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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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BRD Receives $30m To Finance Development Projects

BRD Receives $30m To Finance Development Projects

Posted on 08 May 2015 by peter

BRD Receives $30m To Finance Development Projects

A Rwandan Farmer attending to passion fruit garden.

Rwanda’s Development Bank (BRD) signs a $30 million deal todayaimed at financing Rwanda’s Energy, Agriculture and Manufacturing sectors.

KT Press has learnt that the deal will also finance the country’s education sector and exports.

The funds from Banque de Développement des Etats des Grands Lacs (BDEGL) will be channeled through BRD.

“BDEGL loan will strengthen financing capacity of BRD in the productive projects of Small and Medium-Enterprises that meet the financing criteria,” Frank Abaho, Bank’s publicist has told KT Press.

Last year, BRD approved investment loans worth Rwf64 billion ($88 million) in the above sectors, contributing Rwf43 billion ($59 million) to the country’s GDP of Rwf5, 389 billion.

The BRD plans to expand its loan portfolio this year. “We want to inject Rwf65 billion ($90 million) in the economy to finance private and public projects that will see the country attain its aspirations.”

Rwanda, whose economy has grown 8% for the past decade, wants to attain a middle-income status with a GDP per capita of $1200 in the next five years.

Source: KTPress

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Rwandan lawyers honor Murambi Genocide victims

Posted on 06 May 2015 by peter

Over 100 lawyers through their Rwanda Bar association on Monday afternoon visited the Murambi Genocide memorial site as part of the 21st Genocide commemoration activities.

Lawyerslaid wreaths on graves, after a one-minute moment of silence

Lawyerslaid wreaths on graves, after a one-minute moment of silence

Lawyers honored the memory of the 50, 000 victims at Murambi Genocide victims with a minute of silence.

“It’s important that we honor the victims and survivors of this terrible tragedy and ensure that we prevent future atrocities from being committed,” said Athanase Rutabingwa, the representative of the lawyers’ forum.

Lawyersin a walk to remember

Lawyersin a walk to remember

Philbert Nyamagabe Mugisha, the mayor of Nyamagabe district Rwandans should not forget the genocide and the victims.

He also said that the human community should ensure that Rwanda ever suffers such systematic destruction again.

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Northern corridor renews tourism bid

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Northern corridor renews tourism bid

Posted on 30 April 2015 by peter

Northern corridor renews tourism bid

Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda, that are part of the East African Community and whose three members constitute the Northern Corridor Integration Projects initiative are reviewing their joint tourism marketing programs.

The focus will be on attracting more international leisure and business visitors; continuing to position the East African region as a single tourism destination, drawing on the depth and diversity of the attractions within the region and offering an estimated 141 million people as an attractive market for investment.

Joint tourism marketing brings together the government and private sector agencies in charge of tourism marketing including Rwanda Development Board’s Department of Tourism and Conservation, Kenya Tourism Board and Uganda Tourism Board under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects Initiative.

Speaking during a press briefing in Kigali after a joint consultative meeting, Ambassador Yamina Karitanyi, the Chief Tourism Officer at the Rwanda Development Boards said that the partner states collectively considered issues like security, infrastructure and ease of access as central to ensuring domestic, regional and international visitors’ confidence in their personal safety and comfort when touring East Africa.

“We have pledged to continuously and actively promote the Northern Corridor states as a joint destination. Security and ease of access and tourist confidence remain a top priority for this destination.

As you know, we introduced the East Africa Tourism Visa last year and this already has had an impact. In addition to organizing joint events at fairs, we have organized travel trade and travel media trips for the groups to familiarize them with the offering.” she said.

Fiona Ngesa, Assistant Regional Marketing Manager at the Kenya Tourism Board indicated that the region remains a very safe destination for every tourist and that Kenya was addressing the security situation.

“We want to reassure our domestic, regional and international visitors that they will be safe and secure. We are open for business & we therefore encourage all to come & sample the diversity of our tourism products.”

Edwin Muzahura, the Marketing and PR Manager at the Uganda Tourism Board said “We are in a unique region that has a lot to offer and at least regionally, we are taking advantage of it.

There has been an increase in inter regional trade and tourism as a result of use of the interstate passes, the East Africa Tourism Visa and the IDs. Northern Corridor Initiative

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Nyabihu slam MINISPOC for unfulfilled promise to construct Mukamira Memorial site

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Nyabihu slam MINISPOC for unfulfilled promise to construct Mukamira Memorial site

Posted on 19 April 2015 by peter

For five years, the Ministry of Culture and sports (MINISPOC) promised Rwf65 Million to Nyabihu District for construction of Mukamira Genocide Memorial Site but trials have been on a regular failure without clarification.

Despite numerous struggles to get the ministry to release the promised funds, Nyabihu is still waiting in vain a reason they made the final attempt to remind the ministry of the promise made and get the fund to finish the construction of the memorial site.

Nyabihu slam MINISPOC for unfulfilled promise to construct Mukamira Memorial site

The 1st Phase of Mukamira Memorial site was completed; the second construction phase is being awaited.

“When Joseph Habineza was the Minister in MINISPOC and had joined us in a genocide memorial event, he had  promised to give us the money to complete the construction of Mukamira Memorial Site but since then, the promise has not been realized,” recounts Anastase Juru, the coordinator of IBUKA in Nyabihu district.

After finishing in renovation, painting, fencing and tiling among other things one part of Mukamira Memorial Site with the support of local people and Nyabihu district, they are waiting for the Local Government Ministry to fulfill its promise and have the 2nd part of Mukamira Memorial Site be constructed.

“The first phase of Mukamira Memorial site renovation had cost Rwf70 Million and we are waiting for Rwf65 Million from MINISPOC to finish the 2nd phase” explains Juru.

Nyabihu slam MINISPOC for unfulfilled promise to construct Mukamira Memorial site

Anastase Juru, the coordinator of IBUKA reminding MINISPOC of its promise during a memorial service

The 2nd part of Mukamira Memorial Site will include construction of a museum house, a room and office, the tiled part where to lay wreaths of flowers during commemoration, tiling the mass graves for 1994 genocide against Tutsis victims, toilets and the watchman’s house.

The 2nd phase construction project is ready to commence as soon as MINISPOC releases the Rwf65M.

The Ministry concerned has not been able to explain the cause of delaying funds despite several inquiries for the right answers.

Mukamira Memorial Site is situated in Kazuba village in Mukamira sector and has about 2074 1994 genocide victims laid to rest in the area.

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Anastase Juru

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Nyabihu: MINISPOC empty promises angers IBUKA

Posted on 19 April 2015 by peter

Nyabihu: MINISPOC empty promises angers IBUKA

The Ministry of Culture and sports (MINISPOC) during the reign of Joseph Habineza pledged to contribute Rwf65million towards the construction of Mukamira Genocide Memorial Site.

According to Anastase Juru, the coordinator of IBUKA in Nyabihu district it has been more than 5 years and the Ministry of Culture and sports never fulfilled its promise.

“By the time, Joseph Habineza was the Minister in MINISPOC and had joined us in a genocide memorial ceremony and he did promise that on behalf of the ministry he pledged towards the construction of the  Memorial Site but since then, the promise has not been realized yet,” recounts Juru.

Anastase Juru

Anastase Juru

Mukamira Memorial Site is situated in Kazuba village in Mukamira sector and shelters over 2074 genocide victims.

He explained that the construction project had other partners who fulfilled their pledges now awaiting MINISPOC to release Rwf65million to complete for the second phrase.

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Rwanda's Tourism Sector grabbed massive Americans 2014

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Rwanda’s Tourism Sector grabbed massive Americans 2014

Posted on 16 April 2015 by peter

The United States is the largest contributor to Rwanda’s tourism revenues, accounting for 20% of the total revenue.

The immigration office says 1,220,000 visitors were received in 2014, compared to 1,122,000 visitors hosted in 2013, corresponding to a 9% increase (98,000 visitors).

In 2014, of the total number of visitors, 24,488 were Americans, followed by India with 13,008 visitors, then United Kingdom with 12,320, Belgium with 8,733, and 8,228 Germans on the fifth spot.

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) says the country generated$304.9 million in 2014 from tourism, compared to$293.6 million in 2013, representing an increase of 4%. These revenues increased from $62 million in 2000.

Apart from being the safest spot for vacation in Africa, wildlife sight-seeing, especially gorilla and bird watching, and conferences draw the biggest portion of the revenues. The country hosted 19,085 conference visitors, compared to 15,441 in 2013, earning $29 million.

Georgianne Nienaber, an American author and regular visitor to Rwandatold KTPress that “Americans realize thatRwanda is one of the safest places to vacation in Africa. More and more tourists will come.”

Rwanda's Tourism Sector grabbed massive Americans 2014

Georgianne on Canopy Walk in Nyungwe forest

Tourists enjoy the variety of landscapes, the other wildlife, and especially the birds, Nienaber says. “Americans are big bird enthusiasts.”

Payments for gorilla permits accounted for 70% of this year’s tourism revenues worth$213.43 million, RDB says. A foreigner pays $750 to visit mountain gorillas.

Being home to two thirds of the world’s mountain gorillas aggressive conservation efforts in the last 10 years have helped breed 179 mountain gorilla infants, usually cerebrated and given names during the Kwita Izina ceremonies, inspired by the Rwandan baby naming tradition following the birth of a new baby.

Global figures such as Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Rick Warren have participated in the event.  Last year, over 500 international guests participated.

Meanwhile, the country targets generating $860 million from tourism by 2016, but analysts say the target is a little too ambitious and may not be attained due to different shortfalls, especially in the quality of services.

“When you look at Rwanda’s tourism growth in a regional perspective, a lot needs to be done,” said Joseph Opondo, a lecturer at Rwanda Tourism University.

“There should be more efforts in improving services like hospitality in different sectors of this country,” he said.

Rwanda's Tourism Sector grabbed massive Americans 2014

An encounter with mountain gorillas in their natural habitat in Rwanda.

Rwanda's Tourism Sector grabbed massive Americans 2014

tourists trekking in one of the forests in Rwanda

Source:KT Press

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