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Francophonie Vs Commonwealth: How Rwanda Bagged $3 Billion When It Said ‘au revoir’

Posted on 30 November 2015 by peter

The Queen of England in a group photo with heads of states that are members of the commonwealth community

The Queen of England in a group photo with heads of states that are members of the commonwealth community

Jacques Chirac, former French President, must have been laughing at what he imagined were ‘les imbéciles’. Why not?

For starters, France had been Rwanda’s master for three decades. Frankly, France had paid for the piper, and so it called the tunes.

The French held the people and leaders of the land of a thousand hills in utmost contempt.

A day came November 2009 – ‘les imbéciles’ defied their supposed master. They had had enough.

The master had engineered the most despicable massacre on planet earth, genocide against the Tutsis in 1994. Millions became refugees. The country descended into abyss.

Rwandan leaders continued to be humiliated internationally. After all, in Paris, they were regarded as a bunch of rag-tagged-power-hungry rebels. For Rwandan officials, this was hurting gravely.

It was time to end the humiliation. Leaders began discussing how to dislodge the Frenchman and set themselves free from among the Francophonie ‘children’.

Rwanda was desperate for new friends and neighbours who valued mutual respect and sovereignty. First in mind? The 53-member Commonwealth family!

Paul Kagame, then the Vice President and Minister of Defense, plus some senior officials, went to the drawing board.

There were fierce debates. There were questions of course; should we join? What is the process? Would we make it? How much long would it take us to get in anyway?

Mozambique had just joined the bloc, yet it had never been a British colony. Mozambicans spoke no English and had no traces to British culture.

For Rwanda, the whole checklist mirrored it, according to people familiar with the process at the time.

The country was only recovering from unimaginable destruction. There were too many problems to fix; democracy, prisons packed with hundreds of thousands of genocide suspects, survivors nursing wounds – above all, no business environment to speak of.

Stability alone was an issue, and then wars in neighbouring Zaire.

Rwandan diplomats began traversing the globe; from London to Lagos, Johannesburg to Sydney. At this point, lobbying was at its best. It went on from 1995 to1997 and onwards.

The Secretary General of the Commonwealth was a Nigerian, Chief Emeka Anyaoku. While in London, he lost count of times Rwandan negotiators were in his ears.

Francophonie Vs Commonwealth: How Rwanda Bagged $3 Billion When It Said ‘au revoir’

President Paul Kagame Interacts with England’s Queen Elizabeth II

In comes the British Council

The negotiators never got tired of listing the advantages Rwanda had to whoever they met. Notably, the 1992-1993Arusha negotiations had been conducted in English.

Many of those on the delegations had studied in from Uganda, Kenya, and Nigerian universities, all of which use a copycat from the British curriculum.

Also, Rwanda had a seat at the UN Security Council in 1995. Everything was also excellently presented in English.

Back in the region, maneuvers were easier. It was now in the early 2000s. The country was already part of the East African Community, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, all traditional partners and members of the Commonwealth network.

Rwanda had already shifted from French to English as a medium of instruction in schools.

The British Council in Kigali was very busy offering free consultancy and financing the transition, both directly and indirectly.

It hasn’t stopped. Millions of MacMillan textbooks and Oxford English dictionaries not only piled in schools, but on desks of French speaking civil servants.

The British Council has gone as far as offering free tutor English to every single French speaking teacher, and has offered them I-pods installed with English courses.

Street names, such as Avenue Paul VI, have been replaced with Kinyarwanda names and numbers.

The parliament at some point discussed shifting from Right Hand Drive to Left Hand Drive, but agreed it was too costly and made no economic sense.

Now, more importantly to consider, all Rwanda’s exports and imports transit through East Africa. Plus the fact that people are the same across borders. The rest was an artificial divide; Francophonie.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy listens as President Paul Kagame responds to Journalists during a joint press conference in Rwanda’s capital Kigali

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy listens as President Paul Kagame responds to Journalists during a joint press conference in Rwanda’s capital Kigali

In 2005, government invited the World Bank to independently monitor the country’s ambitious business reform process. No one could bet on Rwanda’s bid. It was becoming very obvious.

As negotiations intensified, Chirac had already retired, and it was Nicolas Sarkozy, but all of them were taking note.

They finally discovered, ‘les imbéciles’ were serious. Things were happening fast, and spontaneously.

Rwanda was just one step closer to exiting the Francophonie family and joining the Anglophone family.

France’s leaders stopped the laughter. They intensified a complicated smear campaign – questioning human rights records, and that the prisons were full of innocent suspects. Indeed Rwanda could not qualify by that alone.

Progressively the country was able to show steadiness – education, business reforms, and judicial changes. The death penalty was scrapped.

Tens of thousands of genocide convicts were released. The list of good happenings was getting too long – democratic elections, gender balance –and the economy was booming.

“For us, it was a strategy,” one of the officials involved told KT Press. “We did not want to be monopolised and dictated upon by the Francophonie through Paris …” he said in the interview.

“We lobbied Canada, Australia, Nigeria, South Africa and others! Most of them were friendly to us. Other things like media, and democracy we were on the right track,” the source narrated.

“It took a while but eventually the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, this time an Indian, (Kamlesh Sharma) was the one who got the process through.”

Regional allies also played a major role, say other sources. It “was a revolt against the French who had insinuated that we couldn’t survive without them”.

The date was November 29, 2009. The Commonwealth welcomed Rwanda. It was a beautiful Sunday morning.

Louise Mushikiwabo – then Rwanda’s information minister, now Foreign Affairs Minister, spoke joyfully about the announcement at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting taking place in Trinidad and Tobago.

“My government sees this accession as recognition of the tremendous progress this country has made in the last 15 years,” she said.

ONLY 0.3% French investments!

Many in the European mainstream media, NGOs, and the academia were up in arms against Rwanda’s Membership into the Commonwealth. But above all, France was on the receiving end of humiliation.

The plan in Kigali however, was to keep one foot in the French maiden grouping – La Francophonie. It was a double-deal, if you like to call it that way.

Ties between the two countries ruptured in 2006 when Rwanda expelled France’s ambassador, Dominique Decherf and 29 of his staff, after a controversial French judge, Jean-Louis Bruguière, issued arrest warrants for nine high ranking Rwandans alleging that they shot down former President Juvénal Habyarimana’s jet.

Rwanda was mindful of the fact that only a few months before acceptance into the Commonwealth; there were only two French investments worth $3 million.

After securing membership into the commonwealth group, businesses from Paris dried away.

Coincidentally, in what was clearly a planned fit, Claude Guéant, Elysee’s Secretary General, arrived in Kigali and met Kagame, on the same day of Rwanda’s acceptance into the Commonwealth.

President Sarkozy flew to Kigali to mend the ties; a few months later after Rwandans stopped saying Bonjour and began saying Good Morning. In reciprocityPresident Paul Kagame flew to Paris too.

Six years down the road from commonwealth entry, one would ask; was the painstaking shift worth it? Can Rwanda smile with the Frenchman off their back?

Exclusive investigation by KT Press shows if Rwandan leaders had not taken the risky strategy, there would be little to show for the past 21 years since the mass slaughter of 1994.

KT Press analyzed a massive trove of data from multiple sources. And the findings may leave many breathless.

Between 2009 and 2014, Rwanda has attracted about $3 billion from 340 companies, a figure equivalent to 40% of the current country’s GDP.

This foreign investment is distributed in agriculture, telecommunication, construction, mining and quarry, energy, manufacturing, hospitality, transport, education – and spread across the board.

From the former colonial master however, investments barely count – a meager $9.6m or 0.3% of Rwanda’s total investment since then. Seventy per cent (70%) of this investment portfolio is in a gambling venture ($5million) and construction.

Belgium on the other side, has invested only $34 million (1% of total investments) during the same period.

Before Rwandan diplomats flew back home with the Commonwealth certificate, Minister Mushikiwabo told the world that; “Rwandans are ready to seize economic, political, cultural and other opportunities offered by the Commonwealth network.”

Without a doubt, Rwanda has ripped big from the Commonwealth, but also from widening its hunting horizons.

Just recently, in 2011, Turkey, a country that Rwanda had no previous ties with, set in. By the time KT Press was conducting research on this project, 2014; Turkish investments had reached $370 million, 12% of Rwanda’s total investments since 2009.

Turkey has vastly invested in Rwanda’s energy sector and made substantial injections in the mining, construction and hospitality sectors.

That is not all. Turkish Airline flies to Kigali everyday to take hundreds of African passengers to Europe and elsewhere, all flown in by Rwanda’s national carrier;RwandAir that picks them from different cities of West, Central and Southern Africa.

A few months after setting up shop in Kigali, the Turkish Airline’s Rwanda Country Manager, Burcin Isler, was all praised for the country.

“We trust the Rwandan economy and its stability,” he said at the time. “Important to note is that 70% of world airline traffic floats over Turkey, this offers a good environment for long term investments.”

According to Isler, Rwanda being in the heart of Africa serves as a strategic point of connection to the rest of Africa and since Istanbul is a strategic position in the world airline traffic, and being a major connection point to different points on the globe, opens Rwanda to the world.

“For us, it makes economic sense and increases our global expansion to serve the airline industry the best we can,” Isler said.

Yet, a decade ago, the country had no functioning airline. Rwandans had no clue what was happening from the outside world, not even as near as Nairobi or Dar-es-Salaam.

At the moment, RwandAir flies to major cities in African regions and an additional one in Dubai and has just bought more fleets to enter the European and Asian markets.

The airline has facilitated a conferencing industry the country has began focusing on, where Rwanda earned $170 million last year alone.

President Kagame Greets Queen Elizabeth II

President Kagame Greets Queen Elizabeth II

When the wealth came, so did the social benefits

The line of investors grows bigger by the day. The United States is not only Rwanda’s biggest ally, but also a source of the largest junk of foreign investment.

Exclusive figures from the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) indicate that a total 111 projects worth $390.6 million were registered in 2014 alone.

Of this, Symbion Power, an American energy investment firm, accounted for 40.2% ($157 million), which was injected into extraction of methane gas from Rwanda’s Lake Kivu.

Early this year, Rwanda signed a deal worth $75 million with Kigali Water Limited, a Rwandan-registered company owned by Metito, a water management company based in the United Arab Emirates, to treat water from Nyabarongo River.

Mid November, this year, President Kagame was in Africa Global Business Forum (AGBF2015) at the Atlantis in Dubai and signed another big multimillion dollar deal for hotels and hospitality.

Mauritius, S. Korea, China, Netherlands, India and more than a dozen others have also wired millions of funds to Kigali.

Mauritius has invested roughly $112 million and S. Korea with over $250 million, largely in the telecommunication industry.

Now 85% of the population is connected to mobile phones with 35% of the subscribers accessing 4G internet.

Sadly though, the total investment from Mauritius, S. Korea and Turkey alone ($732 million) is bigger than what France and Belgium invested in Rwanda since they began colonising the country half a century ago.

The average Rwandan had never spent a dollar per day. Today, a Rwandan spends averagely $755 a year (~$2.5 a day). Life expectancy has gone up from a miserable 26 years in 1992 to 65 years now, according to the World Bank records.

Maternal Mortality rate stands at 268/100,000, and Infant Mortality rate is at 28/1000, as per Millennium Development Goals data. Over 90% of Rwandans have healthcare insurance, perhaps why 95% of children are immunised.

The same source indicates that 97% of children are attending primary school and 80% of them manage to complete that level.

Only five countries in the world treat women better than Rwanda, none of them is African, but at least Rwanda leads in women representation in parliament (64%) and a mandatory of 30% in other government positions.

Queen Elizabeth II shares a light moment with President Kagame

Queen Elizabeth II shares a light moment with President Kagame

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance says Rwanda has serviced all its debts and the government has been able to provide one dollar per day as stipend to the vulnerable and the poorest under a scheme called Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP).

Prior to throwing the French sphere boots under the table, Rwanda had to consult and seek permission from the Elysee whenever the country wanted to engage any other country for ties.

A researcher on Rwanda, Dr. Fredrick Golooba Mutebi, spoke to KT Press from South Africa where he was presenting a paper on Rwanda.

He had just come from another conference in USA for the same. Until today, he said, “the world is ignorant about what Rwanda has achieved.”

This, he explained, like many other observers, was a result of chocking under the discomfort the country had been subjected to.

Today, Rwanda has expanded its wings. President Kagame is Rwanda’s top salesman. He easily picks a phone and calls Dubai, Washington, Moscow or Beijing. He meets anybody at the touch of a button.

Howard Homan Buffett is putting $500 million into Rwanda to transform the country’s agriculture. There are no strings attached. “Partners shouldn’t pull out the rugs from each other,” he told Times Magazines two years ego.

Meanwhile, a $400 billion Argentinean firm, POSITIVO-BGH has set up an electronics factory in a special designated zone for industries, planning to produce electronics for the African market, and has already released 150,000 computers into the market with 600,000 units expected to be produced per year.

The $10 million Chinese H&M garments factory located in the same industrial zone has trained 200 Rwandan youths to produce clothing on contract for big Western trademarks such as Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.

But this is not where Rwanda wants to be yet. The country hasn’t tapped well into the predicted $14 trillion combined GDP and $680 billion of trade between the Commonwealth member countries.

It is not yet time to sing ‘Look at Eureka, we have found it’, says General Caesar Kayizari, who has been sent to Turkey as Ambassador to strengthen the new friendship.

For Kagame, whom four million Rwandans signed petition forcing the parliament to amend the contention and pave way for another mandate, has a signature word known to him, “the struggle continues.”

But wait a minute! Who can stand there without being part of the good happenings? France wants to bury the hatchet and get a portion too.

Recently, a consortium of French investors announced they will be investing some €250 million.

Nevertheless, it is clear now that, irrespective of a superficial supremacist point of view, France seems to need Rwanda more than Kigali needs Paris.

At least French investors don’t want to be the ones missing out on opportunities others from elsewhere are dying to exploit.

And by the way, Rwanda is still member of the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) and participates in its summits.

However, you should have seen the joy and sense of belonging Rwanda’s Prime Minister had during the just concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta.

Whenever Rwandan officials are reminded of whatever retribution for showing France an exit door, and opening the other for the Anglo-Saxons, they shrug shoulders, sigh and possibly retort, “On s’en fiche!” (Who cares!)

President Paul Kagame and former French President Nicholas Sarkozy

President Paul Kagame and former French President Nicholas Sarkozy

Source: KTPress

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Rwanda Could Be Dubai’s Next Investment Destination


Rwanda Could Be Dubai’s Next Investment Destination

Posted on 17 November 2015 by peter

Rwanda Could Be Dubai’s Next Investment Destination

President Paul Kagame at the 3rd Africa Global Business Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (photo/twitter)

Rwanda is keen to push for an increase in the volume and quality investments with United Arab Emirates (UAE)-President Paul Kagame said Tuesday.

The United Arab Emirates has demonstrated itself as a global business hotspot. In Africa alone, Available statistics indicate that total exports from Dubai to Africa are close to $1.3 billion annually.

Rwanda, with a fastest growing economy and conducive investment policies, could be Dubai’s next investment destination.

President Kagame, who was speaking at the ongoing two-day third Africa Global Business Forum (AGBF2015) at the Atlantis, Dubai, in United Arab Emirates, said; “We want to see increasing volume and quality and two-way exchange of investment between Dubai and Rwanda.”

Rwanda established Kigali Free Trade Zone, with a purpose of becoming the main shipment point for goods in a region with a targeted market 60 million people.

According to Rwanda’s Ministry of Trade,UAE occupies 24% of export to the Kigali Free Trade Zone, mainly enroute from China and other countries.

Early this year,Rwanda signed a deal worth $75 million with Kigali Water Limited, a Rwandan-registered company owned by Metito, a water management company based in the United Arab Emirates, to treat water from Nyabarongo River.

The agreement will facilitate Rwanda in meeting its target of giving all its population access to clean water by 2018 up from current 75%.

For President Kagame, “We are making the kinds of investments that will render being landlocked irrelevant,” he told the forum attended by African Heads of State, Ministers, dignitaries, global CEOs, heads of private banks, sovereign wealth funds and private equity firms.

Rwanda-a land-locked East African nation, is rapidly recovering the economy, with a growth rate of 8%, 21 years after the genocide.

President Kagame told the forum that: “If Rwanda can make progress we have seen, it means other countries in similar situations can also achieve that.”

Rwanda Could Be Dubai’s Next Investment Destination

President Paul Kagame (L) (photo/twitter)

Rwanda Could Be Dubai’s Next Investment Destination

Uganda’s Prime minister Ruhakana Rugunda (center) (photo/twitter)

Source: KT-Press

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Rwanda to host Africa travel association congress

Posted on 13 November 2015 by peter


Rwanda will be host  the 41st Annual Congress of the Africa Travel Association to be held in Kigali, after a yearjoining the association as a full member.

Being selected as host country reflects the strides Rwanda has made over the past decade in raising the country’s tourism profile. Rwanda will assume the presidency in 2016 as host for the continental fete.

Tourism is Rwanda’s leading foreign exchange earner and visitor numbers have steadily risen over the years. .

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Village-themed tourism improves rural livelihoods

Posted on 13 November 2015 by peter

Welcome Muzungu are the melody soft, tender words that hit your eardrums as you watch the jolly smiling face of the 60 year old mother of four, a farmer turned tour guide as she welcomes her tourists.

In her eyes lies a great ambition of conquer despite the fact she never saw a classroom, a determination that saw her and her fellow farmers set up a tourism company to tap the tourism potential around their area Mayange in Bugesera district.

“I used to fear whites because I thought I cannot talk to them, “said Suzana Nyiranzabandora adding, “but since we came together as a community to set up a tourism company I have been able to learn how to communicate in English.”


Millions of rural people are expected to shake off poverty through village-themed tourism integrating agriculture with industrial production and the service sector.

The community around Mayange sector in Bugesera district came together to set up the Mayange tourism company which utilizes the ecotourism around the sector and the district and provides incomes for the shareholders.

“I have been able to earn income for my family and am now proud that I own a house because of this tourism initiative we started,” she added.

Nyiranzabandora like other members find refuge in tourism after farming as not faring well due to the climatic conditions in the Mayange sector that is characterized by prolonged dry spells as well as low soil fertility.

“Stakeholders are assured of sustainable incomes from tourism activities,” Egide Ntakirutimana head of the Mayange tourism company.


The tourism company is one of the few tourism initiatives started by communities to earn incomes from the budding tourism sector that still ranks as the country’s leading foreign exchange earner.

There is optimism that such emerging private sector initiatives will bolster domestic tourism which is still fragile and under government plans to boost but also discovering new more tour destinations across the country.

Louis Rwagaju, the mayor of Bugesera district says that tourism is part of the anticipated income generating activities, adding the district is looking at creating more infrastructure towards tourism destinations to easy access.

He also noted that village-themed tourism has great growth potential and will continue to help improve farmers’ livelihoods while integrating agriculture with industrial production and the service sector in rural areas,

“Our contribution as a district we will continue to extend roads, electricity and water to the tourism destinations,” Rwagaju added.

Bugesera and Mayange sector in particular provides an excellent view and nice landscape for nature walks and the lake Cyohoha shore known for having a variety of plant species.

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Rwanda could lose 4.5 of GDP through climate change

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Rwanda could lose 4.5 of GDP through climate change

Posted on 11 November 2015 by peter

Rwanda could lose 4.5 of GDP through climate change

Experts say that the Rwanda’s fast growing economy could likely lose as high as 4.5 percent of GDP due to impact of climate change by 2030.

According to the research conducted to ascertain the World’s Vulnerable 20 says that  the country’s variable climate  patterns pose  high risks of  extreme weather such as droughts, floods  which  impact  negatively on the  economic  growth.

With such variable patterns, the country research says is likely to face health impacts of climate change with increased incidences of malaria and hot and cold weather related epidemics.

“Rwanda is one of many countries that have contributed almost nothing to the problem of climate change, but will bear the brunt of its impacts,” said Amb. Claver Gatete, minister of Finance and economic planning in a statement.

The vulnerable 20 (V20) launched last month entails 19 countries and it aimed at strengthening economic and financial standards on climate change as well as provide new approaches to mitigate climate impacts in developing countries.

“By joining the V20, we are adding our voice to the message that the international community must do more to keep temperature rises below 1.5°C and support developing nations to adapt,” said the Minister.

Nevertheless, the country through several interventions such as poverty Environment Initiative has embarked on protecting its limited natural resources as well as ensuring that population activities do not impact on the climate.

“Climate change, deforestation and an imbalance between population growth and natural resources use are only some of the obstacles on our path.,” said Dr. Vicent Biruta, Minister of natural resources.

He adds, “It’s our conviction that by working together we will be able to overcome them.”

It is estimated that in absence of an effective global response, annual economic losses due to climate change are projected to exceed US$400 billion by 2030 for the Vulnerable 20 where Rwanda is also included.

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Rwanda Is 7th Global Business Reformer

Posted on 29 October 2015 by peter

Rwanda has established new building codes and urban planning regulations

Rwanda has established new building codes and urban planning regulations

Rwanda is now one of the world’s top most business reformers and leads in Sub-Sahara region according to the World Bank’s Doing Business report for 2016.

The report places Rwanda at the 7th position overall global reformer, out of 189 countries surveyed.

According to the report, Rwanda also ranks 62nd globally in ease of doing business while Mauritius ranks 32nd.

Rwanda leads all the East African countries followed by Kenya in ease of doing business, while Uganda and Tanzania respectively came on the 122 and 139 global positions. Burundi follows others but on 152nd position globally.

The report says that, in countries where rapid reforms were made in doing business since 2004, Rwanda leads in Sub-Saharan Africa, while Georgia takes over Europe; Colombia in Latin America and the Caribbean; the Arab Republic of Egypt in the Middle East and North Africa; China in East Asia and the Pacific and India in South Asia, among others.

Globally, the report indicates that Georgia improved the most in areas measured by Doing Business over the past 12 years, followed closely by Rwanda.

The report published Tuesday indicates Rwanda’s rapid reform is mainly based on the country’s policies in facilitating doing business and investments.

For instance, the report indicates that ten years ago, transferring property in Rwanda took more than a year but has been reduced to one month, as a result of the establishment of web-based land administration information system.

Rwanda has also removed a burden of new companies opening up accounts for value added tax (VAT) payments.

In dealing with construction permits, new building codes and urban planning regulations were established.

Meanwhile, Rwanda made use of its electronic filing and payment system compulsory in 2015. The time required for a business to prepare, file and pay taxes fell by 10 hours, from 119 hours a year to 109.

According to Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the country’s economic performance has been impressing in recent years.

According to last year’s doing business report, Rwanda was ranked 46th out of 189 countries globally, representing a strong performance compared to previous years.

The performance made Rwanda the best performing country in the East and Central Africa and 3rd easiest place to do business in Africa after Mauritius (1) which ranked 28th globally and South Africa (2) which ranked 43rd globally.

Launched in 2002, Doing Business report looks at domestic small and medium-size companies and measures the regulations applying to them through their life cycle.


Business Reforms in Rwanda…

Source: KT Press

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Rwanda Government endorses New Mining licenses

Posted on 16 October 2015 by peter

Mine workers show a load of mineral ore. Rwanda government has approved extra licenses to mineral and Quarry sites.

Mine workers show a load of mineral ore. Rwanda government has approved extra licenses to mineral and Quarry sites.

Rwanda’s cabinet has approved 29 new licenses for various mineral and quarry sites aimed at expanding the country’s mining potential.

State Minister in charge of mining told KT Press, “29 licenses were approved. They include; 1 small-scale mining license; 17 mineral exploration licenses; 11 quarrying licenses.”

The new licences will be revealed later. The country’s mining sector is rapidly growing and is a major contributor to export revenues.

Last year, the sector generated $203.32 million from exports. The ministry announced in August that rare precious stones have been discovered and mining activities should be underway soon.

The newly approved licenses will boost the existing 815 mining sites which in May this year produced 840 metric tons of minerals. This production alone pushed Rwanda to the top as the largest producer of minerals in the Great Lakes Region.

Between 2013 and December 2014, Rwanda exported 2,466,025kgs of tantalum which accounted for 28% of total 8,807,232Kg of tantalum produced globally.

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) earlier told KT Press that government has more than 22 new projects mainly in exploration worth $110.5million in investment commitments since 2011.

Meanwhile, in July 2014, six mining companies signed agreements with Rwanda and made commitments worth Rwf6.5 billion of investment for the next five years and targeting production of 3,300 tones.

Minister Imena said the mining sector targets to generate $400 million from mineral exports by 2017 and creating over 600,000 jobs.

Rwanda strictly adheres to Minerals Traceability Program where all minerals mined in the country are tagged from the mine-sites until they are ready to be exported.

The key minerals currently being mined and traded in Rwanda comprise mainly of cassiterite, wolframite, Colombo-tantalite and gold. Rwanda’s mining sector provides four kinds of licenses including; Prospecting license (for 2 years, non renewable), Research license (for 4 years, renewable once), Mining/exploitation license (for 5 years, renewable if the deposit lasts) and Concession license (for 30 years, renewable if the deposit is still economic).

In order to acquire a license, one must first register a company in Rwanda; provide a digital map of area applied for, business and action plans and an application letter.

Workers at a tungsten mine site in Rwanda

Workers at a tungsten mine site in Rwanda

Source: KTPress


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Rwanda To Conduct Gorilla Census


Rwanda To Conduct Gorilla Census

Posted on 07 October 2015 by peter

Rwanda To Conduct Gorilla Census

A mountain Gorilla cuddles its baby in their natural habitat in Rwanda’s Volcano Mountain

Rwanda has assembled a team of 60 scientists and tasked them with conducting a head count of all living mountain gorillas along the Greater Virunga Trans boundary.

The census, the government said, will provide data for policy and ways of boosting the country’s tourism and conservation efforts.

Indeed, national park authorities from Rwanda, DRC and neighboring Uganda on October 6, launched a gorilla population census, aimed at discovering the rare species that may have been unaccounted for.

The three countries in September signed a Greater Virunga Trans-boundary treaty.

Their survey will discover and provide vital information on age classes and sex ratios, number and size of the gorilla family groups, among others.

“The signing of the treaty signifies political will and commitment from the three countries to the new count of gorillas in the Virumga massif,” Dr. Muamba Tshibasu Georges, the group’s executive secretary said.

For the past five decades, Gorillas in the Trans-boundary protected area in the region have grown from 274 in 1972 to 480 as of last census conducted in 2010. Rwanda has 302 of the total number of gorillas from 20 families.

In 2005, Rwanda introduced Kwita-Izina (gorilla naming) ceremony that has become an annual international event.

This year, the country celebrated the birth of 24 baby gorillas.

The event attracts thousands of foreigners and locals, who gather in the country’s Northern Province to name new baby species that earn Rwanda millions of dollars every year in tourism attraction revenues.

According to RDB, Mountain gorilla visits remain a hotspot and a mega revenue generator, having taken 93% of $16.8 million revenues from park visits last year.

Foreigners visiting gorillas pay $750. While a foreign resident pays $350, locals pay Rwf30, 000 ($42).

Meanwhile, the census is supported by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme- a coalition of Fauna and Flora International and WWF, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation, Gorilla Doctors, and North Carolina Zoo.

Source: KTPress

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Dutch Investors Enthusiastic as Rwanda Day Dawns


Dutch Investors Enthusiastic as Rwanda Day Dawns

Posted on 02 October 2015 by peter

Dutch Investors Enthusiastic as Rwanda Day Dawns

Rwanda’s Ambassador in The Netherlands addressing dutch and Rwanda Business delegations in Amsterdam

Rwandan officials with high level business acumen are working around the clock in Netherlands to rattle as many Dutch investors as possible into Rwanda.

Over hundred Dutch companies have already considered  tapping into opportunities in the green and attractive Rwandan market, an economy that has recorded an average 8% growth over the last decade and expanded more than ten-fold in just 10 years.

By Friday evening,  a strong delegation of 300 Rwandan business representatives met with their Dutch counterparts in Amsterdam to discuss possible ways of partnering and investing in Rwanda.

In a forum that was opened by Rwanda’s ambassador to Netherlands, Jean Pierre Karabaranga and the Dutch Ambassador to Rwanda, Dutch investors were presented all the available opportunities in Rwanda.

“We are keen to meet with all those who are interested in Rwanda or need their help in getting up-to-date and accurate information about the country and its people and culture,” said ambassador Karabaranga.

The forum featured a panel discussion with CEOs of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF), Green Dream Company and Century Park Investments, among others.

Dutch companies have had some experience from others about Rwanda’s green pastures. A few have already set foot into the Rwandan market.

On Thursday, Rwanda entered into a deal with Africa Improved Foods Ltd (AIF) which will address malnutrition by manufacturing enhanced nutritional foods for vulnerable groups including the rural poor in Rwanda and the East Africa region.

Africa Improved Foods Ltd is a consortium of Royal DSM, FMO, DIAF and IFC. DSM is a Dutch-based multinational life sciences and materials sciences company, with global end markets such as food and dietary supplements, personal care, feed and medical devices, among others.

Netherlands is Rwanda’s top development partner especially in the areas of judiciary, water, food security, private sector development and agriculture, among other areas.

Early this year, the two countries signed two financing agreements worth €44.9 million (about Rwf36 billion) to support Rwanda’s development agenda.

The grant was purposely meant to fund water projects and to implement and maintain quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training programmes.

Rwanda traders have been offered unlimited market in the Netherlands, with much focus on horticulture.

Meanwhile, the main event kicks off midmorning this Saturday as thousands await for having a closer an interactive chat with President Paul Kagame.

Dutch Investors Enthusiastic as Rwanda Day Dawns

A panel during Rwanda-Dutch business forum organized ahead of Rwanda Day in Amsterdam

Dutch Investors Enthusiastic as Rwanda Day Dawns

Rwanda-Dutch business delegations during a forum that aims at showcasing investment opportunities in Rwanda.

Dutch Investors Enthusiastic as Rwanda Day Dawns

Business networking going on

Source: KTPress

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Billionaire Howard Buffet In Rwanda For His $500M Projects

Posted on 27 September 2015 by peter

Howard Buffet his foundation is supporting with $500 million to several projects in Rwanda

Howard Buffet his foundation is supporting with $500 million to several projects in Rwanda

Howard Buffet, the son to Warren Buffet, is in Rwanda where he will tour various projects financed by his foundation, the Howard Buffet Foundation.

Howard donated $500 million to Rwanda earlier this year to support agriculture and other initiatives. He is in the country to catch up with the progress on ground.

His multimillion-dollar support to Rwanda aims at transforming agriculture production through establishing irrigation systems, skills training and energy production.

According to his foundation, the vast projects will help Rwanda shift from subsistence to commercial farming. The country also targets 8.5% agricultural growth every year.

Rwanda is already preparing a site that will host Africa’s finest Agriculture Institute. It will help bridge skills gaps in the country’s agriculture sector. The institute project is directly supervised by Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).

Penn State University in US was contracted to carryout planning and design of the institute expected to boost Rwanda’s College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine.

Also an irrigation scheme on a 1280ha is under construction at Nasho II in Kirehe District, Eastern Province. It will be completed in March 2016; the project will cost $24 million.

“It is our priority project; we cannot achieve the 8.5% agricultural growth every year, unless we have a very strong irrigation system,” Dr. Magnifique Ndambe Nzaramba, the coordinator of Buffet’s projects in Rwanda has told KT Press.

The irrigation project in the 1300 ha Nasho marshland will benefit the farmers who alternate maize, beans and horticulture and are main suppliers of the country.

It involves several local and international contractors who are mainly recruited by Buffet Foundation, each providing a specific component.

KT Press has independently established that Conflict & Development Foundation (CDF) an affiliate of Texas A&M University was contracted to manage the Nasho II Support funds and to deal with other contractors.

Other contractors include Lindsay Ltd who designed the site layout plan. Lindsay International Sales & Services LLC won the tender to supply and install irrigation equipment while also conducting technical training on the irrigation plant.

To ensure effective operation, the contract with this firm also includes offering operations and management services within a period of one year after installation.

However, with all these projects, some families will have to be displaced to give way to establish the projects.

The Rwanda Reserve Forces are constructing houses for 50 families expected to be affected. A house is valued at Rwf 7 million, according to Ndambe Nzaramba.

According to Theoneste Nizeyimana, Executive Secretary of Nasho sector, those affected will also be compensated.

Remote Group, a US firm is constructing a 35km road; it’s already 35% complete.

This project will also include installation of 3 megawatt solar power plant. Half of this will be utilized to power-up irrigation machines. The rest will be added on the 160 MW power grid of the country, thus connecting Nasho residents.

Nizeyimana told KT Press, “This project is having immediate and long term impact on our people.”

He said it is offering jobs to hundreds of people, and upon completion, it will transform the livelihood of beneficiary communities because it will allow intensive farming through all the three seasons of the country.

Meanwhile, the philanthropist, who will be hosted to a state dinner, will have an aerial exploration of Rwanda’s green scenery; particularly over Nasho area bordering Tanzania and Karama in Bugesera district bordering Burundi.

Source: KTPress

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