Foreign Owned Investments in Rwanda Increase by 78%

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Workers at C&H Garments Ltd Rwanda

Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to Rwanda have increase by 78.1 per cent according to the latest Foreign Private Capital Census (FPC) 2015 report released by the central bank.

According to the report, investments by foreign investors increased to US$ 458.7 million in 2014 from US$ 257.6 million recorded during 2013.

“It is due to high confidence of foreign investors in Rwanda and the country’s attractiveness to  foreign investment,” the report reads in part.

Mauritius investments in Rwanda are leading with $ 113.5 million followed by Switzerland $ 106.2 million.

The United States of America and Luxembourg come on third and fourth positions with $ 70 million and $ 52.6 million worth of investment respectively.

In East Africa, Kenya comes on 7th position with $ 28.3 million inflows.

Top ten sectors of activity accounted for 96 percent of all FDI inflows in 2014. $ 136.2 million came from mining while ICT sector investment amounted to USD 116.1 million.

Tourism sector investment was $ 71.8 million while finance and insurance sector registered $ 68.8 million.

ICT investments reached USD 453.4 million. Some investments that could have led to this would be the Olleh Rwanda Network (oRn), a Korean venture which is providing 4G internet to Rwanda.

With a current population coverage upto 30%, oRn targets to cover the entire country in 2017.

Finance and insurance sector registered $ 229.6 million investment while manufacturing accounted for $172 million.

Flagship investments that were registered in 2014 include C&H garment in textile industry, Advanced Factory Units (AFUs) in call center manufacturing.

Bella Flowers has excelled in production and export of cut flowers, while Positivo has gained ground in computer manufacturing.

According to the report, for the last seven years (2009-2014), a total of 338 investments projects fully owned by foreign investors or in joint ventures with local investment have been registered with pledged investment value of $ 2,607 million and planning to create 55,141 jobs.

In 338 pledged projects, 211 are operational, 69 are in implementation phase, and 32 have closed, while 36 remain committed to start their activities.

The performance is attributed to several reforms in doing business including; a tax holiday of up to seven years, government’s protection of investments, settlement of disputes, transfer of funds and special economic zone facilitations.

Country ranking in doing business and investment by credible global institutions also is believed to have indicated that Rwanda is one of the best areas to do business.

According to World Bank doing business, 2015-2016 Rwanda improved its world ranking to 46nd position in the world, up from 48th the previous year. In Africa, Rwanda retained 3rd position and number one in the East African Community.

Rwanda ranks among the top 10 in: starting a business, government spending, foreign Direct Investment rules and procurement of advanced technology.

The country is also among countries with least burden of government regulations and least cost of crime and violence.

In 2014, the overall net profit of foreign companies that registered in Rwanda amounted to US$ 46.5 million dropping from US$ 73.6 million this year.

Out of the profit of US$ 46.5 million recorded in 2014, reinvested earnings were US$ 23million, decreasing from US$ 44.2 million registered in 2013.

The profit decreased in 2014 compared to 2013 is explained by the newly registered companies in 2014, many start-ups in recent years and low profitability for existing companies.

The major profitable sectors were finance and insurance specifically in banking sector, manufacturing and agriculture.

The census collects information required for compilation of the country’s balance of payments, international investment position statements and determines the magnitude and trends of foreign private capital in Rwanda.

Source: KTPress 

Rwanda’s Minister Apologizes For Poorly Organised Agriculture Event

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Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources Dr. Geraldine Mukeshimana has apologised for poorly managing a major continental event hosted in Kigali.

On Monday, about 1000 agriculture experts from across Africa arrived in Kigali for the 7th Africa Agriculture  Science Week and general assembly for Forum for Agriculture research in Africa under the theme “Apply Science, Impact Livelihoods.”

However, delegates have not been impressed by how they were handled upon arrival and poor service in hotels they were hosted. This is contrary to Rwanda’s handling of previous events.

Dr. Mukeshimana on Wednesday evening arrived at Camp Kigali conference centre in traditional dress (mushanana) to join the delegates for dinner. As delegates were served at their tables, the emcee invited the minister to speak.

She majestically walked forward and was handed a microphone. She turned to face the delegates who had suddenly gone silent patiently waiting to hear from the minister.

Looking composed but seemingly anxious  the minister said “If anything happened that was not good, I apologize, that is not Rwanda a country that welcomes guests.”

She said that on behalf of the government she takes the responsibility of the messes that happened  and extends the apology, “I really take the whole responsibility and ownership and apologize.”

The delegates cheered and clapped their hands after the minister’s surprising apology.

Several delegates that talked to KT Press complained that since they arrived there was inadequate food, refreshments like water during the meetings. They also said meeting halls were poorly and inadequately arranged.

Every delegate had paid U$ 50 dollars as participation fee for the Assembly.

Some delegates say they missed food and breakfast as one was required queue up (cafeteria)  for about an hour to be served while in some instances food and tea were  inadequate.

“To get food you had to be physically fit,” a delegate from Ghana who requested anonymity said, ” it required a lot of energy to endure the line. The problem was that they had one table where all of us had to serve food from,” she added.

The mess  began with registration process on Monday where  delegates who did not get  accreditation on time, attended the opening ceremony by Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi without  badges.

In further confusion, participants could not locate some of the meetings that they were supposed to attend. From the second day, the assembly run under sideline meetings in different halls at the conference centre.

The mess at the Agriculture  Science week coincides with President Paul Kagame’s criticism against another poorly organised world Economic Forum-WEF in May which he said delegates also complained they were not given enough food.

In attempt to explain why this whole mess swallowed up an important conference, the minister said the confusion started when the forum’s organizing committee decided to take up all responsibilities for conference arrangements, registration, protocol services, catering and met challenges as they were not used to the environment.

“They didn’t want us to get involved so much maybe they thought we could boss them, but when we started realising problems we intervened as a ministry,” she added.

However, a member of the forum’s communication team who preferred not to be mentioned said that the ministry staff were not cooperative and were not able to execute responsibilities given to them.

“For example, we were supposed to work with them on handling media, get logistics required to engage with delegates and  helping in arranging  the  sideline meetings, it was not done,” she told KT press.

The June 13 -16th week was organized by the forum for Agriculture research in Africa –FARA secretariat in Ghana hosted by government of Rwanda through the ministry of Agriculture and Animal resources and discussed strategies on how to apply science, technology and innovation in agriculture.

Source: KTPress 

Retailers Accuse Wholesalers of Tax Evasion

Fidele Mupagasi, a retailer in Muhanga district explains how taxes are evaded

Fidele Mupagasi, a retailer in Muhanga district explains how taxes are evaded

A misunderstanding between traders in Muhanga district, southern province may point to dubious ways of tax evasion.

Last week, hundreds of retailers in Muhanga district volunteered to Rwanda revenue Authority (RRA)  and revealed information on how traders evade taxes.

The traders were in a consultative meeting with Richard Tusabe the Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority.

They said, the wholesale traders bring forged invoices while shipping goods from Dubai and other foreign markets, which affects tax collections back home.

“It all starts with wholesalers in Kigali; we purchase goods from them and they give us invoices that do not fit what we have paid,” complained Fidele Mupagasi, a retailer from Muhanga district.

“When you try to ask, they say; either you take it or leave our goods. Most of the time you are forced to take it to save your time,” he said.

According to Mupagasi such invoices do not include the real value of the purchased goods; “Traders do it intentionally to give an impression that they have a small turnover.”

The Commissioner General said, “Tax defaulting starts at the customs with big dealers and this affects their transactions with semi retailers as well. We are going to increase vigilance on the importers’ transactions.”

Jean Bosco Kashugera, the owner of City Valley, a hotel in Nyabugogo said, “I can’t evade taxes myself; I would even report anyone if I learnt of their intentions.”

A Kigali based wholesaler who had preferred anonymity told KT Press said there is nowhere this defaulting can take place in front of custom officers. “If semi retailers and retailers are caught red-handed, they should assume their responsibility instead of blaming it on us.”

When Tusabe announced the taxes collected in the second half of 2015, he said there was a new trend of experts on tax evasion. “There are some accountants who seek the honest tax payers and show them a formula on how they can evade taxes.”

The tax body RRA, collected Rwf 470.6 billion against the targeted Rwf 460.3 billion in the second half of 2015. This includes Rwf 455 billion of tax revenues and Rwf 7.1 billion in non-tax revenues.

Between May and August 2015 alone, over Rwf380million was recovered by the Rwanda National Police Revenue Protection Unit.

RRA indicates that paying tax is yet to become a culture which results into defaulting. Traders include taxes among losses, even in the case of Value Added Taxes (VAT), which is paid by the last consumer.

Richard Tusabe the Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority

Richard Tusabe the Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority

SOURCE: KT-PRESS

Agribusiness Can Transform Africa’s Farming

Exhibitor explains about his products

Exhibitor explains about his products

Agriculture experts suggest that Africa needs to urgently invest in value chain to stimulate its rural farmers to engage in agribusiness.

Researchers in Agribusiness gathered at the ongoing Africa Agriculture Science Week at Camp Kigali said farmers need to be financed and trained on enticing agriculture investment.

“Access to finance remain limited. But we can come up with innovative financing models, de-risking agribusiness, business modeling that cuts across the value,” said Mary Thiong’o from Africa Agribusiness incubators network.

Africa’s population is drastically increasing; with youths (364 million of the population between 15-35 years) are at centre stage, and urgent investment in value chain is needed to help farmers engage into agribusiness.

Rwanda is improving its agriculture system by establishing crop intensification program, while investing in innovations and technology among its farmers.

Josephat Mugabo a scientist from Rwanda Agriculture board told KT Press that Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation and World Bank are doing a great job in linking farmers to the market, but “more linking models are needed-given the size of the farmer’s produce is based on.”

Last year alone, Rwanda Development Bank through collaboration with Rwanda Agriculture Board, set aside Rwf10 billion ($1.276 million) to facilitate local farmers become agribusiness champions.

Meanwhile, One Acre Fund- a non-profit organization has provided Rwandan farmers with a package of goods and services on credit, including financing for farm inputs, distribution of seed and fertilizer.

Rwandan smallholder farmers especially in Western province last year were funded with at least $80 each as a loan to finance the production season.

This resulted into an average gain of 53% of their total income, mainly in 12 access to modern maize hybrids and fertilisers, appropriate for local soil needs, among others.

At the ‘Investing in Agribusiness’ session, agriculture experts advised that Africa should produce more staple crops for exports, and more emphasis should be put in beans production.

Rwanda is a key consumer of beans globally. According to U.S Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative’s research, Rwanda has highest per capita consumption of beans in the world.

With agriculture being the backbone of the economy, and beans leading staple grain legume accounted for 25% of crop land use, the country seeks investments to boost 700,000 tons of beans produced annually on 350,000 hectares.

Rwanda has invested heavily in climbing beans-proved to be producing three times more food on the same area of land than bush beans.

In the last decade, the country has been transformed from a net importer to an exporter – with exports valued at $12- 20 million and increased yields from 0.7 to 1.1 tons per hectare, according to Rwanda Agriculture Board.

Rwanda’s Agriculture sector contributes about 35% of the country’s GDP, and its projected growth is expected to be 8.5% per year by 2018.

Africa Wants to Stop Importing Food

Rwanda is hosting the 7th Africa Agriculture Science week

Rwanda is hosting the 7th Africa Agriculture Science week

Agriculture experts are gathered in Kigali, Rwanda to discuss ways how Africa can transform its agriculture into a technology-based sector.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the President of  African Development Bank says his financial institution will invest $24 billion in Agriculture on the continent in the next 10 years.

“The continent holds huge arable land that cannot only produce food for itself but the bigger part of the world,” Dr. Adesina said.

However, Africa spends more than $35 billion every year on imported food stuffs. This trade deficit is a big problem that needs quick fixing.

“It’s high time that Africa feeds Africa,” Adesina told participants at Camp Kigali village at the ongoing Africa Agriculture Science Week and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa ‘s general assembly.

While officially launching the Agriculture science week, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi told experts that his country is at the center stage in innovating agriculture technology.

He said Rwanda has been leading in collaboration with other African countries in pushing the sector to the next level.

“This sector is a crucial cornerstone for Africa’s transformation.  Rwanda is among first African Countries to sign the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).”

The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) is Africa’s policy framework for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic growth and prosperity for all.

Michael Ryan, head of EU mission in Rwanda said the organization has set aside $9 billion to lift 7 million children out of malnutrition on the continent by 2025  responding to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Rwanda has drastically reduced the population that is malnourished, Adesina said.

Meanwhile, Beans and potatoes are some of the crops with high yielding varieties obtained as a result of efforts in Rwanda’s agriculture research.

To deal with trade deficits in Agriculture, State Minister for Agriculture, Tony Nsanganira, said, “Youth and women are the groups needed in the sector as agro-processing industry is expected to grow by14%. There is need to increase incentives in the sector.”

There are more than 832 proximity business advisory services in the country to help boost production and agro processing sector, with a target of reducing poverty by over 8.5% in the next 10 years.

Rwanda’s Agriculture sector contributes 35% of the country’s economy. The country spends over $300 million every year on importation of food stuffs every year.

Agriculture experts believe that Science should be the backbone of Africa’s agriculture transformation.

According to Agriculture Ministry, the number of scientists had increased to about 60. Currently, Rwanda has about 150 scientists and new infrastructure in improving the agriculture sector.

According to Rwanda’s central bank, by end of last year, Rwanda’s main food exports to neighbouring countries especially food and beverages, vegetables, and meat had increased by 28.9% with 30.9% of their volumes.

Participants at the Agriculture science week

Participants at the Agriculture science week

Experts want technology-based agriculture in Africa

Experts want technology-based agriculture in Africa

Source: KTPress 

Rwanda Unveils New Fuel Storage Depot

President Paul Kagame(center) on a guided tour at the new fuel depot

President Paul Kagame(center) on a guided tour at the new fuel depot

Rwanda is moving closer to solving challenges of fuel demand and supply in the growing local market.

President Paul Kagame has today unveiled Rwanda’s second biggest fuel depot at Rusororo sector in Gasabo District outside Kigali.

The new depot jointly owned by Societe Petroliere S.A.R.L has storage capacity of 22 million litres of which can help the country meet its petroleum needs for three months.

Rwanda has been importing its petroleum products from East African neighbours which would take several days in transit by fuel trucks.

Kagame was taken on a guided tour of the depot site. He later said Rwanda wants to ensure that Investors see benefits in the country.

“We need to identify and overcome our shortcomings to ensure investors continue to see a benefit to investing in Rwanda,” he said.

The Rusororo  petroleum depot project was built through public private partnership which Kagame says, “We have to build on this to go even further and faster.”

The depot estimated to have cost $16 million is constructed on eight hectares.

Previously Rwanda had other national reserves with capacity of 30 million litres stored at Gatsata Depots (15 million litres), Kabuye (5 million litres). These were also supplemented by smaller storage facilities at Kigali International Airport and in Rwabuye in the Southern Province.

According to Societe Petroliere , about 70% of petroleum products in these storage facilities is reserved as government’s strategic stock. About 5.6 million litres for open market.

The country has for long been looking to boost its fuel stock through partnerhsips with private oil dealers with intentions of expanding reserves up to 150 million litres essential in ensuring the country has enough fuel to supply the market and stabilise pump prices.

According to Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency the use of petroleum products in the country’s grows at an annual average rate of 10.1 per cent.

About  22 million litres of petroleum products can be stored at the new depot

About 22 million litres of petroleum products can be stored at the new depot

Source: KTPress 

Rwandans called upon to embrace locally made products

Gerald Muzungu, mayor of Kirehe district urged Rwandans to embrace locally made products (made in Rwanda) in order to promote the development of the country.

Mayor Muzungu revealed this on 8th June 2016 during the launch of 3days open day in Kirehe district.

Partners cited out the low turn up of Rwandans buying locally made products

Partners cited out the low turn up of Rwandans buying locally made products

During the event, different partners cited out the low turn up of Rwandans buying locally made products instead of imported goods.

In his remark, Mayor Gerald Muzungu asked residents to love what is made in Rwanda.

“We have seen good clothing, shoes and beddings made by Rwandans. Instead of buying products from outside the country, I want us to buy Rwandan and value this slogan ‘Made in Rwanda’,” says the mayor

He adds that it’s not right for a district open day to be marked by imported products when Rwandans can make even better items.

“If we continue buying from other countries, we will make Rwandans jobless but give jobs to foreigners. Our youth complete school without jobs, lets support them by buying what they do,” mayor points out

Mayor Kazungu asked partners to improve the quality of the products made in Rwanda, to be able to compete at international markets and develop Rwanda through revenue.

Cyprien Sebikwekwe, who represented Joint Action Development Forum (JADF) at the event, highlighted that negative attitude of some Rwandese retards the economic development of the country.

“The turn up for district open day is low yet residents flock other exhibitions where they pay entrance fees. Residents need to be sensitized on the importance of open days to the country,” he says

One resident, Théogène Munyaneza commended the mayor for urging residents to embrace locally made products.

“It’s true, every person is looking for imported products not ‘Made in Rwanda’. The mayor said it very well, we make good stuff here but buy made in China. We should buy Rwandan and promote our value,” says Munyaneza

Mayor Gerald Muzungu highlights that sensitization is not intense, saying that the next year’s open day will be included on the district budget, so that it will be cross-border event with the use of media.

 

Motorola Could Intervene in Rwanda’s Smart Cities Project

Rwanda has employed technology to improve the lives of citizens but is advised to focus on public safety.

Rwanda has employed technology to improve the lives of citizens but is advised to focus on public safety.

Motorola solutions has unveiled cutting edge public safety solutions which it says may help governments and businesses safeguard their environments.

The American data communications and telecommunications equipment provider has expressed interest in Rwanda’s smart cities initiative which could benefit from the new innovations.

Shimon Dick, the Motorola solutions vice-president for Africa and Middle East says his firm is following the developments in Rwanda and will step in at an opportune time and see how they can support government efforts to strengthen public safety, besides ensuring a connected population.

Shimon was speaking on the sidelines of Critical Communications World 2016 conference today in Rai, Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.

He said in today’s challenging business environment, some firms are driven by a process of thinking that is not necessary in the interest of the public.

But for Rwandan executives Shimon said, “are always promoting and thinking how citizens will benefit; they think long-term, about service delivery, and inquire about the right standards and technology to adopt.”

The country has been promoting growth of provincial satellite cities and the bigger Smart Rwanda project.

But Shimon advises that public safety is an essential element that countries promoting ‘smart cities’ must consider. Public safety and connectivity are paramount to attract investments across the country.

Jack Molloy, the Motorola Solutions executive vice-president for worldwide sales and services told executives at the conference, “The LTE network alone is not enough; the real value in a smart city comes from what you do on a daily basis to ensure public safety in a ‘smart’ way.”

“The power of smart cities comes when you aggregate and integrate data; and how you disseminate it in a mobile environment, ” Molloy said.

He said the ‘internet of things’ should be the driving factor while promoting smart cities like Kigali.

According to Molloy, power is not in buying a network, but what you do with ICT and integrate data from a command control system, and how you analyse and predict situations using that data to try and keep the world a better and safer place.

In safer cities, powerful things can happen, which is why critical communication solutions and infrastructure are essential, he added.

Molloy added that network integration allows for seamless switchover across networks, enabling city security bodies and other agencies to use technology to understand issues like areas where criminals may live, or be able to predict and prevent or handle disasters, thanks to data integration.

Motorola’s new Innovations

Last week Motorola Solutions launched industry-leading radios, software solutions, enhanced infrastructure and a virtual reality-enabled command center concept at Critical Communications World 2016.

They include the Si series video speaker microphone with a new combination of body-worn video camera, radio speaker and microphone, along with new, cloud-based, digital evidence management software, which is able to collaborate with TETRA digital two-way radios.

The firm also unveiled a new ST7000 small TETRA radio, and the WAVE 7000 system that link millions of users regardless of device.

Passengers browsing internet on their gadgets in transit aboard Rwanda's public transport buses fitted with 4GLTE internet.

Passengers browsing internet on their gadgets in transit aboard Rwanda’s public transport buses fitted with 4GLTE internet.

Source: KTPress 

Nyabihu Potato Factory Fails to Work, Farmers Stranded

The factory owned by Nyabihu Potatoes Company was launched on march 8. It operated on launch day and has not since been operational leaving potato farmers stranded

The factory owned by Nyabihu Potatoes Company was launched on march 8. It operated on launch day and has not since been operational leaving potato farmers stranded

Potato farmers in Nyabihu district are at crossroads after a factory recently built in their region has failed to buy all their potatoes.

In March, the state owned Nyabihu Potatoes Company was officially switched on to begin processing Irish potatoes into different products including the famous potato chips.

However, the factory only worked for one day and has not worked again. Potato farmers in the district are  wondering why the factory hasn’t worked again.

Theoneste Uwanzwenuwe, the district mayor told KT Press, “there are basic equipment that were not yet shipped by the day of inauguration. Hopefully, the equipment will arrive in a couple of days.”

The Director General of the factory, Evariste Hakizimana has refuted any delay allegation. He told KT Press that since its inauguration, the plant never stopped.

“We are in a trial period; testing quality standards, acquiring packaging materials and putting in place a strong marketing team,” he promised the plant will be fully operational in the next two weeks.

The factory has a target of processing 9 tons of potatoes per day in production of fresh clean potato, chips and other potato products.

However, the factory has barely bought 2 tons of Irish potatoes from two farmers’ cooperatives, against an estimate 495 tons they would have acquired, if they had been working optimally in 20 working days per month.

“The plant is there indeed, but we don’t know yet which purpose it came to serve because none came to demand for the Irish potatoes,” says Jean Pierre Kamana, one of the farmers.

Like Kamana, other farmers in the proximity of the plant say they had never seen the products of the plant. This pushes them to say, “The plant is idle.”

The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Business Development Fund (BDF) invested Rwf 780 million in the plant equivalent to 97% majority shares.

The cooperative of Rubavu potato farmers (COIMU), have a 3% stake in the plant.

Nyabihu Potato Company is part of the ‘Uruganda Iwacu’ initiative that intends to create small and medium industries that meet the needs of citizens in a particular area, to especially promote agriculture products.

In the same context, Burera milk processing plant was launched last year.

Government’s objective is to show a strong management model, to make returns from such ventures and then pull out for the farmers to take ownership.

In several occurrences, farmers misunderstood management of agro processing plants which leads to under production.

Mount Meru Soyco, a Rwf 9 billion soya processing plant in Kayonza district failed to optimize production after farmers declined to grow soya beans because they think beans may earn them more compared to soya’s price at the plant.

A similar crisis was reported at Kinazi cassava plant in Ruhango, southern province. It was worsened by a cassava disease which destroyed cassava varieties across the country.

Nyabihu district residents on a guided tour at the potato factory

Nyabihu district residents on a guided tour at the potato factory

Source: KT Press 

Rwanda Increases Cash-for-poor from 9$ to 25$

This family lives in Kamonyi district, southern Rwanda. Its among the poorest the government is targeting with its increased cash program

This family lives in Kamonyi district, southern Rwanda. Its among the poorest the government is targeting with its increased cash program

The Rwandan government announced Thursday it was hiking money it gives to its poorest – a decision the authorities say should eventually drop further the number of the country’s most needy.

In new findings from a household income survey it has been revealed that a large number of citizens are still very poor.

In 2009, Rwanda launched Vision 2020 Umurenge Program (VUP)- a poverty eradication program. It began by a nationwide assessment of income levels of all households and placing them in categories.

However, Dr Alvera Mukabaramba the Minister of State for Community Development and Social Affairs said several households across the country contested the categories they had been placed and wanted a new survey conducted.

In 2015 a new survey was conducted and has revealed new findings which are likely to affect several policies. The categories were reduced from six to four.

According to the new survey, of the 2, 358, 488 households composed of 10, 382, 558 people, it was found that 16% of households are the poorest (first category), 29.8% (represents second category), the third category is 53.7% and the fourth category 0.5% represents the country’s wealthy households.

Minister Mukabaramba says, “People in first category need to be supported. We are going to focus on them and we expect the best by 2020.”

The government has previously been providing direct financial support to the poorest. Every month an individual in a poorest family received  Rwf 7500 ($9.6).

However, Hassan Bahame, Director General for Community Development and Social Affairs at Ministry of Local Government said under the new survey, it was found that a poorest individual would require a monthly financial support of Rwf 19,500 ($25).

Residents of Ndera sector working on a feeder road. the poor also engage in such public works and get paid

Residents of Ndera sector working on a feeder road. the poor also engage in such public works and get paid

How will the poorest get ($25)?

Bahame says although the poorest previously received direct financial support, it didn’t uplift them from poverty.

Government is considering a combination of support including; availing public works, financial support and direct support that would help the poorest raise $25 in a month.

Previously, every household could only benefit from one of the three components but under the new review, a poor household will benefit from all the three components.

“We realized that someone could be given direct support, but could not graduate from the poorest category; harmonizing the three components could draw more people from poverty,” said Bahame.

In 2006, about 60% Rwandans lived below the poverty line (under a dollar per day). By 2014 the number had declined to 44.9% and later dropped to 24% in 2015.

However, in 2009 when VUP program was introduced, selected sectors that needed immediate support received interest free start up loans, temporary jobs on public works’ sites and the direct cash to fragile residents, all under VUP.

Initially, about Rwf4 billion (roughly $10 million then) budget was used to support only 30 sectors.

In 2015 the program had expanded to cover 240 sectors with a budget of at Rwf22.5 billion ($30 million).

The World Bank donated $70 million (Rwf49 billion) to support the program to cut poverty levels below 20% by 2017 and below 10% in 2020.

An insight into the new survey

The survey found that of Rwanda’s thirty districts, seven had the largest concentration of poorest households(category one).

According to the survey, there are only 11,664 wealthy households in Rwanda representing 0.5% of total households.

Nyamasheke and Gicumbi are districts with the highest number of poorest households representing 40.7% and 25.1% respectively. Others include; Gisagara, Nyaruguru, Burera,Rutsiro and Ngororero.

Mukabaramba said her office is giving more emphasis to districts with the highest number of poorest households.

The government has increased its budget dedicated to development in the most vulnerable district.

For example, in the 2016-2017, the budget draft has dedicated Rwf 6.2 billion for development activities which include social support for Nyamasheke district.

This is twice the amount dedicated to Gasabo district with 12.2% poorest households. Gasabo will take Rwf 3.1 billion.

“On top of social support, development activities in Nyamasheke will consist of feeder roads, a cross border market and electricity that will connect all sectors,” said Bahame.

Such activities will also contribute to employment.

Rutaburingoga Jerome, Gisagara district mayor told KTPress, that poverty in his district started with a genocide government which prevented Butare residents from going to school, but now poverty levels are declining.

“In 2012, the poorest were 33%, now we declined to 21%. Not too bad,” he said.

His district benefited Rwf 2.1 billion in Rwanda environment Fund (Fonerwa) for terracing. The project is giving 10,000 jobs to the citizen in Gisagara under VUP.

Meanwhile, Rwanda’s wealthy households are concentrated in three Kigali city districts representing 2.8% while the four other provinces have between 0.2% and 0.4% wealthy households.

Nyagatare, Burera, Gakenke, Nyaruguru and Ngororero districts have no well-off households.

The household income categories are also used to determine beneficiaries for ; health insurance and scholarships.

Dr Alvera Mukabaramba the Minister of State for Community Development and Social Affairs

Dr Alvera Mukabaramba the Minister of State for Community Development and Social Affairs

Source: KTPress 

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