Rukira: Tailors advised to form a cooperative

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Rukira sector administration in Ngoma district advised up to 10 elderly men and women tailors working in Rukira market to form a cooperative for sustainable development.

This comes after women and men tailors working from Rukira market decry lack of customers, saying clients look for younger tailors who know modern designs.

One of them Sevornie Nyirahabimana, revealed that of late customers come looking for young tailors with the belief that old tailors are unaware of modern designs.

“Like in 1994 I had up to Rwf200, 000 on my account and other properties acquired from my profession. However, these days I earn so little because the young tailors get all the customers because we are old and unaware of new designs,” lamented Nyirahabimana.

Other tailors told this website that they now do building and farming alongside tailoring because they do not earn enough to cater for their families.

Mathias Ngenda, executive secretary of Rukira sector highlighted that the reason these tailors are not earning enough from their profession is because they work as individuals than working together in a cooperative and set up a tailoring workshop.

“We always advise them to form a cooperative but in vain due to fear of rent and taxes. However, we will continue to advise them because one cannot attain development while working as an individual,” said Ngenda.

This comes when the government encourages residents to form cooperatives, access bank loans and achieve fast social and economic development.

Ruhango:  Financial support pledge to Women, Girls

Up to 55 women and girls from all sectors of Ruhango District are set to receive financial support to expand their small income generating projects and help others create jobs.

Financial support pledge to Women, Girls

The beneficiaries have been selected from different sectors under “Kora Wigire” a government program that aims at creating off farm jobs and promote entrepreneurship.

The beneficiaries are those who have viable projects but lack enough capital to expand their ideas.

Kora Wigire targets to create over 2000 jobs every year. The main focus is put on youth and women who make the biggest per cent of Rwandans.

Sara Delphine Mukabadege in charge of labour in Ruhango district revealed that every beneficiary will receive Rwf100000 to help them expand their projects.

Sara Delphine Mukabadege in charge of labour in Ruhango District

Sara Delphine Mukabadege in charge of labour in Ruhango District

She added that those 55 women and girls have undergone 2days training under “kora wigire” National employment program with the aim of increasing their knowledge on managing their projects.

Training started on 14th May 2015 and participants revealed that after training, they realized that one does not require to start big in order to achieve social economic development.

Charlotte Niyonsaba, vegetable and fruit seller in Karambi trading centre in Kabagali cell confirmed that training was beneficial, adding he will share the knowledge with others who still fear to start projects.

Another beneficiary Fabien Gatete, egg seller in Ntenyo centre in Byimana sector highlighted he was ashamed of his business but training recharged him to continue and become creative for more profits.

Francois Xavier Mbabazi, mayor of Ruhango district asked participants to strive to achieve their set goals of becoming entrepreneurs that benefits the country.

Kora wigire program works alongside Hanga umurimo, Yego, Business Development Centre (BDC) and other programs that help residents get skills, create jobs or get them.

Europe Samples Rwandan Coffee at Amsterdam Festival

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

Rwandan Cooperatives Still Looking For Investor

Almost a year after President Paul Kagame promised to give a bank to members of the Rwandan Cooperatives, the process for its establishment still hangs in balance.

Members have told KTPress that the project doesn’t seem to come through.

“We thought the bank would be operational in one year since 60% of needed resources are available,” Focus Karambizi, a frustrated member of a Farmers’ Cooperative said.

Cooperatives, especially those for  farmers, are desperately looking for a financier.  For them, access to credit is very problematic.

Even for a handful that have managed to secure loans, they pay astronomical interest rate of up to 21%.

The Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA), the umbrella of all cooperatives in the country, has already placed Rwf 3 billion on the table, which is 60% of the initial capital of Rwf 5 billion ($7 million) required to set up a bank in Rwanda.

Rwandan Cooperatives Still Looking For Investor

President Kagame during a meeting with members of Rwandan cooperatives last year.

RCA in collaboration with Ministry of Trade and Industry to find an investor to take up the remaining 40% (Rwf 2 billion) stake.

Bids for a potential investor were issued late last year, but until now  there has been no prospective investor. “We have no investor to take 40% yet,” Trade Minister Francois Kanimba told KTPress.

Meanwhile Minister Kanimba is under pressure to meet the President Kagame’s deadline of June to have finalized plans to establish the bank.

“We are thinking of approaching Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) for a possible take up of these shares,” he said.

BRD is 75% owned by Atlas Mara Limited, which has announced interest to buy 45% stake in another local bank, Bank Populaire, but has not yet been engaged for stakes in the cooperative bank.

“We have not received them. They cannot express interests before the bank is established,” Emmanuel Hategeka, Permanently Secretary at MINICOM told KTPress.

With over 2.5million members from 4000 different cooperatives, Rwanda Cooperative Agency has a total investment capacity of over Rwf 150 billion ($216 million), but lacks expertise to run a bank.

Source: KTPress

Rwanda’s ICT advances in Public, private sectors

Rwanda’s ICT advances in Public, private sectors

Rwanda Information and Communication Technology Association (RICTA) is set to equip personnel from   both public and private sectors; that will ensure the country becomes the region’s ICT hub.

The training  that  will focus on the fields  of  routing/networking and Linux  system  administration, comes as a  vital  asset as the  government  and  most private  entities  are  providing their  services  online.

“As Rwanda develops her regional infrastructure, it has becomes more important to be able to build and sustain the country’s capacities for Rwanda to achieve her goal to be an ICT hub,” said

Accordingly, Industry experts will be participating in conference sessions from thought-provoking and visionary keynote presentations to interactive panel sessions, all addressing the most pressing topics.

She says, “The training  focuses  on popular and emerging ICT Industries while also  looking at   addressing  both the  current and  future  needs of  operators  in the ICT  sector adding  that, “We thought it based to equip more technicians in all sectors with informative and practical training.”

The training dubbed Rwanda Network Operators Group (RwandaNOG) mainly   features discussions and trainings on a wide range of issues of the Internet which among other things include the current and newest trends in ICT.

Moreover, the  Minister of youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana  earlier this year said  the building  of  the infrastructures  had yielded  success and  noted that  to achieve the  ambitious  target of the technology lead economy, there is need to  increase   digital literacy.

As a result, the government has moved in to sign several partnerships with international corporations such as Oracle, Microsoft to help boost digital literacy. The country’s digital literacy still staggers at 3 percent.

IMF warns on fragile economy

The International monetary fund has warned the government of Rwanda regarding overhead costs that might linger risks externally.

A statement from a recent IMF mission to Rwanda led by Paul Drummond noted that, “Rwanda’s near-term economic outlook is stable, but risks linger externally.

Growth is projected at 6.5 percent and is expected to remain broad-based. Inflation is projected to remain subdued. Risks arise mainly from the lower than expected increase in exports and adverse weather.”

The National Bank of Rwanda

The National Bank of Rwanda

The statement noted that the country has made progress in outlining the economic policy framework that would underpin growth in the near term.

In particular, the 2015/16 budget, to be presented to parliament in June, aims to sustain efforts to mobilize revenue while protecting priority spending and limiting domestic financing. On monetary policy, the National Bank of Rwanda plans to continue to pursue a prudent monetary stance.

The mission met with Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Amb. Claver Gatete, Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda John Rwangombwa, as well as with other senior government officials, development partners, and representatives of the business community and civil society.

It was advised that Rwanda needs to reduce the cost of doing business in the country if it is to maintain its most competitive status.

“The cost or structure of businesses which depends a lot on the cost of electricity and transport still seem to be high in Rwanda as compared to other countries in the region,” Drummond said.

Regional retailers struggling but still afloat 

Nakumaat Supermarket

Nakumaat Supermarket chain high hopes of quickly establishing itself in Rwanda has proved otherwise after a few years, since its institution in the country in 2011

 Adan Ramata the country manager of Nakumaat Rwanda states that, “Only a thousand shoppers visit each day, which is two-thirds short of the target.

“We still have a small challenge in the middle class,” says Mr. Ramata. Nakumatt is not the only retailer stymied by the lack of a mass consumer market.

Sulfo Rwanda Industries, the country’s oldest and biggest domestic manufacturer with 700 workers, say its efforts to introduce skincare ranges for more sophisticated consumers in the past year have flopped.

“We are limited by people who want cheap products, they face inflation and have little money,” says Hariharan Dharmarajan, managing director.

The IMF forecasts 6.5 per cent growth this year. Expected inflation of 3.5 per cent for 2015 is low and Rwanda aims to be a middle-income country by 2020. For now, rising domestic consumption is driven by government spending funded by donors on infrastructure.

With a total market of only 12m people, Rwanda is pushing the agenda for integration across the East African Community, the regional trade block.

“For us as Rwanda, we see regional integration as very, very crucial,” noted the minister of finance and economic planning recently.

“That’s why we are talking about a railway from Mombasa all the way through Uganda to here.” Rwanda is due to pay $1.2bn of the railway’s $13.8bn cost.

“We have been working on how to bring in the private sector,” says Mr. Gatete. The government wants it to fund at least a third of the Rwanda portion.

Importers and retailers in Rwanda testify that goods now arrive from port to shelf within four days, compared with more than two weeks previously. “Delays have come down now there are no formalities at the border. It has really helped us,” says Mr. Dharmarajan. “Now we feel we are linked, not landlocked. It’s a good relief.”

Despite the improvements, Rwanda still suffers a cruel squeeze on its purchasing power.

“We are talking about logistics, we are talking about insurance, we are talking about considering the damages, we are talking about the shelf life,” says Nakumatt’s Mr. Ramata.

The central bank governor John Rwangobwa notes that the country is on the right track as the economy emerges from the low growth of 2013.

“The economy is doing well since 2014 and we are going back to where we were before 2012,” he says. He points not only to improving growth but also indicators such as a reduction in non-performing loans (from a 7.2 per cent recent high in 2013 to a 2015 target of 5 per cent).

Despite its setbacks, Nakumatt, which has 300 employees at its two stores, plans to open two new outlets in the capital, including in August a 24-hour shop near the airport with a gymnasium on top of it. It aims to open its first stores outside Kigali in two years’ time.

Mr. Rwangombwa says the government is lobbying banks to bring down high lending rates, although bank loans to the private sector did rise 38 per cent last year. The key challenge, he adds, remains how to boost exports to deliver greater dollar flows

Business community calls for stronger Public-private partnerships

Business community calls for stronger Public-private partnerships

Gerard Nkusi Mukubu

The  Government  has  engaged the private sector   mainly in  policy making  and reviews as well as  development projects  that are geared towards socio-economic  development, but  sector players  say needs to  increased.

More efforts to  strengthen  the   public- private   partnership-PPP dialogue is vital towards   providing  ability to the private sector to push the  economy to middle income, a country’s ambitious  target by 2020.

Experts  believe that    by  the government engaging  the private   sector  in a dialogue  would help  address  the challenges the  latter  is facing that  would otherwise hamper its  efforts  to  drive the  economy.

“The public-private dialogue has been ongoing and has produced substantive results that have supported the business operations but we need to do it at all levels,” said Gerard Nkusi Mukubu, acting chief executive officer of private Sector Federation.

Mukubu  is optimistic that   by  engaging the private sector  at  all  planning levels  mainly in   drafting and enacting policies and regulations that affect the  business operations   would  bolster  the sector  production.

The private Sector federation-PSF is an umbrella organization that advocates for the private sector.

Accordingly, the dialogue is  seen as an  opportunity  to   proactively  engage the   private sector   in  government’s  agenda   for  national growth as enshrined  in  the country’s  vision 2020.

“Private sector activities straddle almost all sectors of the economy; what we are trying to find out is what you intend to focus on in the coming fiscal year and how the government can facilitate,”Amb. Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance said earlier.

The business community, under their umbrella body, Private Sector Federation (PSF), urged the government to always engage them at every level when drafting and enacting policies and regulations that affect business operations. “The government should also build the capacity of trade support institutions and business associations,” they said.

The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Claver Gatete said the dialogue identified areas where to further strengthen   the   dialogue.

The Minster says that the  government has identified several investment opportunities that the  private sector  could  take over or  partner  with  the  government  in executing  development projects.

Cooperatives struggling to stay afloat

Since the launch of the Second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS 2) as a home stretch of vision 2020, the government of Rwanda has promoted the formation of co-operatives as a way uplifting the masses out of poverty.

 

BRD management and Adorwa cooperative during the launch of multi- million complex in question

BRD management and Adorwa cooperative during the launch of multi- million complex in question

 

But all has not be grossy for some cooperatives as many are struggling to stay afloat with some succumbing their property to banks after failure to repay loans.

One of the affected cooperatives is Adarwa cooperative that is made up of former carpenters in the Gisozi area of Kigali.

Mathias Dukunzuwaturemye, the managing director of Adarwa cooperative noted that the members have been heavily affected as they are set to lose all their investments and savings to one of their lenders.

“We acquired a loan to set up a multi- million complex that we expected to attract a lot of clients but as of now only 32 of the 300 available spaces have been taken,” he states.

“We asked the bank to give us more time but they seem reluctant and only government intervention can save us,” he further adds.

When contacted the bank in question, the development bank of Rwanda (BRD), declined to comment on the issue saying they are waiting for legal counsel.

ICT vital in boosting trade growth – Minister Kanimba

ICT vital in boosting trade growth - Minister Kanimba

Francois Kanimba

Rwanda Minister for Trade and Industry Francois Kanimba has said, application of technology is likely to bolster the country’s trade growth thus enabling the economy transform to middle income by 2020.

Through easing doing businesses through cutting down costs, red tape procedures, as well as reduction in time wastage, Kanimba believes that more businesses would rise  which will thus   facilitate  trade growth.

“Access to capital for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), for instance, has increased through a common credit tracking system,” Minister Kanimba noted

The government embarked on strengthening technology to help boost its use as result speed up processes and make them more transparent, something seen to bolster the buoyant economy that grew.

Some reforms, the Minister says that have already been put in place andwould register positive impact towards trade growth include on line business registration that helps  one to register business in  only  six hours.

Moreover, the recent  move  by Rwanda Revenue Authority-RRA  to  help  SMEs  to  pay  taxes  using their mobile phones is another step to  boost  trade.

Land registration has also been computerized and linked with the business registration, which has been useful for businesses when they apply for loans, The Minister noted

Through this, the  government looks  at  easing  doing business to attract more investors while also  boosting the Small and Medium Enterprises-SMEs  to help in  job creation as well as  reducing  imported products  and  increasing export base.

The country is currently struggling to   close the widening trade deficit   that stands at 7.5 percentages.

There is optimism, experts say that the application of technology by businesses, efforts to boost export base would help the country to balance its   trade receipts.

“By Large, when businesses adopt technology which is of course at their level in terms of capacity, it is promoting efficiency and profitability,” said  Davis Mukiza, a business Consultant.

Moreover, with the application of   technology, experts assert that challenges such as lack of access to   market information, transaction costs, and lack of skills would be addressed to pave way for trade growth.

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