Musanze: WDA helping entrepreneurs achieve dreams

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Jean Damascene Habimana, 55 and founder of 2020 Vision Vocational Training Centre in Nyange sector, Musanze District commended Workforce Development Authority WDA for helping him achieve his dream.

This comes after Habimana, a tailor of 37 years’ experience planned to set up a vocational training centre to share his knowledge with youth and help them achieve sustainable development.

Talking to this website, Habimana revealed that there were no technical schools in the area yet many youth were willing to join such schools to acquire different skills.

However, like any other project, the beginning was not easy with no equipment and few students until Workforce Development Authority (WDA)supported me with materials worth Rwf14,he said.

WDA donated modern sewing machines, a computer and other materials in addition to contributing half of the trainers’ salaries.

Ever since the school was set up in 2009, up to 609 students have completed short courses in tailoring.

Some of the students revealed that they have started making small money while at school,saying it will be easy to achieve social economic development once they finish the course.

Millichance Bamporiki, a student highlighted that he decided to join tailoring because he could not manage farming, saying in 3 months he has learnt a lot to earn him little money so far.

Leonard Hitimana, a married man confirmed that after training in tailoring he earns money to take care of his family’s needs.

“I have made 3 sweaters and I make Rwf1000 profit from each. This small money helps me provide for my family since I have no other job because iam a student,” he said.

There are eight vocational schools in Musanze district with more than 600 students.

Workforce Development Authority (WDA) is an institution that provides a strategic response to the skills development challenges facing Rwanda across all sectors of the economy.

Kagame tells Kenyan Industrialists to get-Up for Rwanda Business

President Paul Kagame has triggered a new way of thinking about business in East Africa.

Kagame, who was in Nairobi sharing a state sponsored breakfast with the Kenyan business community, delivered a thought provoking message, saying it was time to ‘think big and beyond ourselves as leaders.”

In a soft tone, Kagame said, “Don’t sit at home and expect God to deliver food at your doorstep.That is why the government provides resources to its citizens,” he said.

Kagame, who is known for his business-friendly personality, the business community should start making investments as far and wide as they can.

However, he advised the business community to make right choices, but act on them as well.

President Kagame (R) greets his Kenyan Counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta.

President Kagame (R) greets his Kenyan Counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kagame has been attending the 16th Summit of EAC Heads of State in Nairobi, where he was later invited by his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, to commission a 140MW at Olkaria 1 Geothermal plant in Naivasha, North West of Nairobi.

Rwanda signed with Kenya to import 30MW, worth $36.4M annually, to be connected to Rwanda’s national grid.

This is one of the many regional deals partner states are engaged in under the East Africa Community (EAC) integration mindset.

During the round-table breakfast, Kagame said, “Integration in the region should not be limited to markets; it should cut across all areas.”

With the integration, partner states are widening their economy and accessing bigger markets.

Rwanda’s exports to EAC increased by 7.0% last year, from $124.94M to $131.56M despite the landlocked country struggling with an acute trade deficit having increased by 5.5 % ( $415M) in 2014 compared to $393M in 2013.

Kagame has pushed for regional integration to connect land-locked Rwanda to East Africa’s port of Mombasa in Kenya.

President Kagame(C) with S.Sudan President Salva Kiir and Uganda President Yoweli Museveni launching a railway line project last year

President Kagame(C) with S.Sudan President Salva Kiir and Uganda President Yoweli Museveni launching a railway line project last year

Last year, he joined other EAC heads of states to launch the $13.8billion rail project, the largest local infrastructure deal set to link the port of Mombasa and extend to neighbouring Rwanda, Uganda, and South Sudan.

Rwanda believes the railway line could open up business for Rwandans to the region, and reduce transport costs.

The railway line is expected to boost trade and economic integration in EAC and beyond.

Rwanda and Kenya are strong economic partners. Kenya is Rwanda’s main export destination, accounting for 53.9%, exporting mainly tea and coffee worth US$96.6M annually, according to Rwanda Institute of Statistics.

Meanwhile, Rwanda remains Kenya’s investment hot-spot due to conducive business policies and good leadership.

According to Rwanda Development Board (RDB), more than 50 Kenyan investors have invested about $500M in Rwanda, facilitating the government to mobilise close to a billion dollar from external sources over the last 15 years.

Kagame Tells Kenyan Business Community Not to Wait for ‘Manna’

Source: KTpress

Investing in Rwanda, best decision- Tony Blair

Tony Blair, the former UK Prime Minister, says Rwanda is currently attracting lucrative investment deals due to its stance on corrupt.

Blair made similar remarks at an investment forum in South Africa on Tuesday that those seeking to make money should consider three African countries first.

“Rwanda, Ethiopia and Mozambique are examples of better governance and where economic and investment opportunities are very clear,” said Blair.

But Blair pinpointed on Rwanda and said, “Rwanda is a well-run country.”

The former UK Premier is in Rwanda where he visited a mega American-Israeli US$23.7m solar plant expected to light over 15000 homes in eastern part of the country.

The off-grid solar plant, the third largest solar field on the continent, produces 8.5 Mega Watts, contributing 6% to the country’s total energy consumption.

Blair said such a deal is indication Rwanda has the ability to negotiate the best investment deals.

He told KT Press, that “People know when they are coming to Rwanda; they can invest with no corruption…which is very important for investors and countries.”

Blair, a close friend to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, with his Africa Governance Initiative, provides Rwanda’s institutions, including Presidency, Prime Minister’s office, and others, with expertise on setting up structures and systems of effective government.

“We have been also building the capacity in the government on how to negotiate big contracts,” he said.

Source: KT PRESS

Kirehe: Hairdressing has changed my life – Iyakaremye

Unemployment is one of the most critical challenges the youth are facing today. Jean Claude Iyakaremye, a hair dresser in Nyakarambi Trading center in Kirehe district says that having a skill and give it all of your strengths is one of the best approaches youth can earn a living.

Iyakaremye is proud of his accomplishments through hard work

Iyakaremye is proud of his accomplishments through hard work

Jean Claude Iyakaremye, 25, dropped out of school after failing to get school fees but learnt hair dressing to make sure he earn a living.

“I love being a hairdresser because it has brought me so many great opportunities. I have had the chance to make money and be able to support my family” he narrated.

Today, Iyakaremye owns a house, motorcycles and about 8 bicycles on the streets that earns him a living.

Iyakaremye learnt hair styling from a friend after dropping out of school,

“What I love about my job is listening to people’s stories. Everyone has a story and it’s truly it makes me feel like a more empathic person to know that everyone is living a life with a past, present and future. It’s a great way to connect, and while I listen, I make them beautiful.”

It took Iyakaremye years to save enough money to set up a hair cutting saloon in Ngoma town.

 “After working for someone my boss realized my potential and gave me a raise, today I do earn Rwf200, 000 monthly. I later managed to buy a plot and started building a house on my salary,” he recounts.

With the support of his wife, Iyakaremye bought motorcycle and 8 bicycles that bring in daily income.

“The advice I can give to the youth is to start working on whatever job available, it does not matter how much you earn as long as you earn some money,” he says.

Government to employ new approach to enhance SMEs

Kanimba

Kanimba

The government of Rwanda is looking at a new approach that will help enhance the capacity of Small and medium enterprises, a cluster seen to boost private sector growth and   contribute to economic growth.

The approach according of Minister Trade and industry will support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through clusters to address lack of relevant skills affecting their competitiveness on the labor market.

“SMEs in Rwanda lack an understanding of the local, regional and international market in which they operate, limiting their ability to take advantage of potential market opportunities,” he said

This  cripples their competitiveness  as well as increasing their  productivity  that is  needed for them to take a leading role in  provision of employment  and  improving  value addition of products needed  for exports.

“They do not have the resources or time to spend gathering and understanding market information that would be useful to their operations. This inhibits SME innovation and growth,” Minister Kanimba noted

Locally this leads to heavy duplication of business ideas and we hope this training of Business Development Advisors will improve this situation and lead to SMEs growth, Minister Kanimba added

According to the approach, Small and Medium enterprises running similar businesses will be identified and put   in the same category.

“The fact is that firms working together in a cluster should be able to respond to the challenges of global market than isolated ones,” Minister Kanimba said.

The clustering  comes at the time when the government  With  Private Sector Federation- PSF  the  country’s  private sector Umbrella  arm are  looking at  ways of increasing value addition  for   exports  to  up  the  export receipts  needed  to offset a huge  trade deficit.

“As of now, the SMEs mapping and cluster strategies have been done in all districts and this will help in skills development and organization of SMEs operations. The clustering will also facilitate good SME mentorship and development,” he noted

The approach according to Minister Kanimba will also see the active participation of Business Development Advisors countrywide   upsurge their efforts towards entrepreneurship as well as SMEs development.

Private sector vital in fostering economic growth

Private sector vital in fostering economic growth

The Minister for finance and Economic Planning Amb. Claver  Gatete  said  involving the private sector  in the  economic  development  process  is  vital  in achieving the  country  ambition of  shifting  the country  middle income  by 2020.

The government is looking at different ways to engaging and supporting   the private sector seen as an engine   for the country’s growth.

“We need to discuss private sector investment strategy, support its implementation and how to overcome the challenges that private sector still face,” Minister Gatete said.

The Minister said that the private sector is   instrumental   in  helping the  government implement its   Second economic  Development and Poverty  reduction  Strategy  (EDPRS II) that aims at transforming the  country  into  middle income.

“As the economy continues to grow, the need to engage the private sector whose contribution is crucial for sustained economic development becomes more apparent,” he added

The   government moved in to   support the private sector through access to credit, expansion of market as well as creating a business friendly   environment that has been instrumental   in job creation mainly for the youth.

“Our youth employment program should be done methodically to ensure that our young people have the right skills and the private sector is involved in job creation initiatives,” Minister added

Experts  believe that   focusing on  increasing youth  employment through     imparting  employable  skills  in youth as well as  boosting entrepreneurship will be vital to   promote   employment whose target  aims at creation  over 200,000  off farms jobs every  year.

“Donors understand the potential for this “demographic dividend” and stand firmly committed to supporting youth for Rwanda’s stability and future growth,” said Peter Malnak, USAID Mission Director

Moreover,  there is optimism, experts say that increasing   efforts to boost exports,  support the industrial sector  as well as  attracting   Foreign  Direct  investment  is likely to improve  the  country   economic  performance  that  is   striving to   shed  off the   high  trade deficit.

Cooperatives seek investor to run new Bank

Rwandan cooperatives are anxiously waiting for establishment of a bank that will help finance most of their projects, which local commercial banks are reluctant to invest in.

According to Rwandan law, the bank will require an initial investment of 5 billion RWF ($7 million USD).

The Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA), the umbrella of all cooperatives in the country, says the investor will be offered 40% (2 billion RWF) stake.

Damien Mugabo, head of the agency told KTPress that the cooperatives have already mobilized the 60% capital needed.

However, with over 2.5million members from 4000 different cooperatives, the agency has a total investment capacity of over 150 billion RWF ($216 million USD). Mugabo says the cooperatives can easily raise 3 billion RWF “in just a week.”

Cooperatives say the need for the bank is very urgent.

Cooperatives seek investor to run new Bank

President Paul Kagame Meeting members of Cooperatives. They Requested for establishment of their Own Bank.

On July 13, 2014, during the International Cooperatives Day celebration, which had been attended byRwanda’s President Paul Kagame, cooperatives outlined the challenges they faced. Banks are adamant to give credit to farmers.

Even for a handful that have managed to secure loans, acquired them at astronomical interest rate of up to 21%.

A survey published in 2013 indicated that all the 17 banks in Rwanda find agriculture a very risky sector to invest. Loan requests are often shelved.

John Rwamurenzi, a local farmer applied for 10 million RWF loan ($15,000 USD) from a local bank twice, but never got one.

As an alternative, most farmers depend on community-based micro-finance institutions, such as Umurenge SACCOs which do not give long term loans.

Back at the cooperatives day event, the members appealed directly to President Kagame for their own bank.

Kagame responded in the affirmative, directing the trade ministry to mobilize resources as matter of urgency for the bank.

Five months later, Trade Minister Francois Kanimba says all due diligence has been conducted and the central bank is ready to license any prepared investor.

“The challenge now is finding an investor with banking expertise to take up 40% of shares,” he told KTPress.

Government has pumped millions of dollars in subsidizing farmers. For those with large plantations using irrigation – the state foots about half of the costs.

Rwandan officials believe the new cooperative bank will enable farmers to produce more for export to reduce the country’s trade imbalance.

SOURCE:KT Press

Religious leaders to mobilize flock topay taxes

Religious leaders to mobilize flock topay taxes

Religious leaders from various faith backgrounds have made a commitment of educating their flock on the essence of paying taxes as a way of increasing the country’s internal revenues.

The commitment was made on January 29, 2014 during a meeting with the Rwanda Revenue Authority officials. The meeting was under the theme: Striving for self-reliance through taxes”

The head of internal revenues at RRA, AimableKayigi said that the role of religious leaders in this case is very vital since the have a mass population that accounts for 95 percent of the community.

He said that education the believers to pay taxes promptly are a job that can be easily done by religious leaders since most believers believe in them. He said that the country has managed to drive towards self-reliance and so far taxes account for 51.7 percent of the country’s annual budget.

Sheikh Ibrahim Kayitare, the Mufti of Rwanda said that the idea of mobilizing the faithful during prayer services and sermon giving is a good idea but there should be a permanent and sustainable mobilization plan set up by religious leaders and the revenue officials.

Bishop of Kabgayi diocese, SmargadeMbonyintege, and Head of Catholic bishops in Rwanda, also was supportive of the idea but also suggested that the religious leaders should not stop at encouraging tax payers but also helping in rebuking those who embezzle public funds and those who evade taxes- since this has an equal negative impact on the economy.

New innovative ways needed to maximise World Bank Group benefits – Gatete

New innovative ways needed to maximise World Bank Group benefits - Gatete

Finance minister, Amb. Claver Gatete has asked for more innovative ways which would allow Rwanda to maximize benefits from the World Bank Group (WBG) instead of focusing only on the International Development Assistance (IDA).The IDA is the soft lending arm of the Group.

Gatete was recently hosting WBG’s Executive director, Dr. Louis Rene Peter Larose.Dr. Larose was here for talks and gaining a better understanding of the development challenges facing Rwanda, in particular Rwanda’s relationship with the World Bank.

“We need to look beyond IDA and take advantage of the Bank’s networks to tap into other resources which can support other aspects of our development plans such as facilitating the private sector to be the driver of the economic growth,” Gatete said.

He suggested the WB partner EAC countries by supporting Northern Corridor infrastructure projects which would accelerate development across the region.

WB contributes to Rwanda’s development plans by aligning its support towards Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy2 (EDPRS2).

Larose said, “To fully understand development challenges facing African countries, we need to get to the ground and make proper assessments to be able to draw strategies that would indeed address these challenges.”

Larose praised government of Rwanda’s reform efforts that are transforming the country. He was impressed by the EDPRS2 targets of reducing poverty by 20% and creation of 200,000 annually.

Gakenke: Youth eye vocational workshop as key to development

Vocational workshop under construction in Gakenke district

Vocational workshop under construction in Gakenke district

As youth in Gakenke district await the completion of vocational training in Gakenke district to get different skills and create jobs for social development.

This comes when vocational workshop construction phase I is going on in Gakenke district to empower youth and other residents through skill training.

While most youth in this area survived on cultivation, the workshop will help them learn skills to create own jobs and develop socially and economically.

Under the district plan, the vocational workshop will have four houses and a commercial house where products will be sold from.

Youth eye vocational workshop as key to development

Normally, cultivation activities dominated in youth because they could not access vocational training schools but the new workshop will enable youth train in different skills, some residents said.

Theoneste Bahufite, a resident confirmed that the workshop will be a platform for youth to learn skills since it required them to go to Kigali or to another district before for vocational training.

“Youth have been going to Kigali city or in Ruhengeri to get vocational training. But now, they will be training from here and reduce on transport costs and time,” he added.

Youth eye vocational workshop as key to development

Another resident, Jack Byukusenge noted that apart from agriculture, some youth could do small temporary jobs like working on a construction site, saying a workshop will be of great use to them.

“Technical workshop will help us to create jobs and earn a living. Skills like tailoring, welding, carpentry and electrical engineering will boost our social economic development,” said Byukusenge.

Deogratias Nzamwita, mayor of Gakenke district highlighted that construction of vocational workshops is a big project that will entail all artistry activities.

“It’s a big project that will be executed in 3 phases. The first site was chosen by the district to set up a place where carpentry, welding among others will be done and taught,” he said.

It’s expected that vocational workshop construction activities phase I will cost close to Rwf32 million while the whole project will cost up to Rwf400 million.

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