to the Habyarimana regime and its armed forces.

During the genocide, Christian Quesnot constantly held talks with President Theodore Sindikubwabo and constantly pleaded with President Mitterrand for France’s military aid. On 29thApril, 1994, three weeks into the genocide, Christian Quesnot wrote extremely offensive words about the RPF: “The RPF is the most fascist party I met in Africa. It can be equated to “black Khmers’. It has a collusion with Belgians”. On 4 May 1994, the same demonization was repeated. On 4th May 1994, the same demonization was repeated. On 6th May 1994, Christian Quesnot offered support to FAR who were committing genocide. May 24, 1994, General Quesnot, addressing the President, urged him to decide on a direct military support to the FAR and the interim government: “The coming to power in the region of a minority whose aims and organization are much more like the system of the Khmer Rouge is a guarantee of regional instability whose consequences have not been anticipated by those, including France, whose complicity and complacency are obvious”. The ferocity of these remarks and hatred they contain reflect a total and deliberate adherence to the ideas and actions of the perpetrators of the genocide.

 

3) General Jean-Pierre Huchon

He was the deputy to General Quesnot from April 1991 to April 1993 and head of the military cooperation mission from April 1993 to October 1995. He upheld the manipulation of ethnicity and coordinated the delivery of arms, munitions and military equipment to the FAR before and during the genocide. These weapons were used to carry out massacres of innocent civilians killed by the army and paramilitary militias. In May 1994, Jean-Pierre Huchon repeatedly received in his office in Paris, Lt. Col. Cyprien Kayumba, head of logistics and procurement in the Rwandan ministry of defense who stayed there for twenty seven days “to try speed up the supply of weapons and ammunition to the Rwandan army”. An arms purchase agreement was awarded to the SOFREMAS, a public company exclusively controlled by the French state. On May 9, 1994, Jean-Pierre Huchon received Lieutenant Colonel Ephrem Rwabalinda, Advisor to the Chief of Staff of the FAR.

In the report on his mission, Ephrem Rwabalinda mentioned among the priorities discussed with Jean-Pierre Huchon “the support of Rwanda by France in terms of international politics; the physical presence of French military in Rwanda (…) support within the cooperation framework, indirect use of regular or non-regular foreign troops”. Ephrem Rwabalinda also indicated that Jean-Pierre Huchon had accepted to provide FAR ammunition and communications equipment.

Rwabalinda added that Jean-Pierre Huchon advised Rwanda to brand the RPF responsible for the genocide: “(…) If nothing is done to return the country’s image outside, Rwanda’s military and political leaders will be held accountable for the massacres committed in Rwanda. He reiterated this point several times”. (…) “portraying the good image of the country on the international scene is a priority that is NOT subjected to be brushed aside. These Telephones I bring should help to get out of isolation vis-à-vis the international community”. Rwabalinda concluded that “the military house of cooperation is preparing emergency measures to be taken in our favor”.

 

4) Lieutenant-Colonel Michel ROBARDEY

Michel Robardey came to Rwanda in September 1990 and left in April 1994. Robardey led a team of four French gendarmes who developed and installed, between 1992 and 1994 in a tormenting center known “CRIMINOLOGY”, a computerized data system to provide lists of wanted persons and those to be tortured or massacred. These lists targeted primarily Tutsi and Hutu political opponents.

In February 1993, the Prime Minister, Dismas Nsengiyaremye, sent a letter to the Rwandan defense minister in which he protested against the criminal intent of those lists and demanded their confiscation. These encompassed an instrument of the genocide in 1994. A note of French military intelligence acknowledges that since the first day of the genocide, “equipped with pre-established lists, soldiers and the Presidential Guards undertook the killings of all Tutsi and Hutu from the south or those supporting opposition parties.”

In the same center, Robardey participated in a series of violent interrogations against people who were detained there. In February 1993, major Corrière under the command of Robardey, tortured two Tutsi, Japheth Rudasingwa and Anne Marie Byukusenge, in the premises of Criminology, accusing them of providing a local newspaper “Le flambeau”, with photos showing French soldiers involved in the fighting alongside the FAR. Anne Marie Byukusenge died later as a result of this torture. During their presence in Criminology, French gendarmes concealed in the criminal investigation, any evidence to prove the involvement of the Rwandan regime in terrorist acts that were unfairly attributed to RPF.

Currently, Michel Robardey is a member of an association of genocide deniers called France-Turquoise which brings together the former French soldiers who participated in Operation Turquoise in Rwanda in 1994. Michel Robardey owns a blog on which he disseminates disavowal ideas about the genocide committed against Tutsi. He participates in many seminars of genocide deniers and always testifies in favor of the suspected Rwandan genocidaires in France and other countries’ courts.

 

5) Colonel Gilbert Canovas

Gilbert Canovas was from October to November 1990, the operational assistant to the Defense Attaché and Advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Rwandan gendarmerie. He was actively involved in the implementation of the plans to establish roadblocks on which several civilians were killed.

On April 12, 1991, in companionship of Major Christian Refalo, Gilbert Canovas went to Ruhengeri “for the purpose, he writes, of studying how to conquer and take control of the area of the volcano forest occupied by Inyenzi and where all our infiltration attempts have so far failed. ” During this operation, Gilbert Canovas organised a training of militiamen on killing and infiltration methods.

Another example of his active engagement with the Habyarimana regime is the meeting of 18 February 1991 between Michel Robardey, Colonel Gilbert Canovas and the Chief of Staff of the Rwandan gendarmerie, Colonel Rwagafirita, during which Colonel Canovas “said to be fully available to provide support for effective defense of the capital Kigali.”

 

6) Colonel Jacques Rosier

Jacques Rosier was head of Military Support Detachment and Instruction (DAMI) between June 1992 and November 1992. It is in this year 1992 that the DAMI emerged in Gabiro, Gako, Mukamira and Bigogwe military bases, emphasizing on training of Interahamwe. Jacques Rosier was the coordinator of the training. The two waves of killings that took place in Bugesera, early March 1992 targeting Bagogwe Tutsi between November 1992 and January 1993, were committed by Interahamwe militiamen trained by French instructors of DAMI.

These criminal training had also been criticized in the report of the Commission of UN experts in June 1994 in these terms: “a training camp for Hutu militia (Interahamwe) had been established in Mutara. The sessions lasted three weeks each, including indoctrination of 300 men on ethnic hatred against the Tutsi minority. The sessions also included learning methods of mass murder. ”

 

7) Captain Etienne Joubert

He was the head of DAMI called Panda of 23 December 1992 to 18 May 1993. Etienne Joubert led training of Interahamwe in Gabiro military camp. In this camp, Etienne Joubert and his men trained three distinct groups namely Burundian Hutu, Rwandan soldiers and Interahamwe militia. During Turquoise, Etienne Joubert returned to Rwanda, Gikongoro, initially as head of Special Operations Command (SOC) and at the same time intelligence officer and Chief Operating Officer. SOC officers he commanded were the first French soldiers to arrive in Gikongoro on 24 June 1994. Etienne Joubert immediately cooperated with the authorities responsible for the genocide, including the prefet Bucyibaruta and captain Sebuhura, organizers of the genocide in Gikongoro. At SOS and ACEPR College Gikongoro, military men and officers under his command committed killings against the Tutsi, rape and systematic sexual assaults.

 

8) Colonel Didier Tauzin

Military adviser to President Habyarimana from 1990 to 1993, head of DAMI Panda and Chimère operation (22 February-28 March 1993), then after, commander for a short time, of Turquoise Gikongoro. He contributed towards training of the militia men and fought the RPF in 1993. He boasted of his acts in these terms: “We have given hard time to the RPF! (…) We broke the momentum towards Kigali. (…) No favors.” He was strongly opposed to the Arusha peace agreement, which he called “totally unrealistic, outrageous and despicable, a desertion and treason “that allowed “the intrusion of RPF militia in the country”. In other words, members of the RPF are not Rwandans, they are foreign militia!” He told the press, on 04/07/1994, that the French army would not hesitate “to break the back of the RPF”. In his book published in 2011 “Rwanda: I demand justice for France and its soldiers”, Tauzin denies that there was a genocide against the Tutsi.

 

9) Colonel René Galinié

He was the Defence Attaché and head of military assistance to Rwanda (August 1988-July 1991), Commander of the Noroît Operation (1990-July 1991 except November 1990): Defense Attaché to the Embassy of France in Rwanda and head of military cooperation mission (July 1991-April 1994), Noroît commander from July 1991-December 1993 except February and March 1993. He was aware of all the massacres committed by the Habyarimana regime, he covered them, and kept on providing assistance and logistical support to the regime.

 

 

10) Colonel Bernard Cussac

Defence Attaché and Chief of cooperation mission at the Embassy of France in Rwanda (July 1991-April 1994), Commander of Operation Noroît (July 91 to December 93, except for February and March 93). He participated in the interrogation of RPF prisoners of war and the so-called civilian accomplices of the RPF. Most of them were killed. In his report of April 5, 1993, he clearly mentions to the possibility of genocide.

 

11) Lt Col. Jean-Jacques Maurin

Operations assistant to the Defence Attaché of the Embassy of France in Rwanda from 1992 to 1994 and Advisor to the Chief of Staff of Rwanda. He had to advise the chief of Staff of the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR), colonel Serubuga in conducting operations, preparation and training of troops; they met frequently.

He participated as he says himself:”the development of the daily battle plans and was involved in decisions” taken by FAR. Maurin also co-led Operation Amaryllis with Colonel Henri Poncet in which Tutsi were killed especially at Kigali airport.

 

12) Commander Grégoire De Saint Quentin

Technical Adviser to the Commander of the Para-commando battalion, Major Aloys Ntabakuze and training officer of aerial troops, August 1992-12 / 04/1994. He was present at Kanombe military barracks and led the checking of aircrafts. He trained the killers of the Para-commando battalion which oversaw the operations that took place in Kanombe on the evening of 06/04/1994.

 

13) Colonel Dominique Delort

He was Noroît Commander. In February-March 1993, he also became commander of DAMI in Bigogwe and Mukamira military camps where he trained the Rwandan army and militia. In February 1993, he set up an identity check mechanism to Kigali entries on Ruhengeri-Kigali, Gitarama-Kigali and Rwamagana-Kigali axes. Civilians were arrested on ethnic grounds, some went missing and others killed. Dominique Delort instigated a bitter hatred against the RPF to which he attributed all crimes committed by the FAR. For example, in March 1993, he is the one who ordered Lt Col. Michel Robardey to provide “special attention on gathering of information about the massacres and atrocities of the RPF to better counter their propaganda”.

 

14) Lieutenant Colonel Jean-Louis Nabias

On March 03, 1992, he replaced Colonel Chollet, head of DAMI PANDA. His job was to provide training to regiments of the FAR, putting much of his efforts on their weakest areas such as night infiltration missions or learning bypass techniques. These trainings were held in Gabiro and Bigogwe military camps. At the same time, the training was also given to Interahamwe militia.

 

15) Commander Denis Roux

From November 1991 to February 1993, he was the head of DAMI Presidential Guard. This DAMI trained Presidential Guards and the Interahamwe who eventually spearheaded the genocide. One of his trainers, Warrant Officer Thierry Prungnaud acknowledged with remorse on 22 April 2005 to France Culture: “I am certain; the French formed the militia in 1992. This occurred several times. The Presidential Guard was involved in several assassinations, especially between 1992 and 1994. ”

 

16) Captain Paul Barril

In 1990, before the RPF offensive, Barril conducted an audit of the Rwandan army. He presented himself as adviser to President Habyarimana. During the genocide, he was paid by the genocidal Government to train elite soldiers as part of “Insecticide,” operation meant to eliminate the Tutsi. He himself reported to have been present in Rwanda on 7th April 1994, he displayed on France 2 TV in June 1994, a device that he claimed to be the black box of Falcon 50 of Habyarimana. He is among those who actively deny the genocide committed against the Tutsi. He is especially the one who steered the purported investigations of Judge Bruguiere.

 

17) General Jean-Claude LAFOURCADE

Jean-Claude Lafourcade was the top commander of the French forces engaged in Turquoise from 22ndJune to 22nd August 1994. Those French military officers cooperated with the authorities involved in the genocide. The testimonies of French officers collected by journalists during Turquoise prove that French officers well knew who they were dealing with in deciding to work with these genocidal authorities. For example, Captain Marin Gillier confirmed to journalist Christian Lecomte in July 1994: “We know that the mayors and sous-prefets of the region are mostly involved in the massacres of Tutsi or their instigators. We have accumulated evidence to prove it. But for now, they are our only contacts with the million and a half Hutu refugees who poured into the area”.

 

18) Colonel Jacques Hogard

Jacques Hogard was the commandant of Turquoise in Cyangugu. He allowed his subordinates to commit the killing of Tutsi, rape and sexual violence. In Cyangugu, French soldiers gave weapons to Interahamwe militia, encouraged them to hunt down Tutsi and kill them. At Nyarushishi camp of the internally displaced, guarded by French soldiers, Tutsi from outside were intercepted by Interahamwe militiamen before they could enter the camp. Tutsi refugees, pushed by hunger that attempted to go out of the camp were killed by the Interahamwe positioned on these roadblocks in view of French soldiers.

The practice of rape by the French military was also frequent and systematic in the camps of French military in Cyangugu. In their campsite at Kamarampaka Stadium, the Interahamwe used to bring girls to the French in daylight. From 17 December 2005, Jacques Hogard owned a blog on which he published disavowal ideas against RPF and current regime in general. It was closed in 2007.

 

19) Colonel Jacques Rosier

In June 1994, Jacques Rosier returned to Rwanda as head of Special Operations Command (SOC) from 22 June to 30 July 1994 in the Zone Turquoise. The massacre of the Tutsi in Bisesero emanates from his individual decision. Jacques Rosier was in Kibuye on June 26, 1994 where he inspected the deployment of Lt Colonel Jean-Rémy Duval (aka Diego) and his 35 CPA-10 men at the Kibuye Technical School (ETO Kibuye). It was from there that he refused to order for any intervention to save Tutsi survivors of Bisesero even though he had just been informed that they would be killed immediately.

 

20) Col. Patrice Sartre

Patrice Sartre was Head of Turquoise Gikongoro from 05 to 16 July 1994 and Kibuye from 16 July to 21 August 1994. During these periods, a series of attacks followed by murder, rape and other inhuman treatment, were directed against civilians. For example, in Rubengera, under his instructions French soldiers collaborated with local authorities actively involved in the genocide. French soldiers ordered the killing of Tutsi who had gathered behind classrooms in Rubengera College.

 

21) Commander Marin Gillier

Marin Gillier commanded the French military detachment based at Gishyita commune offices. He was informed on June 26, 1994 by foreign journalists of the existence of surviving Tutsi in Bisesero and that massacres of civilians were taking place. He went there with his colleague Diego and his detachment. They met Bisesero survivors and left them unprotected.

 

22) Lieutenant Colonel Eric De Stabenrath

Eric De Stabenrath led Turquoise in Gikongoro from 16th July to 22ndAugust, 1994. After their settlement in Gikongoro, French soldiers directly collaborated with administrative and military authorities of the prefecture who executed the genocide.

At Murambi camp, the French soldiers who controlled its access always enquired the ethnic group of people, and inside the camp, they indiscriminately mixed Tutsi survivors of the genocide, former FAR elements and militiamen who had participated in the genocide.

This coexistence allowed the militia to continue killing in the camp yet it was a space meant to meet the humanitarian conditions. Foreign journalists on the scene in July-August 1994, described a situation where Tutsi survivors were threatened to death by Interahamwe militiamen. Crimes such as rape and assault were frequent, widespread and systematic in the headquarters where Eric De Stabenrath stayed.

 

CONCLUSION

The analysis of these facts demonstrates that senior French officers and politicians committed very serious crimes in Rwanda. The refusal to end the judicial investigation and pronounce a dismissal against Rwandan leaders who ended the genocide is an attempt of concealing their responsibilities. They only are carrying on the war they undertook against the RPF since 1990.

It is not a coincidence that Kayumba Nyamwasa has the same lawyer; Veronique TRUONG, as General Quesnot, one of the strongest supporters of the Rwandan genocidal regime.

 

Kigali, October 31, 2016

Jean Damascene Bizimana (PhD International Law)

Executive Secretary CNLG

Afreximbank Forum calls for stronger financial control mechanisms

By Staff reporter
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George Elombi, Afreximbank executive vice-president, addressing participants at the Forum in Kigali. (courtesy photo)

Africa must institute stronger financial control mechanisms and capacity-building for customer due-diligence and corporate governance in order to attract capital competitively and ensure greater financial stability and sustainable development, participants in the Third Annual Forum on Customer Due Diligence and Corporate Governance organized by the African Export-Import Bank’s (Afreximbank) have said.

Concluding the two-day forum held in Kigali, the nearly 200 participants said that strong corporate governance was critical to ensuring the integrity and credibility of financial systems and to reducing the vulnerability of African economies to financial instability and shocks

They called on African financial institutions to engage frequently with their boards and senior management and to assess the adequacy and accuracy of information being submitted them.

Other conclusions include the need for government bodies and institutions to foster initiatives to promote good corporate governance practices and for effective capacity building and collaboration to be established between the public and private sectors in order to enhance corporate governance and customer due diligence.

Given the fast-changing business dynamics and the growth of online banking, mobile payments and other electronic platforms, the participants expressed the need for a strong technology-driven approach to corporate governance and customer due diligence so as to increase effectiveness and responsiveness to change.

The participants, in addition, welcomed the Afreximbank initiative to establish an online African Customer Due Diligence Repository Platform to serve as a centralized source of primary data required to conduct customer due diligence checks on African counterparties.

John Rwangombwa, governor of the National Bank of Rwanda, said that previous global financial crises had shown that weaknesses in governance contributed to systemic vulnerability and failures. He argued that financial institutions and regulators had a critical role to play in putting in place regulations and monitoring mechanisms to ensure sustained stability of the financial sector.

Participating in the Forum were representatives of regulatory bodies, financial institutions, and legal firms from more than 20 African countries, who were joined by international experts and Rwandan government officials.

Rwamagana, Kicukiro take tough stance on security

By Staff reporter
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Police representatives at the security meeting in Rwamagana. (courtesy photo)

Local leaders and security organs in Rwamagana and Kicukiro districts held separately security meetings on Thursday and set further tough measures against criminality.

Although both meetings observed that the security status has generally improved, leaders noted that issues related to drugs, gender-based violence and assault, among others, still require close attention by all stakeholders and the people.

Present in the meeting were all local leaders from the cell to the district level and heads of police and army operating in the two districts, among others.

In Rwamagana, mayor Radjab Mbonyumuvunyi, who chaired the meeting, tasked sector and cell executive secretaries to ensure the effectiveness of community night patrols (irondo).

“Whereas we see improvement in the security status, effective response is needed to other challenges of illicit drugs and domestic conflicts and this lies in our hands as leaders, through strong partnership with the people to make community policing an effective tool,” Mbonyumuvunyi said.

In Kicukiro, mayor Jeanne Nyirahabimana noted that creating a distance between leaders and the people causes a gap both in development and security.

“As leaders, we are accountable to the people and they equally have the responsibility to ensure their safety and security; their collective active involvement in all development matters will be a valuable factor in this noble course, and this necessitates us to further engage them and show them why and how they should be part,” Dr. Nyirahabimana said.

Both meetings resolved to strengthen awareness campaigns and operations, construct humps in the rehabilitated murram roads to prevent accidents, ensure that households have security lights to prevent night theft at night, and to promote sanitation and hygiene.

Trade mission to market ‘Made in Rwanda’ in Congo-Brazzaville

By Triphomus Muyagu
PSF logo

(file photo)

The Private Sector Federation (PSF), in conjunction with chamber of Rwandan farmers, will next week conduct a trade mission to Congo Brazzaville.

The visit from November 2 to 5 aims to market ‘Made in Rwanda’ products and identify new business opportunities. It will be held in Pointe-Noire, the second largest city and commercial center of Congo.

According to a statement from PSF, a business-to-business forum is planned bringing together Rwandan exporters and Congolese traders to discuss possible trade partnerships and investment opportunities.

The Federation will also organize an exhibition to showcase Rwandan products and services, in which forty companies will participate. Sectors to be showcased include construction, ICT and financing.

PSF has organized similar trade missions to the DR Congo, Turkey and China to promote and enhance exports. Last month, the Federation signed an agreement with Groupe 250 and Sawa Citi Supermarket to boost trade and establish a multi-services center (MSC) in Congo-Brazzaville.

G250 is a company operating in the Republic of Congo in the sectors of import, export and infrastructure development, while Sawa Citi is a supermarket with outlets in Kigali. The MSC which will include facilities such as storage and retail space, a cold room and a refrigerated truck to facilitate Rwandan traders to export their products to Congo.

Sawa Citi will facilitate operations by working hand in hand with small and medium-sized enterprises in order to get products that will be exported by G250.

Savings to enable Rwanda reach investment target – Nsanzabaganwa

By Triphomus Muyagu
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Monique Nsanzabaganwa, BNR vice-governor. (file photo)

The vice-governor of the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), Monique Nsanzabaganwa, has said that savings will enable the country to reach its investment target.

The Second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS 2) has set a target of achieving gross national savings of 18% of the GDP to attain a gross national investment target of 30% of the GDP by 2020.

“Rwandans need to have a positive outlook and start saving part of their earnings; this doesn’t have to be a huge amount of money, you can start with very little money. We will not have any investment when we are not saving, we need to save for the education of our children, pension, housing, and for health to have a better future,” she said.

Nsanzabaganwa made the remarks on Wednesday at the launch of the Savings Week, which will run until October 31 under the theme ‘Saving: the Right Path to Self-Reliance.’

She stressed that there is a gap to close in savings, noting that currently savings to GDP stands at 12%.

“We will continue to develop savings education campaigns so that Rwandans understand the importance of savings, which will help us to have a substantial investment,” she added.

“The foreign aid we get and investment from other countries, that is money saved by their people. We also need to go and invest outside Rwanda, but we will not be able to do that when Rwandans are not saving. Young and old should make saving a culture,” Nsanzabaganwa said.

From houseboy to entrepreneur

Claude Bizimana, an MTN mobile money agent, a resident of Kimironko sector in Gasabo, aged 26, said that after saving Rwf 25,000 from his previous job as a house boy, he developed the idea of selling air time.

According to Bizimana, he used to earn Rwf 10,000 monthly but as he wanted to improve his living conditions, he started saving. Today his capital has grown to Rwf 200,000.

“If I had not started saving I would have not managed to do any business. So I urge other young people to save some money, which can help in case of any problem or to start a business,” Bizimana said.

Man arrested for circulating counterfeit money

By Staff reporter
money2

(file photo)

A 30-year-old man has been arrested in Bugesera District in connection with counterfeiting money.

Ajey M., who was wanted by police and in hiding over similar crimes, was arrested on Thursday in Nyabagendwa Cell of Ririma Sector. At the time of his arrest, he was found in possession of counterfeit money amounting to Rwf 141,000 in notes of 5,000 and 2,000 francs. He is currently detained at Ririma police station.

Police spokesperson for the Eastern Province, inspector of police Emmanuel Kayigi said that M. had been in hiding since October 26, when three women were arrested with fake currency and implicated him to be their supplier.

“On October 26, police in Bugesera arrested three women who were using forged currency to buy goods. One of the women was at the time trying to shop while another one was using the fake notes to clear a bill in a bar,” Kayigi said.

“Upon arrest, they named Ajey M. as their supplier and the following day, when their relatives saw him, they immediately informed local leaders and nearby residents, who apprehended him as he tried to flee before calling the police in Ririma to take up the case,” he added.

He commended the residents for their community policing approach and warned against such malpractices.

“To stop such malpractices, the business community must be vigilant so that there is no market for counterfeiters and when they try, through this partnership, they will be arrested,” he said.

EAC launches Common Market Scorecard 2016

By Staff reporter
eac-scorecard

EAC deputy secretary general, Jesca Eriyo, addresses the participants at the launch. (courtesy photo)

The second EAC Common Market Scorecard (CMS) 2016, which evaluates the implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol, was launched on Friday in Kampala by the EAC deputy secretary general in charge of Finance and Administration, Jesca Eriyo.

The Scorecard 2016, which measures Partner States’ compliance to the free movement of capital, services, and goods, was developed by the World Bank Group together with TradeMark East Africa at the request of the EAC Secretariat. The areas of capital, services and goods were selected for scoping as they are fundamental to the operations of the Common Market.

“A number of reforms have been undertaken since the 2014 CMS,” explained Eriyo. “These have brought the total number of non-conforming measures (NCMs) down from 63 in 2014 to 59 in 2016. While this shows progress, it should be noted that all EAC Partner States remain largely non-compliant in their services trade liberalization commitments.”

Eriyo said that in CMS 2016 all Partner States were given full marks for compliance. Subsequent scorecards should consider assessing implementation of these commitments. The deputy secretary general also pointed out that the Scorecard is well aligned with the EAC’s implementation priorities.

“It fosters peer learning and facilitate the adoption of best practice in the region,” she said. “The Scorecard will contribute to strengthen the regional market, grow the private sector and deliver benefits to consumers.”

She said the implementation in terms of recognition of certificates of origin, an issue repeatedly identified as a significant non-tariff barrier (NTB) in 2014, Burundi continues to earn full points and Kenya continues to score 90%. Tanzania’s recognition of certificates of origin has improved from 50 to 60%, while Rwanda and Uganda’s scores have both declined, indicating a worsening performance in terms of recognizing certificates of origin of other EAC Partner States. Most countries improved their score on applying tariff-equivalent charges, though such charges persist as barriers to intra-EAC trade, stated the EAC official.

Eriyo also said that the EAC average of resolution of new NTBs for the 2016 period was about 54%, better than the 38% rate for CMS 2014.

The EAC deputy secretary general called for greater information sharing regarding the Treaty and Protocol provisions in the Partner States, as some members of the private sector, including private sector apex bodies, are still unfamiliar with the Protocol or the commitments affecting their operations. Eriyo urged Partner States to inform the private sector on the implications on these reforms on their day-to-day operations across the region and develop a private sector reform champions who could help push for implementation.

Catherine Masinde, the practice manager for East Africa in Trade and Competitiveness at the World Bank Group, said EAC Partners have done a commendable effort in removing barriers to free movement of capital, services and goods, but more needs to be done.

She said the EAC Scorecard provides transparent, rigorous, unbiased and client-led data on the key implementation gaps to the integration of the region’s economies.

“It also highlights possible reform areas to improve compliance to the Common Market Protocol,” she observed.

The vice-chairman of the East African Business Council Uganda, Kassim Omary, said it is of utmost importance to measure the extent to which the EAC Partner States are translating the Common Market Protocol into policies that support actualization of free movement of people and workers, goods, services and the rights of establishment and residence within the EAC Partner States.

Rwandans urged to develop savings culture for bright future

By Triphomus Muyagu
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The Savings Week also aims at promoting financial inclusion. (file photo)

The director general for financial sector development at the ministry of finance and economic planning, Eric Rwigamba, has urged Rwandans to develop a saving culture to ensure their future.

Rwigamba made the remarks on Tuesday at the launch of the Savings Week, which will run until October 31 under the theme: ‘Saving: The Right Path to Self-Reliance.’

“We want Rwandans to save for their future, for the next generation, for education, and we want them to obtain loans and expand business to be self-reliant and develop the country,” he said.

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The director general for financial sector development at the ministry of finance and economic planning, Eric Rwigamba. (Internet photo)

“Personal savings will help grow the country’s economy, and we aim at promoting financial inclusion,” Rwigamba said.

He therefore called on the media, civil society and private sector to also play a role in promoting financial inclusion and saving among Rwandans.

“We want Rwandans to have a variety of financial services to improve their wellbeing,” he added.

He further urged Rwandans to give due attention to insurance, noting that they are developing and doing  business, constructing houses, have cars, need to study and be healthy, so to be on the safe side they need insurance to protect their wealth.

President Kagame ends State Visit to Mozambique

By Staff reporter
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President Paul Kagame addressing academic and business leaders in Maputo. (photos Urugwiro Village)

President Paul Kagame on Tuesday addressed members of the academic and business community at the Joaquim Chissano International Conference Center in Maputo, Mozambique, where he has been on a 2-day State Visit.

The event brought together Mozambican business leaders for a discussion on the role of the private sector in Rwanda’s development.

President Kagame began by thanking his counterpart, President Filipe Nyusi, also present at the discussion, for the hospitality shown during the two day visit, and emphasized the importance of their joint collaborative efforts.

“I am happy for the opportunity to deepen the friendship between Rwanda and Mozambique in areas of mutual interest,” he remarked. “Today’s discussion reflects the willingness to share and learn from each other; our two countries share a history and a common determination to build a prosperous future for our citizens.”

Kagame highlighted Rwanda’s progress as a result of the people’s motivation to change their history, and the importance of citizens’ participation for sustainable development.

“We mobilized all Rwandans to participate in building a new society, completely different from what we had known before. The depth of devastation that Rwanda experienced in 1994 led many to believe that our country would never be viable again, but we defined our priorities and stuck to them,” the President observed. “As we continue to advance, we know that we are not yet where we want to be, and the modest achievements we register must be safeguarded.

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President Kagame pays his respects to the heroic figures of the Mozambican War of Independence at the Mozambique Memorial Heroes Square.

Speaking on the importance of private-public partnerships, President Kagame emphasized that the private sector must play a key role, alongside government in order to ensure mutually beneficial partnerships, aimed at promoting social and economic prosperity.

He added that in Rwanda’s case in particular, despite the criticism faced, sacrifices needed to be made in order to attract the kind of investment Rwanda registers today.

“We made these decisions despite the objections of partners and bankers, who did not see a business case — and maybe traditionally, that’s how it should be considered. But we saw it differently and learned important lessons. The naysayers were right in a narrow commercial sense but completely wrong in a broader view of Rwanda’s context and economic future,” Kagame explained.

He also reminded the audience of the importance of unity among Africans states in order to achieve continental growth.

“We have always believed in the importance of integration, both economic and political, with partner states in our region and across Africa,” the President remarked. “Our visit here is in keeping with Rwanda’s and Mozambique’s shared commitment to go beyond national interests to continental unity, to bring African countries and people together.”

Earlier in the day, President Kagame visited the Mozambique Memorial Heroes Square to pay his respects to the heroic figures of the Mozambican War of Independence.

Community Policing: youth volunteers’ mobilization bearing fruits

By Staff reporter
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A local leader sensitizing people on Community Policing. (courtesy photo)

Members of the Rwanda Youth Volunteers in Community Policing (RYVCP) organization in districts have joined efforts with the police and local leaders to mobilize more young people to further improve safety and thus overall quality of life through crime awareness, detection and prevention, as well as exchange of information.

The membership of the youth organization has more than doubled in the last one month alone to over 51,500.

In Bugesera, RYVCP district coordinator Jean Pierre Niyibizi said that they intend to increase the number from the current 1,624 members to at least 10,000 before the end of the year.

“We believe that the more members, the higher the impact of our awareness activities and crime prevention in particular,” Niyibizi said. “In the last one month alone, we have gained 720 new members through joint anti-crime awareness and mobilization with the police.”

According Bugesera’s district community liaison officer, assistant inspector of police Cyprien Uwitonze, youth volunteers have boosted crime reporting, especially regarding drugs trafficking and domestic conflicts.

“We now have a program to visit the 15 sectors of Bugesera to mobilize more members and have a collective idea and response to crime. This week, we will hold campaigns in schools and communities in the sectors of Mwogo and Ruhuha,” Uwitonze said.

There are currently close to 450 RYVCP members in Mwogo and Ruhuha.

Similar mobilization programs are underway across the country as part of the effort to reach one million members by the end of 2017.

The organization’s main objective is to be the community policing force through awareness and supporting human security activities as entailed in separate memorandums of understanding with Rwanda National Police and Society for Family Health (SFH-Rwanda).

The MoU between RNP and RYVCP binds the two parties to partner in crime prevention strategies, community work (Umuganda), environmental protection and prevention of environmental crimes, promote health, hygiene and sanitation and information exchange on crime, among others.

Under the partnership with SFH-Rwanda, which primarily focuses on public health, the youth organization also contributes to behavioral change among the youth and communities for sustainable health and a safe and crime-free environment.

Rwanda remains second best place to do business in Africa

By Staff reporter
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Francis Gatare, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board. (file photo)

In the 2017 World Bank Doing Business Rankings, Rwanda has further improved to reach the 56th position globally when it comes to the ease of doing business, from the 62nd position out of 190 countries last year.

In Africa, Rwanda is ranked the second easiest place to do business, still after Mauritius which is 49th globally.

The World Bank indicates that the expedient growth in Rwanda with significant progress across all the key sectors is characterized with progress achieved through transparency, accountability and strategic channeling of investments in the right direction to maximize impact. It also notes that the country has achieved significant improvements, especially in the service industry, and is ranked 2nd in the world in credit financing and now 4th globally on registration of property.

According to the World Bank Doing Business Report the following indicators triggered significant improvements in the country:

In starting business, Rwanda improved the online registration one-stop shop and streamlined post-registration in particular putting VAT registration online.

In registering property, Rwanda made it easier to register property by introducing effective time limits and increasing the transparency of the land administration system.

In trading across borders, Rwanda made trading across borders easier by removing the mandatory pre-shipment inspection for imported products.

In enforcing contracts, Rwanda made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic case management system for judges and lawyers.

The 2017 World Bank report also introduced a gender dimension that measures equality of ownership between men and women in registration, ownership and rights to business. From the reports’ observation, Rwanda features all the three elements for both men and women, as it has a gender equality principle that provides for the minimum of 30% quota for women in all decision making positions.

“Rwanda over the past few years has focused on optimizing the service industry and capitalizing on investment opportunities that promote long term sustainable growth, owing to the significant advancement of 56th position from 62nd position globally,” commented the CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, Francis Gatare.

“We also continue to harness the role of the private sector in accelerating economic growth to make the country even much easier and conducive in conducting business,” he added.

“However, we would not have achieved these advancements without the support of our stakeholders whose social and financial impact has been greatly realized in the country,” Gatare further pointed out. “We will therefore continue to stretch our borders and ensure that strengthening the regional economy is at the center of Rwanda’s sustainable development making Africa an investment hub as a whole.”

Vehicles impounded in police operation

By Staff reporter
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The operation was part of continuous traffic checks. (file photo)

Police in Gatsibo District impounded two motorcycles and a vehicle for lack of the required documents or transport of illegal goods.

According to the district police commander, chief inspector of police (CIP) Jean Berchmans Dusengimana, the operation is part of the Rwanda National Police (RNP) continuous crackdown on drugs traffickers, smuggling and road carnage.

“We mounted a snap-check as part of our routine security operations and intercepted two motorcycles whose drivers did not have the required documents including insurance and driver’s license. We also impounded a BMW car the driver of which had no insurance, mechanical inspection certificate and driver’s license,” Dusengimana said.

During the operation, police also recovered 16 cartons of Zebra Waragi, an illicit gin packed in banned polythene bags, which was being transported by one of the impounded motorcycles.

Dusengimana noted that some of the fatal accidents are often caused by drivers transporting illegal goods as they drive recklessly in an attempt not to get caught.

“These continuous operations are meant to keep people safe from accidents as well as to fight crime, and drugs trafficking in particular,” he said. “Some vehicles involved in road accidents lack the required traffic documents, and drivers have no license, which means they lack knowledge on road safety standards.”

BK kicks off Golden Anniversary tree planting campaign

By Triphomus Muyagu
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BK CEO Diane Karusisi and the Minister of Natural Resources, Vincent Biruta, plant a tree in Nyagatare. (photos Triphomus Muyagu)

Bank of Kigali (BK) on Saturday kicked off a tree planting campaign to conserve the environment in Nyagatare district, Eastern Province.

For the activity, which is held to mark the bank’s 50 years of operations, BK partnered with a local association with the ultimate aim to plant 1 million trees in Karangazi, Nyagatare, which will cover 30% of the area in that cell.

At the event, BK staff headed by CEO Diane Karusisi, were joined by the Minister of Natural Resources Vincent Biruta, and provincial authorities.

Karusisi observed that the bank considers it a responsibility to protect and conserve the environment. “To have development, the environment has to be conserved,” she said.

“This area has been affected by drought, and planting trees can help mitigate that. We chose to support this initiative as part of activities to mark BK’s 50th anniversary since incorporation, and in this first phase we will plant 50,000 trees,”Karusisi said, adding that the activity is also in line with the government’s objectives of protecting the environment.

BK’s CEO further noted that after half a century of activities, the bank aims to continue to offer the best services to Rwandans by promoting electronic payment. The company also plans to expand its infrastructure to reach the country’s unbanked population, especially through agency banking and self-service products such as ATMs.

Karusisi called on people to use banking services to develop themselves and assure the future of their children, and also called on other organizations to follow BK’s example in environment protection.

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A plaque was unveiled to mark BK’s tree planting project.

Minister Vincent Biruta for his part expressed his gratitude for the initiative.

“We are happy with BK’s initiative, planting trees will mitigate drought and this will promote agriculture in this area, so we will continue to supporting the bank to promote this campaign,” he said.

“A good financial institution has to have projects that develop the community and transform the wellbeing of citizens; what BK is doing should be an example to other private institutions. We will work closely with the residents here to ensure that the trees don’t wither or get destroyed by cattle,” Biruta added.

Local residents also expressed their appreciation.

“Our crops suffer from the dry weather, so we are happy with BK’s vision for this region,” remarked Emanuel Hitimana. “We will take good care of these trees by watering them, and hope they will help in getting enough rainfall water so that our crops will not wilt.”

RNP completes rotation of peacekeepers to CAR

By Staff reporter
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The 230 police officers will join the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic. (courtesy photo)

On Friday, the last group of 230 police officers left Kigali International Airport to complete the rotation of two contingents of 280 officers to serve under the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (Minusca).

The two contingents of 140 police officers each, are Protection Support Unit 2 (PSU II) and Formed Police Unit 2 (FPU II) under the command of assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Barthelemy Rugwizangoga and chief supt. Claude Kajeguhakwa, respectively.

Prior to the deployment, the contingents briefed by the deputy inspector general of police (DIGP) in charge of Operations, Dan Munyuza, who urged them to build on the legacy of those they will replace putting into consideration the national values and ensure mission excellence.

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The returning contingents left a legacy highly recognized for bringing back relative peace and security, and safety of VIPs. (courtesy photo)

PSU II and FPU II replaced an equal number of Rwandan police peacekeepers, who arrived home later in the evening at about 5pm headed by ACP Benoit Kayijuka and chief supt. Johnson Sesonga, respectively.

Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera, on behalf of Rwanda National Police (RNP), presided over the departure and arrival of the contingents.

The returning contingents left a legacy highly recognized for bringing back relative peace and security, and safety of VIPs.

The FPU specializes in public order management like crowd control; facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance, escort duties and protection of UN facilities, while the PSU undertakes special duties such as protection for VIPs among others.

Currently, the PSU in CAR is tasked, among others, with ensuring security detail of the Prime Minister, Simplice Sarandji.

ACP Kayijuka, speaking to the media on arrival at Kigali International Airport, commended the resilience and professionalism exhibited by the officers under his command during their tour of duty.

“We are grateful to be back home, all of us safe, physically and mentally ready to continue serving our country in other capacities that we will be assigned,” he noted.

“Any successful tour of duty depends upon the pre-deployment preparation, readiness and understanding the mission architecture and support from the sending country; we are therefore thankful for the support from RNP and the Government of Rwanda prior and during the mission, which helped us to serve successfully as required.”

Rwanda and DRC launch Comesa Simplified Trade Regime

By Staff reporter
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Trade Ministers Kisula and Kanimba at the launch of the Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project on Friday in Bukavu, Eastern DRC. (courtesy photo)

The Minister of Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs (Mineacom), François Kanimba and his counterpart from the DR Congo,. Néfertiti Ngudianza Bayokisa Kisula on Thursday launched the Comesa Simplified Trade Regime (STR) and signed an MoU on the promotion of cross-border trade between the two countries.

The two Ministers then launched the Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project, funded by the World Bank, on Friday in Bukavu, Eastern DRC.

The Ministers reiterated their commitment to improve the working environment between the two countries, most especially services delivered at the borders. They agreed on these frameworks to facilitate cross border trade; eliminate non-tariff barriers; fight against commercial and customs fraud; ensure effective management; strengthen the exchange of information and statistics; improve control of standards, quality, sanitary and phytosanitary; and harmonize views on the implementation of the Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project.

Speaking on Thursday, Kanimba said that it is a milestone for small traders from both countries to trade freely without any barriers.

“We are committed to improve and promote cross-border trade between our country and the rest of the countries in the region. This is part of promoting tripartite free trade area across Africa,” he said.

Kanimba added that the trade deal will significantly increase trade between Rwanda and the DRC which will boost the growth of both countries’ economies.

Kisula observed that relations between the DRC and Rwanda are growing strong.

“Small-scale traders have been given the green light to maximally utilize market opportunities existing between the two neighboring countries. The DRC is committed to implementing the Comesa Simplified Trade Regime and promoting commodity-based trade (CBT) with immediate effect,” she said.

Between 40,000 and 50,000 small traders cross Poids Lourd border post between Rwanda and DRC on daily basis, according to Rwanda’s Emigration and Migration office.

In the agreement, Rwanda and DRC agreed on a list of 168 commodities that will be exonerated from import duties not exceeding $2,000.

Minister Kanimba noted that Mineacom plans to establish a modern market and bonded warehouse at the Rubavu border post. Construction will start this month to avoid travelling long distances faced by DRC-Rwandan traders.

Products that are commonly traded across this border include agricultural products, animal feed and other grain mill products, pastries, audio-visual products, recreational and construction equipment, cosmetics among others.

 

Imbuto Foundation, Mohammed VI Foundation sign cooperation deal

By Triphomus Muyagu
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Rita Zirimwabagabo, the vice-chairperson of Imbuto Foundation, signed for Imbuto Foundation and delegate Mostafa Terrab on the side of Mohammed VI Foundation. (courtesy photo)

The Imbuto Foundation and the Mohammed VI Foundation for Sustainable Development have signed an agreement of cooperation, based on their common interests in health, education and economic empowerment.

Representatives of the foundations signed the deal on Friday, witnessed by the King Mohammed VI of Morocco, who has been on State Visit in Rwanda, President Paul Kagame and the First Lady Jeannette Kagame who is also the Chairperson of Imbuto Foundation.

Mostafa Terrab, a delegate of King Mohammed VI for the Foundation, said human development is at the core of development, stressing that the foundation, set up in 2008, focuses on healthcare, education and fisheries and animal health.

“We have constructed an eye clinic in Darkar, Senegal aimed at improving health services there and on education our foundation focuses on constructing and providing equipment to vocational training centers in tourism, and the hotel and restaurant sector. We aim at promoting South-South cooperation and solidarity,” Terrab said.

Sandrine Umutoni, the director general of Imbuto Foundation, remarked that the foundation has been boosted with €1 million from its new partner to develop and implement its projects.

Rita Zirimwabagabo, the vice-chairperson of Imbuto Foundation, signed for Imbuto Foundation and Terrab on the side of Mohammed VI Foundation.

Rwanda, Uganda police chiefs review bilateral cooperation

By Staff reporter
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The meeting was attended by the Chiefs and senior officers of the two forces. (courtesy photo)

The Rwanda National Police (RNP) and the Uganda Police Force (UPF) have held a bilateral meeting to strengthen their partnership in fighting transnational and cross-border crimes.

The meeting was held in Mbarara District, western Uganda and presided over by the two police chiefs, CG Emmanuel K. Gasana of RNP and Gen. Kale Kayihura of UPF, and attended by senior police officers from the two countries

The chiefs of police reiterated the need for greater cooperation to ensure safety and security along the northern corridor and on common borders.

They further discussed strategic actions to combat transnational and cross-border crimes particularly terrorism, narcotic drugs and human trafficking, as well as tracking, arresting and exchange of fugitives.

Delegates from the two police forces agreed on enhancing joint training, exchange of best practices, cooperation in disaster management and response, and joint community policing to sensitise communities along the common borders on cross border crimes.

The Mbarara meeting came as follow-up on previous bilateral meetings – the last one held in Kigali, Rwanda on February 17, 2015.

During the meeting, IGP Gasana emphasized the need for “rethinking strategies on how to approach the global security challenges which pose a threat to safety of people and development of nations.”

Noting the importance of bilateral cooperation between two countries, the IGP singled out the Mirama Hills One-Border Post as testimony to what cooperation can achieve, particularly in enhancing border security.

He emphasized that the ultimate goal of joint police cooperation is to pursue collective security and create a secure environment for business growth.

The IGP further commended the achievements so far registered under the mutual agreement that continue to set a precedent for what this cooperation holds for the people living in Rwanda and Uganda and others that use the northern corridor.

The meeting appreciated the achievements brought by the bilateral cooperation in various areas including exchange of criminal information which has contributed to curbing crimes like motor vehicle theft, narcotic drugs and arrest and exchange of fugitives among others.

To achieve the above, the meeting also recommended more joint training, joint exercise plays and exchange of good practices.

On his part, Gen Kayihura noted that such a set up establishes a platform for sustainable growth and development of the two countries as set out in their respective national strategies.

Cooperation at a bilateral, regional, and international level is among RNP key priority areas in pursuit of peace and security at home, in the region and for a safer world generally.

Community helps tackle cattle theft in Eastern Province

By Staff reporter
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The Eastern Province is the most affected region when it comes to cattle theft. (file photo)

The police have commended the increased involvement of communities in policing and intensified night patrols to tackle cattle theft, which is on the significant decline.

According to inspector of police Emmanuel Kayigi, police spokesman for the Eastern Province which is the most affected region, cases of cattle theft are now rare, which he attributed to community policing and the active role of the people who have worked with the police to identify suspected thieves.

By mid-September, police had arrested 87 people suspected of being behind a series of thefts in the Province, particularly in the districts of Gatsibo, Nyagatare and Kayonza.

At least 81 of them have since been remanded. The suspects were paraded before thousands of residents as police completed their dossiers and forwarded them to the prosecution.

“In the last one month, we have recorded four cases of cattle theft in Gatsibo; four suspects were arrested and all the stolen cows recovered. We haven’t registered any case in Nyagatare,” Kayigi said.

Cases of cattle theft that were previously handled by mediators (Abunzi), are now referred to the courts.

“The people have the power to protect what belongs to them, ensure that their households and communities are safer, and that’s what community policing is about. It’s the partnership between the police and the public for the wellbeing of all, and that way, we will create a strong bond in fighting, prevention and quick response where necessary through timely and credible information sharing,” he said.

Minagri and OCP Group sign agreement for fertilizer production

By Staff reporter
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According to Minagri, the agreement will provide considerable added value to local communities. (file photo)

The ministry of agriculture and animal resources and the Moroccan OCP Group, the largest phosphate producer in the world and a leading global fertilizer player, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on an industrial investment in blending units in Rwanda for the production of fertilizers adapted to the local soil and crop needs.

The MoU aims at stronger cooperation between the two parties to meet productivity targets and address sustainability challenges along the whole agricultural value chain. The investment will include the development and implementation of a blending facility in Rwanda, focused on supplying quality fertilizers, and promoting innovation and product development.

It will also contribute to strengthening local marketing and distribution systems, and strengthening the agricultural extension system.

In a statement, Minagri said that by strengthening local blending capabilities, and providing local farmers with adapted fertilizers to their soils and crops, the agreement will provide considerable added value to local communities.

“To this end, Minagri and OCP Group will leverage their mutual capabilities, technical know-how, engineering capabilities, and longstanding partnership expertise to contribute to the success of this project,” the statement concludes.

Moroccan King pays tribute to victims of genocide

By Triphomus Muyagu
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King Mohammed VI laying a wreath at Kigali Genocide Memorial. (courtesy photos)

Moroccan King Mohammed VI, who is in Rwanda on a State Visit, on Thursday visited the Kigali genocide memorial and paid tribute to victims of the genocide against the Tutsis.

At Gisozi Genocide Memorial Center, the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the Genocide, King Mohammed VI was accompanied by the Minister of Sports and Culture Julienne Uwacu, the Minister of Natural Resources Vincent Biruta, and the executive secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), Jean-Damascène Bizimana.

“Genocide is a dark chapter in the history and collective memory of the Rwandan people. It’s a human tragedy that will continue to challenge the conscience of mankind. And Rwanda today is wholeheartedly embracing life, it has confidence in the present and it looks to a promising future with hope and optimism, a future in which mutual affection, coexistence, concord, security and stability will prevail,” was the message King Mohammed VI left.

He also laid a wreath in honor of the more than one million Genocide victims, and was guided around the Children’s Room, a tribute to young people killed in the Genocide.

He also toured the memorial’s exhibition to learn about the genocide history.

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The King at the Children’s Room of the memorial, a tribute to young people killed in the Genocide.

Gisagara police arrests two for theft of laptops

By Staff reporter
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(Internet photo)

Police in Gisagara has recovered 10 laptops that were stolen from Kansi Secondary School last weekend. Two people, a senior five student from the school identified as Ignace N., 24, and a security guard called Marc N., 35, have been taken into custody in connection with the theft.

In the night of October 16, the two allegedly broke into the school’s computer laboratory and stole eleven laptops.

“On October 17, the school administration lodged a complaint with police about the theft of 11 laptops the previous night, and the security guard who was on duty that night was immediately arrested,” explained the police spokesman for the Southern Province, chief inspector of police André Hakizimana.

“Later that day, we held a meeting with the parents and all the residents in the area to facilitate the investigations. Shortly after the meeting, an elderly woman in her early 80s called her son, who is a village chief, and told him that a student from the school had kept things in her house. When they checked, they found 10 laptops and the student was arrested when he came back to collect the goods,” Hakizimana said.

CIP Hakizimana commended the woman and the residents for their help in solving the crime and appealed to everyone with information on any theft or mismanagement of school equipment and resources, to always report it.

Police promotes road safety in schools

By Staff reporter
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Pupils are taught how to use a zebra crossing. (courtesy photo)

Police officers in charge of traffic on Wednesday visited GS Inyange Byumba in Gicumbi and Heritage Parents Academy in Gatsibo to promote road safety awareness.

The activities in the two schools also included teaching children how to use zebra crossings and other practical and theoretical road safety standards.

In Gicumbi, , inspector of police Eugene Niyonzima, the officer in charge of traffic in the district, demonstrated to pupils how a zebra crossing and traffic lights work.

He also warned them against playing or walking in the middle of the road.

“Some of you have a dangerous tendency of playing in the middle of the road, which should stop immediately. Always be vigilant and in case you want to stop a vehicle so your friends can cross the road, you should raise a hand towards the direction where a vehicle is coming from but wait until the automobile stops to cross,” Niyonzima added.

Similar message was also delivered in Gastibo where students were also tutored on the dangers of drug abuse, human trafficking, gender-based violence and child abuse.

Teachers of both schools thanked RNP for bringing these messages to children, noting that this has taught them on how to behave while walking or crossing the roads.

They also in turn warned the pupils not to play in the middle of the road, especially highways where children often play football, not to cross the road just anywhere to avoid being hit by vehicles, motorcycles or bicycles.

Moroccan company to construct pharmaceutical plant in Rwanda

By Staff reporter
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One of Cooper Pharma’s plants in Morocco. (Internet photo)

Cooper Pharma Ltd, a Moroccan pharmaceutical company, and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the purpose of building the first pharmaceutical plant in the country.

The 10,000-square-meter plant, which is set to open early 2019, will produce beta-lactam antibiotics with the aim of giving easy access to high-quality, affordable medicines. The factory is supposed to serve the six EAC countries.

Cooper Pharma will also train its Rwandan workforce as well as health professionals in the region.

The MoU was singed in the context of the State Visit by Moroccan King Mohammed VI to Rwanda.

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