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What Kagame Thinks About UK Exit From European Union

Posted on 28 June 2016 by peter

m_What Kagame Thinks About UK Exit From European Union

President Paul Kagame

The United Kingdom has been party to the European coalitions for nearly 50 years. But in a referendum vote last week, on whether to remain or leave the 28-nation bloc – the ‘Leave’ won with 51.9 percent. The vote had been a key promise of the current UK premier David Cameron.

While addressing a gathering of nearly 2000 youth leaders at a small stadium in Kigali, President Kagame asked; “Have you been watching what is trending globally in the news?”

“For us whatever we do is implemented to perfection,” said Kagame amid loud applause. Without mentioning the so called Brexit referendum, Kagame linked the leave decision to a wave of anti-globalisation growing in many parts of the world.

“If they told me their issues don’t concern me, they would win. But they also interfere in our issues when they shouldn’t be concerned,” said Kagame, adding: “Usually the response to them comes in two ways”.

Foremost, “I just focus on what concerns us and do it well to reap the utmost benefits.”

Secondly, Kagame suggested that the other response comes from the people they lead.

“The current challenges they are facing are largely a result of abandoning the people they lead,” said Kagame. “The people are telling them ‘You took us for granted’…you are doing what we didn’t assign you”.

Kagame continued; “The leaders are being told they didn’t do what they are supposed to do for their citizens yet they spend time telling others what to do but forget to fix problems back home…The people are saying – ‘We trusted you with the mandate to lead us but you decided to work for other interests’…”

For President Kagame the outcome of the Brexit referendum “makes me happy….They always come to tell us what is right for us yet we can speak better for ourselves….Why do you come to tell me? Go and tell the people you lead.”

“What is happening to them will awaken them to realise that we can actually speak for ourselves and solve our problems….They will realise maybe it’s time to take lessons from those they have been despising.”

“Maybe they will learn not to interfere in others’ affairs  and deal with the desires of their people back home”.

Kagame said the Rwanda of 1994 is a complete opposite of the Rwanda of today. “Back then Rwanda was not only referred to as ‘failed state’, but as ‘small failed state’…” said Kagame.

“They called us a small failed state. But we refused to fail. We refused to be small. We are not small.”

“Choosing not to be small has a price. You will have to spend sleepless nights, work hard and nobody will thank you for that.”

“I am asking you to make one clear choice. The one that costs us a lot. Because being big is where we belong.”

Throughout the entire hour-long address in which he tackled several other national issues, Kagame was not reading from a prepared speech. As he began his address, while walking around the hall with microphone in hand, Kagame said he preferred the session with such vibrant youth needed to be interactive.

“There is no need for me to read text, I would like us to interact freely,” he said.

After his address, interrupted several times by applause, there was a Q&A in which the youth raised concerns over issues such as the high loan interest rates and the unfavourable regulatory framework for cooperatives. It emerged that the Rwanda Cooperatives Agency (RCA) doesn’t allow cooperatives that have memberships of particular groups.

Over 2000 youth leaders meeting President Kagame at Petit Stade

Over 2000 youth leaders meeting President Kagame at Petit Stade

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Kagame: Rwanda Will Never Be Branded ‘Small Failed Nation’ Again

Posted on 27 June 2016 by peter

President Paul Kagame meets Youth at Petit Stade

President Paul Kagame meets Youth at Petit Stade

Rwanda has set its bar high and will never be the same again as it was 22 years ago when the country slipped into a genocide against Tutsi that left the country entirely destroyed.

President Paul Kagame told more than 2000 youths at Petit Stade  that the world called Rwanda a ‘small failed state’ after it had been dragged into a horrific genocide, but Rwandans never failed.

“Back in 1994, Rwanda was referred to not only as failed state but small failed state. Today we refused to be small, failed state. We belong to being big and we are ready to fight for it,” Kagame said.

However, President Kagame said  his government chose not to be small in the face of the world and there was a huge price paid.

“Choosing not to be small has a price. You will have to spend sleepless nights; work hard and nobody will thank you for that,” the President told cheering youths who had gathered to meet him under the ‘Meet The President session.

The youths leaders were drawn from all 416 sectors and 30 districts across the country. They have been undergoing a two weeks civic education commonly known as ‘Itorero’.

Itorero teaches all Rwandese their culture, different values including;  national unity, social solidarity, patriotism, integrity, bravery, tolerance, the dos and don’ts of the Rwandan society, among others.

Kagame advised the youths against complacency and thinking that everything is fine because they are young. He encouraged them to invest in themselves and be confident to become real citizens that the country needs.

“You are young, so what? What will be your answer?” Kagame asked, advising the youths that to be good future citizens, “Invest in energy, passion and strength to face the challenges of your own life and that of your country. Being young is not enough; there is an investment that you must make in yourself.”

He wants youth to be committed to investing in themselves and playing their part; “Do not take being youth for granted. It is not enough. We want to see the substance not just the form. We want to see you strive to learn, to contribute, to play your part in this country because it belongs to you.  Security is when citizens trust that leaders are there to serve them with no injustice. ”

The moment you believe that you are better off being taught who you should be, you have lost your worth your dignity.

Rwanda has invested in the youths, by establishing different centres that train them on hands-on-skills. According to available data, more than 70% of Rwandans are below the age of 35.

For President Kagame, the youths should take available opportunities the country has put in place. “We choose to use our diversity not as a cause for division but as a source of strength to achieve a common vision. You will be defined by your culture, your actions and who you strive to be.”

Youth and ICT minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana told the President that the group of youths who completed civic education course is committed to the country’s values of dignity, unity, accountability and more importantly to be responsible for their country’s development.

Clarisse Uwanyirigira, who spoke on behalf of the trainees, “Throughout the two week’s course, we vowed to patriotism, sacrifice for our country and being responsible citizens that will drive our nation to another level.” 

President Paul Kagame discussing with the Youth

President Paul Kagame discussing with the Youth

Youth attentively listening to president Kagame at petit Stade

Youth attentively listening to president Kagame at petit Stade

About 2000 youth meeting president Kagame at Petit stade

About 2000 youth meeting president Kagame at Petit stade

Rwanda’s defence minister Gen. James Kabarebe shakes hands with Julienne Uwacu Minister for Sports and Culture

Rwanda’s defence minister Gen. James Kabarebe shakes hands with Julienne Uwacu Minister for Sports and Culture

Youth in a group photo with youth

Youth in a group photo with youth


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Participants at the commemoration of genocide against Tutsi

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Rwandans in Netherlands Commemorate Genocide Against Tutsi

Posted on 24 June 2016 by peter

Jean Pierre Karabaranga (c) Rwanda’s envoy to The Netherlands in a group photo at the 22nd commemoration of genocide against Tutsi

Jean Pierre Karabaranga (c) Rwanda’s envoy to The Netherlands in a group photo at the 22nd commemoration of genocide against Tutsi

Rwandans in cooperation with the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague organized the 22nd commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Organised under the theme ‘Fighting Genocide Denial”, the event was attended by more than 100 participants including; students, professors, teachers, friends of Rwanda, Rwandan nationals living in the Netherlands and many others.

Jean Pierre Karabaranga, Rwanda’s envoy to The Netherlands told participants that every year, Rwandans recognise the bravery of RPF’s men and women for stopping the genocide and liberating the country.

Over a million lives were lost during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.

Between 1990 upto 1994, the Rwanda Patriotic Front rebels led by President Paul Kagame launched a successful military liberation struggle against the genocidal regime.

“They are our heroes and the next generation have to take example to them,” Ambassador Karabaranga said on this day of remembrance, “we thank them for their sacrifices and bravery during that horrible period..”

However, 22 years after the genocide, there are more incidences of genocide denial, revisionism and negation.

Dr. Helen Hintjens told participants that;  “Genocide denial is a crime in many parts of the world, and rightly so. Lesser forms of denial, of atrocities and suffering short of genocide, also block the path to future peace.”

Hintjens is specialist in post-genocide politics of peaceful change and refugee issues in the African Great Lakes region and Rwanda in particular.

Professor Inge Hutter, the Rector of the Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University said that in order to remember, to unite and to renew, it is in all matters crucial to make a connection to the other.

In his remarks, Guy Beaujot, a friend of Rwanda, called on every one for “Rwanda Never Again” towards “Fighting Genocide Ideology”.

“We invite students, professors, teachers, Friends of Rwanda, Rwandans and the international community to take concrete measures to fight genocide ideology and denial that has been going on for 21 years in some parts of this world.”

The event was organised in collaboration with the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University, Scholars, and the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in the Netherlands.

Organisers agreed that the commemoration will always be held every annually to remember the innocent lives lost, and show solidarity with survivors and reflect on lessons learned, for looking forward.

The world is also celebrating the 71st anniversary of the United Nations charter, in which 194 members pledged “never again” and have committed to establish conditions under which justice and respect for obligations arising from and other sources of international law can be maintained. 

Participants at the commemoration of genocide against Tutsi

Participants at the commemoration of genocide against Tutsi



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President Kagame meets with Moroccan business leaders in Casablanca June 21, 2016 – on last day of two day trip

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After Saham Group, Rwanda courts more Moroccan investors

Posted on 22 June 2016 by peter

President Kagame meets with Moroccan business leaders in Casablanca June 21, 2016 – on last day of two day trip

President Kagame meets with Moroccan business leaders in Casablanca June 21, 2016 – on last day of two day trip

In June 2014, Moroccan conglomerate, the Saham Group – with interests in insurance, offshoring, health services and real estate – took majority control of one of Rwanda’s largest insurance firms. This week President Kagame led a Rwandan delegation pushing for more of similar investments.

Saham Finances, a subsidiary of Saham Group acquired a 66% stake in Corar-AG, the third largest insurance provider. No details were provided at the time on the cost of the transaction.

On the last day of his two-day visit, President Kagame yesterday met with members of the Private sector community in Casablanca to discuss the multiple business opportunities Rwanda has to offer, said a statement from the Presidence. Moroccan investors from a variety of fields including banking, infrastructure, tourism and the pharmaceutical sector were keen to learn more about Rwanda’s business environment.

Serge Kamuhinda, Chief Operations Officer at Rwanda Development Board explained that those present expressed their eagerness to use Rwanda as a hub to enter the East African region.

President Kagame ended his two day trip to Morocco and was seen off by the Prime Minister, Mr. Abdel-Ilah Benkiran, the Wali of the Casablanca-Settat Region, the Governor of the Nouaceur Province, elected officials and civilian and military representatives of the Nouaceur Prefecture.

During the first day of his visit, President Kagame was decorated by His Majesty King Mohammed VI with the Grand Collar of Wissam Al-Mohammadi, Morocco’s highest national award of honour. In observance of the holy month of Ramadan, His Majesty King Mohammed VI also hosted the official “Iftar” in honour of President Paul Kagame.

The Saham Group was founded by Moroccan business tycoon Moulay Hafid Elalamy 20years ago after serving as the CEO of the African Insurance Company of Morocco.

The company now has operations in 19 African countries, according to Forbes. Early last year, the company acquired a controlling stake in Mercantile Insurance, a Kenyan insurance firm. In November, it acquired the second largest insurer in Angola, AG Angola Seguros.


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MasterCard Commits $85 million to Projects in Rwanda

Posted on 20 June 2016 by peter

President Paul Kagame interacts with Master Card delegation

President Paul Kagame interacts with Master Card delegation

The MasterCard foundation has committed more than $85 million to various projects in Rwanda set to benefit projects in the fields of financial inclusion, education and economic opportunities for the youth.

The announcement came after a delegation of the board members of the organization met President Paul Kagame at village Urugwiro in Kigali today.

The chairman of the foundation Jim Leech noted that the organization is committed to working with accountable countries like Rwanda so as to ensure sustained impact on the population.

“Rwanda continues to show great developmental strides and great leadership, it’s this reason we are committing ourselves to help it achieve its long term vision and goals,” Leech said.

Dr. Papias Musafiri, Rwanda’s minister of education said  the partnership with MasterCard foundation will help empower the girl child  and create more opportunities for Rwandan youths ensuring access to better education systems.

MasterCard foundation has committed itself to help give a chance to talented young Rwandans through provision of various scholarships and investment in the education system. This is in line with the government’s target for vision 2020,” said the minister.

The MasterCard foundation delegation was led by Reeta Roy the President and chief executive officer of the  nonprofit organization.

Based in Toronto, Canada, the MasterCard Foundation works with different organisations to provide greater access to education, skills training, and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The board of the group has recently held its high level board meeting in Kigali, making Rwanda the first place for such a meeting outside its North American base.

The Foundation has committed $50 million (about Rwf37 billion) to projects in Rwanda in the areas of education, ICT, agriculture and microfinance.

Its partners in the country are mostly non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including FAWE Girls School, where 1,200 girl students will be funded to complete their education at both secondary and university levels in Rwanda.

MasterCard delegation holding discussions with president Paul Kagame

MasterCard delegation holding discussions with president Paul Kagame

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Adiel Mbabu-regional coordinator for the UN supported International Potato Centre in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Scientists to Add Nutrients in Rwandan Sweet Potatoes

Posted on 20 June 2016 by peter

Sweet potato

Sweet potato

Rwanda has partnered with the International Potato center that will help in research aimed at improving nutrients in local sweet potato variety.

Sweet potatoes are widely grown and consumed across Rwanda. However, scientists from the international potato center advise nutrients such as vitamin A, iron and zinc should be added to these potatoes.

Adiel Mbabu-regional coordinator for the UN supported International Potato Centre in Sub-Saharan Africa, said his organization is committed to help Rwanda and the entire continent improve nutritional conditions of the people.

“The potato in Rwanda has been a big attraction because of its income potential but we are trying to bio fortify it just like the orange fleshed sweet potato to bring in iron and zinc because we think such a popular cash-generating product fortified with vitamins would be a big addition.

We are working with Rwanda government to make that happen here to expand the scoop for potato workers as well.”

Adiel Mbabu-regional coordinator for the UN supported International Potato Centre in Sub-Saharan Africa

Adiel Mbabu-regional coordinator for the UN supported International Potato Centre in Sub-Saharan Africa

He said the centre is committed to good science that translates into improved livelihoods of human beings.

Rwanda Agriculture Board and the private sector have been closely working with the center to make sure that the orange fleshed sweet potato is just not held by those who grow only.

“We know that there are people who may not be farmers but want to access it. We have been working on that value chain, working with scientists to get the varieties out,” Mbabu said.

The center is currently working with the Ministry of health and other institutions to make sure that there is a good understanding of the potential for this. I think this kind of value chain we are working in Rwanda is a good example that should be applied in other countries,” he told KT Press.

Vitamin A deficiency in Africa is still a big challenge. Mbabu says “This condition is very harmful to wellbeing of people. If you are exposed to vitamin A deficiency at very early stages, you become handicapped in many ways…your brain and the capacity to live are hampered.”

Mbabu told KT Press; “We are also interested in Irish potato that is very important to the population especially in Rwanda where they make quite some significant income from it. We are trying to get nutritional value into it and working on it with research organisations here.”

According to Kirimi Sindi, country manager for International Potato Centre in Rwanda that oversees a 5-year project dubbed ‘Sweet potato through Agriculture and Nutrition (SUSTAIN), his office is currently working at making bio-fortified Orange Fleshed Sweet potato (OFSP) universal in the Rwandan diet.

Financed by the UK Department for International Development, the project aims to scale up the nutrition benefits of bio-fortified orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP), with a goal to reach 1.2 million households with under-5 year old children in Rwanda, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique.

Dr. Jean-Jacques Mbonigaba Muhinda, a researcher and former Director General of Rwanda Agriculture Board, says the better use of sweet potatoes could improve nutrition as well as farmers’ livelihoods.

The UN-backed centre seeks to achieve food security, increased well-being, and gender equity for poor people in the developing world, through research in bio fortified crops around the world.

On June 13th, African Agriculture experts convened in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, to discuss ways on how to invest in Agriculture to ensure that the continent move forward from subsistence farming practices to agribusiness.

At the Africa Agriculture Science Week, Researchers in Agribusiness agreed that for Africa to cut down unemployment rates especially among the youths who make up 60% of the continent’s population, investments in the sector is the way to go.

Meanwhile, Rwanda has been investing in the sector.

African Development Bank President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, presented an award to President Paul Kagame, for his outstanding achievements in promoting agribusiness and investment in bio-fortified crops to ensure Agriculture growth increases and transform lives of Rwandans.

Through partnership with Africa Improved Foods Ltd (AIF) – a consortium of Royal DSM, FMO, DIAF and IFC, the country wants to improve the nutritional status of its population and help address malnutrition by manufacturing enhanced nutritional foods for vulnerable groups including the rural poor in Rwanda and the East Africa region.

By 2017, the project aims at reaching over 1 million people annually with effective nutrition interventions.


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The First Lady shown cattle given to three families

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Over 24,000 School Dropouts in Eastern Province Resume Studies

Posted on 19 June 2016 by peter

First Lady gives de-worming tablet to a student in Nyagatare district at the African child’s day anniversary

First Lady gives de-worming tablet to a student in Nyagatare district at the African child’s day anniversary

More than 24,092children that had dropped out of school in Rwanda’s eastern province have been located and taken back to resume studies in the second term.

The campaign coincides with celebration of the African child’s day that also aims at raising awareness of the continuing need for improvement of the education provided to African children.

On Saturday morning, the First Lady Jeannette Kagame travelled to Nyagatare district in Eastern province to join thousands of youth and elders at the African child’s day anniversary.

“I’m delighted to join you in celebrating the African child day. It’s a day for fighting against child labour,” she said adding that in Rwandan culture, from the time children are born they are of high value. “The child is king,” the First Lady said.

Meanwhile, Lamin Manneh the UN Resident Coordinator says that UN-Rwanda is working with different institutions in the country to address the persisting issue of child labour.

“Let’s ensure every child is protected and allowed to grow in a conducive family environment,” he said.

The African Child’s day celebrations in Nyagatare district have been held under the theme “quality education is stable foundation for a bright future of child”.

Jeannette Kagame travelled to the Eastern province to raise awareness on the protection all Rwandan children deserve.

While in Nyagatare district, The First lady gave children de-worming tablets  which ensure that all Rwandan children are protected from worms.

Nurturing children is the duty of parents, society elders and the country at large.

The Governor of Eastern province Odette Uwamariya has denounced parents and educators who leave children to live on streets.

First Lady noted that about 693 children were removed from streets and 578 children were returned to their homes, “Now let’s fill the gaps and get children of streets, eradicate school drop-out and malnutrition.”

She said the country would rather face challenges of overcrowding in schools than having school dropouts.

The First Lady shown cattle given to three families

The First Lady shown cattle given to three families


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Rwanda’s Minister Apologizes For Poorly Organised Agriculture Event

Posted on 16 June 2016 by peter


Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources Dr. Geraldine Mukeshimana has apologised for poorly managing a major continental event hosted in Kigali.

On Monday, about 1000 agriculture experts from across Africa arrived in Kigali for the 7th Africa Agriculture  Science Week and general assembly for Forum for Agriculture research in Africa under the theme “Apply Science, Impact Livelihoods.”

However, delegates have not been impressed by how they were handled upon arrival and poor service in hotels they were hosted. This is contrary to Rwanda’s handling of previous events.

Dr. Mukeshimana on Wednesday evening arrived at Camp Kigali conference centre in traditional dress (mushanana) to join the delegates for dinner. As delegates were served at their tables, the emcee invited the minister to speak.

She majestically walked forward and was handed a microphone. She turned to face the delegates who had suddenly gone silent patiently waiting to hear from the minister.

Looking composed but seemingly anxious  the minister said “If anything happened that was not good, I apologize, that is not Rwanda a country that welcomes guests.”

She said that on behalf of the government she takes the responsibility of the messes that happened  and extends the apology, “I really take the whole responsibility and ownership and apologize.”

The delegates cheered and clapped their hands after the minister’s surprising apology.

Several delegates that talked to KT Press complained that since they arrived there was inadequate food, refreshments like water during the meetings. They also said meeting halls were poorly and inadequately arranged.

Every delegate had paid U$ 50 dollars as participation fee for the Assembly.

Some delegates say they missed food and breakfast as one was required queue up (cafeteria)  for about an hour to be served while in some instances food and tea were  inadequate.

“To get food you had to be physically fit,” a delegate from Ghana who requested anonymity said, ” it required a lot of energy to endure the line. The problem was that they had one table where all of us had to serve food from,” she added.

The mess  began with registration process on Monday where  delegates who did not get  accreditation on time, attended the opening ceremony by Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi without  badges.

In further confusion, participants could not locate some of the meetings that they were supposed to attend. From the second day, the assembly run under sideline meetings in different halls at the conference centre.

The mess at the Agriculture  Science week coincides with President Paul Kagame’s criticism against another poorly organised world Economic Forum-WEF in May which he said delegates also complained they were not given enough food.

In attempt to explain why this whole mess swallowed up an important conference, the minister said the confusion started when the forum’s organizing committee decided to take up all responsibilities for conference arrangements, registration, protocol services, catering and met challenges as they were not used to the environment.

“They didn’t want us to get involved so much maybe they thought we could boss them, but when we started realising problems we intervened as a ministry,” she added.

However, a member of the forum’s communication team who preferred not to be mentioned said that the ministry staff were not cooperative and were not able to execute responsibilities given to them.

“For example, we were supposed to work with them on handling media, get logistics required to engage with delegates and  helping in arranging  the  sideline meetings, it was not done,” she told KT press.

The June 13 -16th week was organized by the forum for Agriculture research in Africa –FARA secretariat in Ghana hosted by government of Rwanda through the ministry of Agriculture and Animal resources and discussed strategies on how to apply science, technology and innovation in agriculture.

Source: KTPress

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Agribusiness Can Transform Africa’s Farming

Posted on 14 June 2016 by peter

Exhibitor explains about his products

Exhibitor explains about his products

Agriculture experts suggest that Africa needs to urgently invest in value chain to stimulate its rural farmers to engage in agribusiness.

Researchers in Agribusiness gathered at the ongoing Africa Agriculture Science Week at Camp Kigali said farmers need to be financed and trained on enticing agriculture investment.

“Access to finance remain limited. But we can come up with innovative financing models, de-risking agribusiness, business modeling that cuts across the value,” said Mary Thiong’o from Africa Agribusiness incubators network.

Africa’s population is drastically increasing; with youths (364 million of the population between 15-35 years) are at centre stage, and urgent investment in value chain is needed to help farmers engage into agribusiness.

Rwanda is improving its agriculture system by establishing crop intensification program, while investing in innovations and technology among its farmers.

Josephat Mugabo a scientist from Rwanda Agriculture board told KT Press that Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation and World Bank are doing a great job in linking farmers to the market, but “more linking models are needed-given the size of the farmer’s produce is based on.”

Last year alone, Rwanda Development Bank through collaboration with Rwanda Agriculture Board, set aside Rwf10 billion ($1.276 million) to facilitate local farmers become agribusiness champions.

Meanwhile, One Acre Fund- a non-profit organization has provided Rwandan farmers with a package of goods and services on credit, including financing for farm inputs, distribution of seed and fertilizer.

Rwandan smallholder farmers especially in Western province last year were funded with at least $80 each as a loan to finance the production season.

This resulted into an average gain of 53% of their total income, mainly in 12 access to modern maize hybrids and fertilisers, appropriate for local soil needs, among others.

At the ‘Investing in Agribusiness’ session, agriculture experts advised that Africa should produce more staple crops for exports, and more emphasis should be put in beans production.

Rwanda is a key consumer of beans globally. According to U.S Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative’s research, Rwanda has highest per capita consumption of beans in the world.

With agriculture being the backbone of the economy, and beans leading staple grain legume accounted for 25% of crop land use, the country seeks investments to boost 700,000 tons of beans produced annually on 350,000 hectares.

Rwanda has invested heavily in climbing beans-proved to be producing three times more food on the same area of land than bush beans.

In the last decade, the country has been transformed from a net importer to an exporter – with exports valued at $12- 20 million and increased yields from 0.7 to 1.1 tons per hectare, according to Rwanda Agriculture Board.

Rwanda’s Agriculture sector contributes about 35% of the country’s GDP, and its projected growth is expected to be 8.5% per year by 2018.

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Rwanda is hosting the 7th Africa Agriculture Science week

Africa Wants to Stop Importing Food

Posted on 13 June 2016 by peter

Rwanda is hosting the 7th Africa Agriculture Science week

Rwanda is hosting the 7th Africa Agriculture Science week

Agriculture experts are gathered in Kigali, Rwanda to discuss ways how Africa can transform its agriculture into a technology-based sector.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the President of  African Development Bank says his financial institution will invest $24 billion in Agriculture on the continent in the next 10 years.

“The continent holds huge arable land that cannot only produce food for itself but the bigger part of the world,” Dr. Adesina said.

However, Africa spends more than $35 billion every year on imported food stuffs. This trade deficit is a big problem that needs quick fixing.

“It’s high time that Africa feeds Africa,” Adesina told participants at Camp Kigali village at the ongoing Africa Agriculture Science Week and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa ‘s general assembly.

While officially launching the Agriculture science week, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi told experts that his country is at the center stage in innovating agriculture technology.

He said Rwanda has been leading in collaboration with other African countries in pushing the sector to the next level.

“This sector is a crucial cornerstone for Africa’s transformation.  Rwanda is among first African Countries to sign the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).”

The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) is Africa’s policy framework for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic growth and prosperity for all.

Michael Ryan, head of EU mission in Rwanda said the organization has set aside $9 billion to lift 7 million children out of malnutrition on the continent by 2025  responding to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Rwanda has drastically reduced the population that is malnourished, Adesina said.

Meanwhile, Beans and potatoes are some of the crops with high yielding varieties obtained as a result of efforts in Rwanda’s agriculture research.

To deal with trade deficits in Agriculture, State Minister for Agriculture, Tony Nsanganira, said, “Youth and women are the groups needed in the sector as agro-processing industry is expected to grow by14%. There is need to increase incentives in the sector.”

There are more than 832 proximity business advisory services in the country to help boost production and agro processing sector, with a target of reducing poverty by over 8.5% in the next 10 years.

Rwanda’s Agriculture sector contributes 35% of the country’s economy. The country spends over $300 million every year on importation of food stuffs every year.

Agriculture experts believe that Science should be the backbone of Africa’s agriculture transformation.

According to Agriculture Ministry, the number of scientists had increased to about 60. Currently, Rwanda has about 150 scientists and new infrastructure in improving the agriculture sector.

According to Rwanda’s central bank, by end of last year, Rwanda’s main food exports to neighbouring countries especially food and beverages, vegetables, and meat had increased by 28.9% with 30.9% of their volumes.

Participants at the Agriculture science week

Participants at the Agriculture science week

Experts want technology-based agriculture in Africa

Experts want technology-based agriculture in Africa

Source: KTPress 

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