Sunday 20 August 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa's major central banks are entering an easing cycle as they try to stimulate growth after months of drought, austerity drives and confidence issues across the continent, a Reuters poll found on Thursday. Much of southern and eastern Africa is still recovering after an El Niño-related drought wilted crops last year. Poor business confidence in South Africa and foreign exchange restrictions in Nigeria have also hampered growth. "We expect that African monetary policy is entering a widespread and protracted period of policy easing. This will provide a boost to growth," said John Ashbourne, Africa analyst at Capital Economics. Ghana, which agreed a three-year fiscal discipline deal with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for aid in 2015,...
(AFP (eng) 07/19/17)
Inside a metal shed in southeastern Rwanda, Nicholas Hitimana brandished a plastic container holding a green liquid: geranium essential oil, freshly distilled and ready for export at more than $200 (175 euros) a kilo. The pioneer of essential oils in Rwanda, Hitimana said he understood over a decade ago "the need to develop high-value crops" in his hilly nation of just 2.6 million hectares (6.4 million acres). Agriculture accounts for nearly a third of GDP and employs four-fifths of the population and, as a result, there is "little arable land" remaining. "On a hectare, if we grow beans, we earn about $2,000 a year, whereas on the same land, if we grow geranium, the income can reach $6,000 or even...
(Bloomberg 07/19/17)
Vodacom Group Ltd. sees the expansion of mobile-banking services into new markets in sub-Saharan Africa as a top priority following a shareholder vote to rubber stamp its purchase of a 35 percent stake in Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest company. “We will use Safaricom to enter other markets where neither Vodacom nor Safaricom are,” Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub said in an interview at the wireless carrier’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The two businesses have a combined 30 million mobile-banking customers, giving them “a very sizeable platform on the continent,” he said. Vodacom’s purchase of the Safaricom stake from U.K. parent company Vodafone Group Plc gives the South African company access to the fast-growing M-Pesa platform, which processed...
(The New Times 07/18/17)
The Government and the World Bank on Monday signed a $120 million (about Rwf100 billion) financial agreement to support skills development across multiple sectors of the economy. The 38-year concessional loan, according to Finance and Economic Planning minister Claver Gatete, will mainly focus on priority sectors, including manufacturing, energy, transport and logistics, among other sectors. The 3-year Priority Skills Programme for Growth (PSG) project will focus on high priority economic sectors, including energy, transport and logistics, and manufacturing with a focus on 'Made in Rwanda' products, Minister Gatete said during the signing ceremony in Kigali.
(Quartz 07/18/17)
Rwandan officials have summarily executed “at least 37 suspected petty offenders” in the last year instead of prosecuting them, a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) says. The rights group said that the killings were “not isolated events” and were part of an official strategy to “spread fear, enforce order, and deter any resistance to government orders or policies.” Victims were suspected of committing minor criminal offenses like stealing bananas, a cow, or a motorcycle; smuggling marijuana; using illegal fishing nets, or illegally crossing the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo into Rwanda. Witnesses who saw the bodies reported seeing bullet wounds and injuries that seemed to have been caused by beatings or stabbings. HRW said that the...
(Xinhuanet 07/18/17)
The World Bank announced Monday 120 million U.S. dollars credit to support Rwanda's skills development. The World Bank's country manager to Rwanda Yasser El-Gammal said the credit facility was expected to help in the implementation of programs under Rwanda's development blueprint, the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS2). "It will also help Rwanda achieve its target of creating more than 200,000 off-farm jobs as prescribed in the EDPRS2 blueprint," he said at the signing ceremony of the financing deal in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda. The 38-year concessional loan will be allocated toward priority sectors including manufacturing, energy, transport and logistics, said Rwanda's finance minister Claver Gatete. The programs that the loan will support including a 3-year Priority...
(The New York Times 07/18/17)
Republicans, you are probably tired of hearing how so many Americans are sicker than their peers in other rich countries, lacking access to needed medical care. There are only so many times one can take being unfavorably compared to Denmark. As you regroup after the collapse of your bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, hoping to figure out some new approach to dismember it, you might want to think not about Denmark, but about Rwanda. Rwanda’s economy adds up to some $700 per person, less than one-eightieth of the average economic output of an American. A little more than two decades ago it was shaken by genocidal interethnic conflict that killed hundreds of thousands. Still today, a newborn Rwandan...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/18/17)
Three years after he risked his life crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy on a small boat crammed with migrants, 22-year-old Sow Muhammed can hardly believe his luck. The former street hawker from Guinea now works as a caterer in Venice, rents his own apartment, and sends money back home regularly to his mother and siblings in the West African nation. "I am happy I came to Europe, and my family is also happy," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation as he packed up leftovers at a training event for people who work with refugees, where he had served a menu which included traditional African dishes. "I talk to my family frequently, ask them their needs, and help...
(Bloomberg 07/17/17)
The last time Rwanda held presidential elections, opposition leader Frank Habineza’s deputy was killed and he fled into European exile. Seven years on, he sees his candidacy in next month’s vote as a cautious step toward greater political freedoms in the tiny East African country. The Aug. 4 election will be the first time Habineza, who leads the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and says he still faces intimidation, has been allowed on the ballot papers. That, according to the 40-year-old, is enough of a victory as he competes against President Paul Kagame, who’s running for a third term after the constitution was changed and is all but certain to win. “This is an election where people will hear an...
(Xinhuanet 07/17/17)
Africa is making progress towards the establishment of a trade zone by Oct. 30 that will cover approximately half of the continent's member states. The Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Director of Trade and Customs, Francis Mangeni, said in a commentary published in the Star Newspaper on Monday that so far 19 of the 26 countries involved have signed the agreement. "Three outstanding annexes had meant the tripartite agreement was not complete and this was advanced by some countries as the reason they could not sign or ratify the agreement. However their adoption represented a milestone in the negotiation, as it removed the last obstacle to signing and ratifying the agreement," Mangeni said. The tripartite free...
(The Associated Press 07/15/17)
Rwanda's president is already claiming victory in next month's election. President Paul Kagame told supporters at his first campaign rally Friday that the results of the vote were known in 2015, when more than 4 million Rwandans petitioned Parliament to change the constitution to allow him to run again. Kagame said his critics cannot change the will of the people. "You can choose not to hear the truth but you cannot deny what your eyes show you here today," he said. "Pretending not to know the will expressed by the people during the referendum would be a lie, not democracy." Kagame has been in power since the end of the East African nation's genocide in 1994. While he has been...
(AFP (eng) 07/14/17)
On the impeccably clean streets of Rwanda's capital, where a skyline of gleaming new buildings pokes through undulating hills, few have heard of opposition presidential aspirants Frank Habineza and Philippe Mpayimana. They were only confirmed as candidates and allowed to begin fundraising a week before Friday's campaign start for August 4 presidential polls in the east African nation. With little money, and only three weeks to drum up support, the two men face a seemingly insurmountable task in challenging the all-powerful President Paul Kagame, who is expected to easily win a third term in office.
(AFP (eng) 07/13/17)
The soldiers came at dawn to Fulgence Rukundo's house in a village in western Rwanda, and accused him of stealing a cow. They draped slabs of the dead cow's carcass around his shoulders and positioned the animal's head on his before marching him into a banana plantation and shooting him dead, according to witnesses cited in a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on extrajudicial killings released Thursday. An investigation by the rights group alleges that Rwandan security forces executed at least 37 suspected petty offenders, including Rukundo, instead of prosecuting them.
(Bloomberg 07/13/17)
Rwanda’s ruling party vowed to build new infrastructure and boost industry if the East African nation re-elects President Paul Kagame for a third term next month. The Rwandan Patriotic Front will partner with the private sector to encourage new industry and expand production at existing facilities, according to its manifesto for the Aug. 4 vote, released Wednesday in the capital, Kigali. It also promised to build about 3,800 kilometers (2,361 miles) of roads and do further explorations to determine the country’s mineral potential. “We will create jobs to spur development and social welfare of the Rwandan people with the next seven years, promote sustainable urbanization and rural development,” said the party, which has ruled Rwanda since 1994. Rwanda changed its...
(Xinhuanet 07/12/17)
Rwanda has been ranked among top 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that are on progress towards attaining the UN-backed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, according to SDG Index and Dashboards report released here on Tuesday. The second edition of the SDGs and Dashboards report on Africa, released by the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) provides a report card for tracking SDG progress and ensuring accountability. The survey that assesses the capacity of 157 economies across the globe ranks Rwanda top in East Africa, 7th in sub-Saharan Africa and 117th at the global level.
(Cnbc Africa 07/12/17)
"Africa is an awakening giant," according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. The leader who oversaw the transition of his country's power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure. "I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform," he said. De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world's growing size. "If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution," he...
(AFP (eng) 07/11/17)
Rwandan President Paul Kagame called for bolstering relations with Israel on Monday during a visit reflecting a warming of ties between the Jewish state and Africa. In July 2016 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Rwanda as part of a four-nation Africa trade and security tour aimed at boosting ties and in June this year he joined West African leaders at a summit in Liberia. "Ever since the prime minister's visit to West Africa last year, Israel has continued to follow through on its commitments and objective of scaling up engagement across Africa," Kagame said. "This is a very positive trend which can only be welcomed and merits our support,"...
(African arguments 07/11/17)
Only President Paul Kagame has a chance of winning the 2017 presidential election. And he could stay in power until 2034. “More of a coronation than real contest.” That’s how the Kenyan daily The Standard characterised Rwanda’s presidential poll slated for 4 August. It sums up the reality well. In countries with competitive politics, elections are an important moment giving rise to debate and excitement. Not so in Rwanda. Rwandans have become accustomed to polls where everything is settled in advance. This was the case before the genocide, when the country was officially a one-party state. And it has been the case since 1994, after which Rwanda became a de facto one-party state under the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from ACLED, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. ACLED tracks political violence, protests and terrorist events across Africa. Their reports include attacks since 1997 based on data collected from local news media, government statements, non-governmental organizations and published research...
(The Associated Press 07/10/17)
Rwanda's electoral commission on Friday disqualified three candidates for next month's presidential election, including the only woman, saying they hadn''t fulfilled requirements such as collecting enough supporting signatures. The announcement came as Amnesty International charged that the election would be held under a "climate of fear" and repression. Those disqualified were Diane Shima Rwigara, Gilbert Mwenedata and Fred Sekikubo Barafinda, said Kalisa Mbanda, chief of the electoral commission. Rwigara, who was running as an independent, said last week that local leaders threatened her supporters while they collected

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