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Rwanda's Capital Kigali becomes tour center

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Rwanda’s Capital Kigali becomes tour center

Posted on 19 August 2015 by peter

Rwanda's Capital Kigali becomes tour center

President Kagame walking on the street in Kigali City’s Central Business District after inaugurating a building behind him

 

It’s official. No more vehicles the capital’s Central Business District (CBD), Kigali city authorities have declared.

It is now a ‘Car Free Zone’ following President Paul Kagame’s twitter response to an O-ped published in The New Times last week by its editor Sunny Ntayombya.

He proposed that Kigali’s central business zone be freed from traffic. “The photograph of the President walking to the newly inaugurated City Hall got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if we all could do that?”

President Kagame, who had just been photographed while touring and launching two city buildings, reacted to the article.

“From what Sunny had to write…in today’s TNT (The New Times) about CBD-Kigali, making it a car-free zone. I agree with him. Will check with the Mayor.”

Rwanda's Capital Kigali becomes tour center

The public is divided over the policy. The Presidents response has ignited a spontaneous discussion on social media. A twitter debate ensued this morning. Some are in support, others are ridiculing the idea.

“I am amazed how young people can resist,” says Serge kamihanda.

Anorld Kwizera says, “The idea is great but the manner in which it was passed brings a lot into question.”

Kigali city publicist, Bruno Rangira told KT Press this morning that, ‘The public’s opinions are premature. No action has been taken yet…but we will inform you later today.”

Rwanda's Capital Kigali becomes tour center

 

He however said that a plan is underway. “The official day to declare CBD a car free zone will be Monday (24/8/2015),” he said.

Rwanda's Capital Kigali becomes tour center

Rwanda's Capital Kigali becomes tour center

Rwanda's Capital Kigali becomes tour center

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City dwellers marvel as New Kigali Complexes aboard

Posted on 10 August 2015 by peter

M. Peace Plaza

M. Peace Plaza

President Paul Kagame has said that he prefers investors who put their money into sustainable investments than nondurable ventures.The head of state made the remarks on Monday, August 10, as he inaugurated tow complexes worth Frw11.7 billion ($54m) in Kigali City.

“There are investors who invest in profitable ventures, which is good…but you [government] must be demanding so that your contractors provide durable and quality services.”

“There are investors who invest in profitable ventures, which is good…but you [government] must be demanding so that your contractors provide durable and quality services.”

Kagame’s remarks meant to highlight and appreciate the likes of  local investor Bertin Makuza whose $42 million 15-storey building was inaugurated.

According to Makuza, construction of his building cost $22 million from his personal savings, while $20 million was obtained as a loan from International Finance Corporation (IFC) and GT-Bank.

Makuza told KT Press that raising this complex “ was a long journey.”

“But I constructed this building out of confidence I have in this country’s security and peace,” Makuza added. “That’s why I named it M. Peace Plaza.”

Indeed, as Kagame addressed the business community in attendance, he said that for Rwanda to develop at a level where it is today, “there was a sense of belief.”

“We believed that this country must resurrect from the dark period it went through to where it is and even beyond.”

Kagame said that these investments are a reflection of Rwanda’s transformation. Such transformation, he said, is a message to those who attempted to destroy the country.  “We survived and we will thrive.”

Meanwhile, the president also inaugurated the new Kigali City Hall that was constructed at a tune of $14 million.

City mayor, Fidel Ndayisaba told KT Press that the new hall will help the city save Rwf12 million spent on rent every month.

And Makuza’s 10,000 square meter complex will provide space for offices and parking yards, as well as apartments for the growing city.

New Kigali City Hall

 

 

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Over 100 Rangers graduate

Posted on 01 August 2015 by peter

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A group of 120 park rangers have completed an intense two-months training aimed at equipping them with skills and knowledge to provide quality security to Rwanda’s national parks and natural resources.

Their graduation on July 31 was officiated by the Minister of Internal Security, Sheikh Musa Fasil Harerimana at the Police Training School in Gishari, Rwamagana District – where they were trained.

The ceremony was attended by the CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Francis Gatare, the inspector general of Police Emmanuel K. Gasana, and several other dignitaries

The training of park rangers was conducted in partnership between Rwanda National Police (RNP) and RDB, as a collaborative effort to advance tourism and sustainable development through strengthening biodiversity conservation.

At the function, Minister Harerimana congratulated the rangers and urged them to use their newly acquired skills to sternly protect Rwanda’s wildlife against poachers and other unlawful activities that damage the environment.

“The training you have received will enrich your skills and readiness to ensure the security of national parks against poachers and other criminals that might use these places as hideouts,” he said.

“Although environment crimes are often unknown, they impose a security and safety threat to development. Today’s graduation of park rangers is yet another milestone in the prevention, reduction and detection of pertinent issues that affect the environment.”

RDB CEO Francis Gatare hands over a certificate to one of the graduated rangers

RDB CEO Francis Gatare hands over a certificate to one of the graduated rangers

The CEO of RDB, Francis Gatare, noted that the training is one of the solutions to an increase in illegal activities in national parks, as well as a limited number of professional park rangers to protect wild animals.

“The destruction of wild animals and insecurity of tourists has a negative impact on the tourism sector – therefore – our mandate is to conserve the rich biodiversity of protected areas and develop sustainable tourism, in collaboration with RNP and other stakeholders,” he said.

“RDB and RNP are working on a comprehensive strategy to address wildlife related concerns through joint law enforcement operations. Training of park rangers is one of those crucial areas that will be very fruitful in sustaining the beauty of our environment.”

The Police Spokesperson, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Celestin Twahirwa, noted that for the last fifteen years of community-based policing, RNP has emphasized, among other things, environment protection to complement the government’s tourism development.

“Undoubtedly, the issues of a modern park ranger are diverse and require dedicated, professional and highly disciplined personnel to meet the demands of a rapidly growing tourism industry,” he said.

“The role of RNP in environment protection comprises not only law enforcement but also active participation through awareness campaigns and practical interpretation of environment laws to citizens.”

On top of collaborating with other institutions like RDB and REMA to enhance protection of biodiversity, police has conducted several initiatives like; establish of an Environment Protection Unit that follows up on cases involving environment crimes.

The two-months training of park rangers involved a number of disciplines and specializations including; paramilitary and field ranger techniques that entailed emphasized physical fitness drills, fire arm handling, navigation, wilderness communication, and ranger professional ethics.

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Finally kings of the Jungle see light at Akagera national Park

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Finally kings of the Jungle see light at Akagera national Park

Posted on 28 July 2015 by peter

As the hot  August  Sun  rays  pierced  through thicket bushes of the Akagera national  Park  striking  the  red blooded  waterbuck  carcass placed outside the boma, the kings of the jungle were warming up to  enjoy their freedom of the new home.

Finally kings of the Jungle see light at Akagera national Park

The seven lions that were introduced to Akagera national park from South Africa recently but kept under a quarantined Boma were finally realized to enjoy their freedom in the bushes of the country national park.

The lions that have made the longest wild lion translocation in conservation history that took over 45 hours are the first to roam in the Akagera national park almost after fifteen years; the kings of the jungle faced their extinction from the park.

The first female poked her nose out of the gates within a few minutes, closely followed by three other females who looked around curiously, unconvinced about their new found freedom, before feasting on the carcass,” said Sarah Hall, Tourism and Marketing Manager, Akagera National Park.

But two males which seemed more cautious as Sarah explains did not come out while the park and press vehicles were still around.

According to park officials, the seven lions are a ten-year-old mother and her one-year-old daughter, a single five-year-old female and two three-year-old sisters while the males are three and four years old and are unrelated.

“The lions have been fed every two-to-three days, mainly on impala carcasses, and will now hunt for their own food,” Sarah explained.

Accordingly, the seven lions are fitted with satellite collars to allow their easy tracking of their movement, their bondage and see whether they are adjusting to the new environment.

The lions as Amb. Yamina Karitanyi, the chief tourism officer at Rwanda Development Board-RDB, explains will contribute towards conservation of the Park while also increasing d tourism attractions of the country.

“Tourists now have the opportunity to see the lions in the wilderness of Akagera, as previously viewing were restricted to park personnel who had been monitoring the lions in the boma,” she said.

The park authorities and the Rwanda Development board are planning a naming ceremony of the lions which will make the lions the second animals to be named   in a colorful ceremony after the Guerillas whose young ones are named every year.

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Ngoma: Youth vow to fight genocide ideology

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Ngoma: Youth vow to fight genocide ideology

Posted on 10 July 2015 by peter

Members of Never Again Club -Ngoma on Wednesday, vowed to fight Genocide and its ideology.

The youth made the resolve during their study tour at Nyarubuye Genocide Memorial Site in Kirehe district.

.Ngoma: Youth vow to fight genocide ideology

At the site, the students received lessons on the history of Rwanda, how the Genocide was planned and carried out and the role of youth preventing it.

“The youth of today will not give a chance to Genocide and its ideology to infiltrate us. We have the power to change that history and build a new country and future,” said Gaudence Mukansanga, a member of Never Again.

Ngoma: Youth vow to fight genocide ideology

Jean Cedric Ndikumana, also a member of Never Again said the members will sensitize others and participate in nation building by profitably using their energy.

In his address, Cyprien Turatsinze, the coordinator of Never Again Club –Ngoma district commended the youth for their resilience in national building

“The youth promised to lead the way, in challenging the Genocide ideology, divisive thinking and prejudice,” said Turatsinze.

“They see themselves as the pillar for a brighter Rwanda, free of hatred and divisionism” he said.

Never Again Rwanda (NAR) is a human rights and peacebuilding organisation that was founded by three university students in 2002. Guided by a vision of a nation where young people are agents of positive change and work together towards sustainable peace and development, the founding members established NAR to empower young people with opportunities to become active citizens.

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Canopy Walk in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest. The country received 1.2 million visitors last year

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Rwanda expects over $76m as tourism Sector Booms

Posted on 09 July 2015 by peter

Amb. Yamina Karitanyi, head of tourism at RDB (middle) says Rwanda will boost its economy through mega events expected next year.

Amb. Yamina Karitanyi, head of tourism at RDB (middle) says Rwanda will boost its economy through mega events expected next year.

Rwanda will generate Rwf54.7 billion ($76 million) from conferences scheduled for next year, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) says.

The country earned $303 million from tourism revenues from 1.2 million visitors last year, contributing 3% to the country’s GDP.

Out of this, meetings, conferences and events (MICE) fetched over $50 million, Amb. Yamina Karitanyi, head of Tourism Department at RDB told KT Press.

Amb. Karitanyi told journalists that Rwanda will host the upcoming Africa Hotel Investment Forum scheduled for Kigali city in September next year; “Hosting AHIF will position Rwanda as a leading conference destination in the region.”

The forum is expected to bring together 600 delegates from across the world, with a focus on exploiting Rwanda’s growing tourism sector.

“We see AHIF as an excellent platform to meet many of the most important decision makers and investors who have the power to influence the hospitality industry in Africa,” Amb. Karitanyi told KT Press.

Meanwhile, Frank Murangwa who heads MICE, says that other big events to bring up next year’s revenue targets will include; the World Economic Forum on Africa, Interpol Conference as well as African Union Summit.

Murangwa told KT Press that infrastructure has been prioritised for successive upcoming events, including world class hotels coming to Rwanda.

The focus on MICE tourism is motivated by safety, developed infrastructure and the new entrants in the hotel industry.

Some of the upcoming global hotel chains in the country include Marriot Hotel which is set to open soon. Others are Radisson Blue, Radisson by Park Inn, Sheraton Hotel; Golden Tulip Hotels, Suites and Resorts which operates a global structure, Kempinski and Zinc, among others.

Tours and Travel agents who spoke to KT Press said the events will rejuvenate their shaken business as a result of recent global threats.

“Our business was severely shaken in terms of bookings due to recent threats including Ebola outbreak in West Africa as well Al-shabab’s attacks in Kenya. We hope these events will bring us back on board,” Joseph Birori, head of Rwanda Tour and Travel Agencies association told KT Press.

Canopy Walk in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest. The country received 1.2 million visitors last year

Canopy Walk in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest. The country received 1.2 million visitors last year

SOURCE: KT-PRESS

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More Lions into Rwanda’s Akagera National Park

Posted on 26 June 2015 by peter

From top left; one of the five females on a tree in Phinda. Other two  female lions. AFRICAN PARKS/MATTHEW POOLE. One of the two male lions in a holding boma in Tembe AFRICAN PARKS/ CLINTON WRIGHT. A labyrinth of lakes makes up Akagera National Park, Rwanda AFRICAN PARKS / JOHN DICKENS.

From top left; one of the five females on a tree in Phinda. Other two female lions. AFRICAN PARKS/MATTHEW POOLE. One of the two male lions in a holding boma in Tembe AFRICAN PARKS/ CLINTON WRIGHT. A labyrinth of lakes makes up Akagera National Park, Rwanda AFRICAN PARKS / JOHN DICKENS.

African Parks in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board is to translocate seven lions from South Africa to re-introduce the species into Akagera National Park in Rwanda in a ground-breaking conservation effort for both the park and Rwanda.

The group of lions destined for Akagera includes five females that have been donated by &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and two males that have been donated by Tembe Elephant Reserve, an Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife protected area.

Located in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, both are relatively small, confined reserves where it is necessary to occasionally remove surplus lions.

In the prime of their lives, the lions have been selected based on future reproductive potential and their ability to contribute to social cohesion -young adults, sub-adult females, young adult males with different genetics – and associations such as adult female with sub-adult female and adult male coalitions.

The lions have already been captured and are being held in bomas on Phinda and on Tembe. On 29 June they will be tranquilised, placed in individual slatted, pen-crates and loaded onto trucks for their journey to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

At the same time they will all be fitted with satellite collars which will enable the Akagera park management team to monitor their movements and reduce the risk of the lions entering community areas. As an additional precautionary measure, the park fence has also been predator-proofed. The collars have a two year life by which time the park team will have evaluated the pride dynamics and only the dominant individuals in each pride will be re-collared.

On arrival at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg the seven lions will be immediately loaded onto a charter flight and flown to the capital of Rwanda, Kigali, from where they will be transported by road to Akagera National Park.

The entire journey is expected to take 36 hours. They will be accompanied and continually monitored by a veterinary team with experience in translocations. The lions will be kept tranquilised, will not be fed but will have access to fresh water throughout their journey.

On arrival in Akagera National Park, they will be placed in a specially-erected 1,000m² boma in the north of the park. Split into two separate enclosures, the perimeter features a three-metre high, chain-linked electrified fence.

A water reserve has been constructed within the boma and the lions will be fed game meat while in the enclosure. They will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days, during which they will be continually monitored, before being released into the wilderness of the park.

“The return of lions to Akagera is a conservation milestone for the park and the country”, said Peter Fearnhead, CEO African Parks. “Restoring national parks to their former biodiversity state is a key deliverable of the African Parks conservation model and we, in conjunction with our Government partner, the Rwandan Development Board, are delighted to have been able to re-introduce one of the charismatic species to this beautiful national park”.

Ambassador Yamina Karitanyi, Chief Tourism Officer at the Rwanda Development Board said “It a breakthrough in the rehabilitation of the park under the public private partnership between the Rwanda Development Board and African Parks. Their return will encourage the natural balance of the ecosystem and enhance the tourism product to further contribute to Rwanda’s status as an all-in-one safari destination.”

Akagera National Park

Akagera is 112, 000 hectares in size, located in the east of Rwanda on the border with Tanzania. A river of the same name (Akagera River) on its eastern boundary feeds into a labyrinth of lakes that make up the park. Leopard, serval, hyena, jackal and giraffe are found in the park which is also home to large herds of buffalo, impala, zebra and several antelope species.

 Elephants often congregate around the lakes that are inhabited by more than 800 hippos as well as crocodiles. In addition, Akagera is home to around 482 bird species including the endangered shoebill and endemic red-faced barbet. Visitors can explore the park on a self-drive, in a safari vehicle with a knowledgeable guide or on a guide-led, boat experience on the lakes.

The park is two hours by car from the Rwandan capital of Kigali and day visitors are well catered for at the Visitors’ Centre.

Those wishing to overnight have three options: three basic-facility campsites, the eco-friendly Ruzizi Tented Lodge or the larger Akagera Game Lodge.

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Rwanda’s Gorilla Naming Ceremony to generate $14m

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Rwanda’s Gorilla Naming Ceremony to generate $14m

Posted on 15 June 2015 by peter

 

Rwanda’s Gorilla Naming Ceremony to generate $14m

Rwanda is targeting to fetch at least $14million from the annual gorilla naming ceremony branded as Kwita Izina promotional week.

Kwita Izina activities are scheduled to start on August 28 until September 5. Rwanda wants to popularize the event in low tourism season. Originally, the ceremony was held in June when the region experiences a high tourism season.

“The choice of new date was strategic in balancing seasonal incomes,” says Ambassador Yamini Karitanyi head of Tourism department at Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

According to RDB, Twenty four baby gorillas will be named, an increase compared to 17 and 18 baby gorillas for 2013 and 2014, thanks to the crucial conservation efforts.

Dennis Karera, the chairman of Hotels’ association in Rwanda, also chairman of East African business council said; “We are marketing the event regionally and internationally. Our hotels will be full to capacity that very week.”

Kwita Izina attracts global tour operators, international media, conservationists and other global figures from various fields of work.

According to RDB the average expenditure of a tourist in Rwanda is US$300 per day for hotel accommodation, food, hangout and transport. Other expenses not linked to the hotel are not included in this amount.

Rwanda would earn $ 2.1 million per night if all the rooms are occupied.

Karera also said that with 7000 hotel rooms’ capacity, Rwanda is ready to give the best accommodation ever.

Gorillas earned the country over $ 15 million last year, out of $ 303 million contributed by the whole tourism sector. The target is to increase sector contribution to $ 800 in by 2017.

Kwita Izina and preparatory events are set to reap money straight away and to market the country for future business.

During this period August 28-29th, Rwanda is scheduled to showcase Inka z’u Rwanda the traditional long horned cattle in Eastern province.

“My clients like their elegance and their beautiful horns which they compare to the elephant’s ivory,” said John Kayihura, a Rwandan tourism consultant.

Other activities will include a conservation forum, a photo and business exhibition, a familiarization trip among others.

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Rwanda targets $860 from tourism

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Rwanda targets $860 from tourism

Posted on 06 June 2015 by peter

Rwanda targets $860 from tourism

A section of Mukura-Gishwati reserve which will soon be upgraded to a National Park status.

Rwanda has embarked on rehabilitation of Mukura-Gishwati natural reserve with the aim of conserving wildlife that is a major attraction to tourists increasingly visiting the country.

Government is also expected in the next few months to pass the bill into law that will upgrade the natural reserve into a full National park.

According to Rwanda Development Board (RDB) which is in charge of tourism, the countrygenerated $ 304.9 from 1,220, 000 tourists in 2014.

Of this, $ 213.43 (70%) was earned from permits paid to see rare mountain gorillas inhabiting the volcanic mountains.

Mukura-Gishwati is a major natural attraction hosting 60 tree species, golden monkeys, blue monkeys, and the mountain monkeys besides a dozen species of East African chimpanzees among others.

Its Located between Rubavu, Rutsiro, Ngororero and Nyabihu, Western part of the country,

Dr. Rose Mukankomeje, the Director General of Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) called for public support in the implementation of the rehabilitation project.

“Success of this project will benefit local communities, Rwanda and the world as a whole,” Dr.Mukankomeje told KT Press.

Rwanda launched the reserve rehabilitation project through public work, umuganda on June 5.

The reserve was encroached on by human activities which reduced it from initial size of 250,000

hectares in 1951 to its current 1000 hectares because of resettlement of people, farming, and illegal mining.

Human activities at the reserve led to devastating soil erosion within the forests and resulted into

severe landslides and floods.

Through the Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation (LAFREC), Rwanda will increase tree cover and restore indigenous woodland in deforested areas, according to REMA.

The country expects to limit poaching and other hostile activities in the park through several projects.

“We shall offer livestock population living close to the park,” Emmanuel Mazimpaka, vice mayor for economic affairs in Ngororero district told KT Press.

He added that bee keeping will be introduced. Roads and electricity will be extended to the the park area to improve trade.

These projects covering the reserve’s buffer zone will be supported by World Bank with a-5 year grant worth$ 9.53 million.

After Mukura-Gishwati reserve is upgraded to a National park status, it will be the Fourth national park after Volcanoes, Nyungwe and Akagera parks. With this Rwanda expects to hit $ 860 million target in tourism revenue in 2016.

Source: KT Press

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Europe Samples Rwandan Coffee at Amsterdam Festival

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Europe Samples Rwandan Coffee at Amsterdam Festival

Posted on 16 May 2015 by peter

Europe is now able to sample Rwanda’s high quality coffee at the ongoing festival in Amsterdam in The Netherlands. 

The event (May 15-17) has been organised by the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda in The Hague in collaboration with This Side Up (importer of coffee) and Sweet Cup (coffee roaster and retailer).

Ambassador Jean Pierre Karabaranga,Rwanda’s envoy in the Netherlands said, “key industry players and of course many other interested parties will discover and enjoy the specialty coffees from Rwanda.”

“This is an invaluable experience for coffee connoisseurs,” said Ambassador Karabaranga.

Rwanda’s coffee specialties at the festival include; Coko, Iwacu and Rushashi. The country is blessed with particularly good coffee-growing condition volcanic soil and plenty of sun and equatorial mist.

Most of the coffee in Rwanda is grown at elevations ranging from 1,200 to 1,800 meters above sea level. Coffee plants flower in September in October and cherries are harvested from March to July.

Rwanda exports more than 3,698.6 tonnes of Coffee annually to mostly China, Germany and United States.

Europe Samples Rwandan Coffee at Amsterdam Festival

A visitor at the Rwanda Booth Samples Rwanda’s coffee at the ongoing Amsterdam Coffee Festival

The Rwandan booth at the festival, diversity of Rwanda coffee (filter and espresso) can be experienced: three very diverse coffees – Cup of Excellence winning cooperatives and private law mills.

The Amsterdam Coffee Festival in the Netherlands is the event where an innovative subculture of fans experiences coffee, tea, chocolate and food.

Rwanda also is using the festival to court potential investors and coffee retailers. Its attended by more than 5,000 visitors from across the globe.

Lennart Clerkx of This Side Up a firm known for direct marketing of Rwanda coffee says, “I will answer any question about starting and maintaining direct trade relationships with Rwandan coffee producers.”

“Throughout the festival we will hold walk-cuppings and visitors to the booth will be overloaded with everything they want to know about these coffees,” He said.

More than 94 global coffee companies including Rwanda’s –Rwanda Coffee have graced the Amsterdam Coffee festival.

The festival follows the 2014 inaugural edition; it features over 100 artisan roasters, equipment makers, gourmet food stalls and more.

Europe Samples Rwandan Coffee at Amsterdam Festival

More than 5,000 visitors from across the world attending the coffee festival in Amsterdam in The Netherlands

Europe Samples Rwandan Coffee at Amsterdam Festival

Visitors at the Rwanda Booth.. interested parties will discover and enjoy the specialty coffees from Rwanda

Europe Samples Rwandan Coffee at Amsterdam Festival

The Amsterdam Coffee Fest features over 100 artisan roasters, equipment makers, gourmet food stalls and more

Source: KT Press

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