Nile River Greatness

Nile River Greatness
Cows grazing in Nile basin land

Saturday, October 31, 2009



By Mugume D Rwakaringi

Barely a decade and a half after a turmoil that led to genocide which led to about 1000.000 losing their lives and the breakdown in all sectors of development, Rwanda’s economy and Investment climate has had a steady development. The recent Doing Business report conducted by World Bank ranked Rwanda as the best business reformer, after jumping spectacular 76 places to establish herself among the 100 best reformers at the 67th position.

Rwanda is popularly known as ‘the land of a thousand hills’ because of its many hills which form tourist attractions. The landscapes in this green country are truly incredible.

People who have got a chance of visiting Rwanda have admitted that the Country is well endowed with natural beauty especially the nature of Rwanda’s mountains, its climate is also a remarkable one; blessed with a relatively cold climate-not so cold though, no wonder Rwanda has been termed as the Switzerland of Africa.

This is evidenced by a wide variety of wildlife. The Volcanoes National Park, in northern Rwanda is home to the world’s largest number of endangered mountain gorillas. Numbering in the hundreds, the gorillas live in a protected area, free from poachers.
The Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda is crowded with wildlife both large and the hospitable people who have a great respect for foreigners.

It is however not this natural beauty that has led to Rwanda’s steady growth but rather the political climate for example of no tolerance to corruption, Transparency International recently recognized Rwanda’s strong commitment to fighting corruption.

It has however not been easy for this land locked Country. In 1999, the Rwandan economy stagnated due to a combination of factors, including the increase in world oil prices, a decrease in world coffee prices.

Recently while Rwanda’s President H.E Paul Kagame remarked that for Africa to attract more business and move forward in its on-going transformation, the continent must embrace good governance that promotes accountabiltility. This singles out that Graft has been the major hindrance to Africa’s development and Investment attraction.

Surprisingly even with the present World economic crisis, Rwanda has had a stable growth quoting a GDP of almost double figures (9%) in the last quarter with per capita incomes for individual Rwandans growing above $500.

Rwanda introduced major reforms in several areas, according to Doing Business 2009. It streamlined construction permitting for the second year in a row by combining the applications for location clearance and a building permit in a single form and introducing a single application form for water, sewerage, and electricity connections. This reduced both the number of procedures and the time required for dealing with construction permits.

The time and cost to register a property also fell. A new fixed registration fee was introduced, and centralization of the tax service reduced the time to obtain a certificate of good standing, the report noted.

Rwanda facilitated trade by extending the opening hours of the customs border offices, implementing an electronic data interchange system, and introducing risk-based inspections. Together with growth in the transport sector, this reduced the time to export by five days and the time to import by 27 days—a 40 percent reduction.

Finally, commercial courts began operating in three locations, in Kigali and in the Northern and Southern Provinces, making it easier to enforce contracts.

The Rwanda Investment Capacity which is facilitating improvement in doing business by supporting efficient enforcement of contracts, registration of property and starting a business was allocated Rwf11.9bn (approx. US $ 20 million for a three-year programme designed to reduce the cost and risk of doing business in the country.

The condusive investement climate is paying dividends to Rwanda with a number of reputable companies such as Equity Bank, Prime Bank, Kencall, Nation Media Group and Contour Global company which is ready to invest up to USD 300 million in the energy sector willing to start investing in the Country as early as 2010.

Rwanda’s development according to Vincent Karega, Rwandan Minister of State in charge of trade and investment is not a one’s man show but a combination of all people from different areas of Rwandan society: central and local government technicians, representatives of the private sector and civil society.

Rwanda has seen a dramatic rise in investment inflows, according to the World Investment Report (WIR) 2009. The report released recently said that inflow increased from $16m in 2006 to $67m in 2007 and $103m last year, surpassing for the first time giant Kenya only one position better than fragile-post conflict Burundi that attracted only $1m in foreign investment.

Although Rwanda’s economic structure is characterized by an overwhelming majority of population being employed in agriculture which is limited by scarcity of land, Rwanda’s friendly industrial policy has contributed to the general improvement of Rwanda’s economy.

With the scarce land problem, the government intervened by intensification, land consolidation, fertiliser application, introduction of good variety of seeds and an intensified terracing exercise programs which have yielded remarkable dividends.

The Minister’s advice should not be only for Rwanda, a country with a significant development despite the limited resources available but should be a message for all Africa and for every individual as we strive to attain the MDGs in 2015. With everyone’s effort towards attaining development implemented, then Obama’s slogan “Yes we can”-Develop, can be achieved.

Women poorer than men in Rwanda, says UN

The UN agency charged with campaigning for women rights says governments are not doing enough to establish mechanisms that protect women from rampant abuse, urging Kigali to do more on poverty as it is hitting the women hard.

Closing the gender gap is crucial because it is symptomatic of an accountability crisis that exists now, according to UNIFEM Executive Director Inés Alberdi, who joined Rwanda First Lady Jeannette Kagame in Kigali to launch the 2008/09 global report on women progress.

The report released on a two-year period says women are outnumbered 4 to 1 in legislatures around the world. Over 60 percent of all unpaid family workers globally are women and women still earn on average 17 per cent less than men. It takes note of the fact that Rwanda has more than 56 percent women parliamentarians.

About one-third of women suffer gender-based violence during their lives. In some parts of the world, 1 in 10 women dies from pregnancy-related causes even though the means for preventing maternal mortality are cost-effective and well known.

Governments and multilateral organizations have a responsibility to do a better job of answering to women, the document demands. It points out that accountability mechanisms work for women when they can ask for explanations and information from decision makers, and, where necessary, initiate investigations or get compensation.

The agency’s officials said Tuesday that Rwanda is well past setting up systems that cater for the woman’s needs. “Rwanda has many lessons to share on the theme of gender and accountability” says Josephine Odera, Regional Program Director of UNIFEM Central Africa Regional Office.

“It is our duty to ensure that women know, understand and utilize the accountability structures in place in Rwanda.”

In Rwanda, the report says accountability for addressing gender-based violence (GBV) has been included in household surveys - traditionally called Imihigo - against which district leadership is to be evaluated. This signals a widespread commitment to prevent violence against women in an explicit form.

As one District Mayor explains in the document; “We included the fight against GBV in our performance contracts because security organisations showed us important statistics about the problem of GBV in our area [...] Imihigo is a response to the problems in our community.

However, the UN notes that poverty in Rwanda still carries a “female face”. Of the households living under the poverty line, the majority are female headed. More than 80 % of agriculture workers are female, yet they have limited control over assets and suffer from food insecurity. Women have limited access to social and economic services compared to men and gender based violence is still a daily threat to too many women and girls in Rwanda.

The First Lady said there cannot be meaningful development without the active participation the women - who are the majority, based on the 2002 census estimates.

Even though in the last decade the number of women parliamentarians at the national level has increased by 8 percent to a global average of 18.4 percent, developing countries will still not reach the “parity zone” of 40-60 percent until 2045, the UN agency said.

Women hold an average of 19.3 percent of parliamentary seats in countries that applied some form of electoral quota, compared to 14.7 percent in countries with no quotas.

Rwanda News Agency (RNA)


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THE NILE FORTUNE Expanding Business beyond the Horizons • The Nile Fortune Magazine is a business Magazine published by The Active Nation Ltd committed to effective communication through Newsprint. The Nile Fortune Magazine Circulates in the 10 Countries that form Nile basin organization of Southern Sudan and North Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Burundi, Egypt and DR Congo with the circulation of over 5000 copies for a population of over 200 million people. VISION Sustainable social-economic development within Nile basin region and Africa in general. Clientele: Governments in the Nile Basin, International and local Investors, Private sector and the upcoming middle class, Local communities, International Humanitarian and relief agencies, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Government Institutions, The business community. MUGUME D. RWAKARINGI MD, NILE FORTUNE MAGAZINE +249-955003929