Cooperatives looked at to bolster equality 

 Francois Kanimba, Minister of Trade and Industry

Francois Kanimba, Minister of Trade and Industry

There is optimism that cooperatives are the best engine to drive equality among Rwandans and thus push for improved livelihoods.

Francois Kanimba, minister of trade and industry says that cooperatives are key in ensuring that equality among Rwandans where the gap between those who have and those who don’t have is closed.

“Today, I would like to remind Rwandans that working together in cooperatives is the best way of promoting national growth,” he said.

Damien Mugabo, director general at Rwanda Cooperative Agency-RCA says that cooperatives play a key role in transforming people’s lives, something that is vital in boosting the country’s economy.

“We have seen people’s lives changing for better when they join cooperatives,” said Mugabo adding that cooperatives have the power to help communities to develop thus achieve economic development.

The cooperatives are part of the government initiatives to help people mainly the rural folks to   lift themselves out of poverty, access credit and share knowledge mainly in farming and business.

Mugabo says that through cooperatives financial institutions have been able to change credit to   members while on the other hand the cooperatives have helped to streamline production within the agriculture sector.

For example,  recently the ministry of trade in a bid to curb price fluctuation within the value chain of different  commodities, used cooperatives to ensure that famers have control over the value chain in price determination.

“This is why we are encouraging those who haven to yet joined to join,” Mugabo stressed as the country marked the international day of cooperatives that ran with the theme ‘choose cooperatives, choose equality’.

Nevertheless, most people are uncertain to join cooperatives saying that cooperatives leaders are untrustworthy which makes members lose their money.

But earlier, Rwanda cooperative agency moved in to help cooperatives have managerial skills, organization planning as well as equipping some of these cooperatives which are profit oriented with technology such as computers.

Meet Nsengimana, the creative phone charger in Nyaruguru

Meet Paul. Claude Nsengimana, 24 is a tall black man a phone charger smartphone charger who has made

It sounds like an odd job but charging peoples phones is a source of income and can lead one to sustainable development.

This is a true with Claude Nsengimana, 24, a resident of Kabere centre in Kabere cell, Nyabimata sector of Nyaruguru district who said he earns Rwf15000 a month from charging phones.

Nsengimana combines charging phones with showing films on his small flat screen TV which have led to his social development.

“After dropping out of school, I decided to buy a solar panel and be creative with it. That is how I started charging phones and showing films in Kabere Centre,” he explained.

Nsengimana added that an idea struck him after realizing there was no electricity in Kabere yet cell phone owners could move long distances to charge their phones.

“I thought that in a place without electricity, one can make money if solar system is used,” he said.

Nsengimana asserted that charging phones and showing films have improved his life, saying he is capable of providing for his basic needs.

“I plan to build a house. I will not get a bank loan because my job is enough to support the project,” revealed Nsengimana.

One of his customers, Pierre Nzirasanaho said that Nsengimana saved them from walking long distances to access electricity.

“He is of great help to us because we used to walk to Rweru for 40 minutes to charge. But now you come with Rwf100 and go back home with a fully charged phone,” said Nzirasanaho.

Apart from showing them films for entertainment purposes, Nsengimana allows residents to watch news on his TV set.

Logistics infrastructure key in boosting economic growth

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Building a robust and strong logistics infrastructure will continue to facilitate Rwanda’s economic growth, Experts have revealed.

Charles Brewer, managing director of DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa believes that infrastructure development will attract big investors while reducing cost of doing business thus igniting economic growth.

“Government and the private sector therefore need to work together to create a sustainable and inclusive environment, and work on solutions to make it easier to conduct business and for the business environment to flourish,” he noted

Also, tackling the infrastructure through regional trade agreements for example, the East African community, Brewer says will help remove bottlenecks to trade and thus boost growth significantly.

“Africa needs to remove the obstacles which hinder the ease of doing business and continually investigate new trade agreements in the region,” the expert advised.

Moreover,  to harness this; the government has taken keen interest in developing the logistics sector, one of the efforts  that projects optimism for the country who  growth now stands In the first five months of 2015.

To facilitate logistics sector, François Kanimba Minister of Trade and industry says the government has embarked on key infrastructure projects that are likely to boost investments and ease trade within the country.

He also noted that development of the dry port, logistics hubs at ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam, bonded warehouses on borders as well as regional trade zone to facilitate trade and reduce costs.

“We are confident that these (facilities) will reduce operational costs as well facilitating a quick turn-around,” the Minister earlier said.

Also, the faster growth of technology is paving a way for strong logistics and ease of trade, which experts believe is a another major factor Africa mainly Rwanda should look at seriously.

The technology sector is a highly dynamic industry and the pace of change is rapid,” said Rob Siegers, President, Global Technology Sector, DHL adding that   the new trends in technology such as the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing and others are changing  doing business.

He adds, “While growth is slowing in some of the traditional markets, emerging nations are gaining importance for technology companies, and Africa is of particular interest to many of our customers.”

Microfinance sector’s bad loans reach 7.7 percent

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Non-performing loans have continued an upward trend with 7.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015 up from 6.8 percent in December 2014 despite the sector’s projection of a positive outlook.

According to the Central Bank,  Microfinance sector that include microfinance institutions and Savings and Credit cooperative-SACCOs saw its non-performing loans which are attributed to poor loaning systems continued to grow.

“Although it is not alarmingly high, the Central Bank target to reduce this to rate below 5 percent,” said John Rwangombwa, Governor of the Central Bank.

The recent survey by Restrad Consultancy Ltd indicates that the sector is yet to recover over Rwf 10 billion in bad loans which according to the survey accounts for 7.6 percent of the Rwf 150 billion in savings.

The increase in bad loans is attributed to lack of skills in loan management and assessment as well as management   of the sector which lacks professionals to carry out day to day running of the institutions.

Peter Rwema, executive secretary of association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda-AMIR says that the said bad loans accrue from small loans and credit extended to groups for health insurance, which he said will require Institutions to increase loan recovery.

“We are requesting microfinance institutions to put more effort to recover these loans,” hesaid adding that such   loans may affect the profit margins of the sector.

Earlier this year, the association conducted a survey to assert in the cause of increasing bad loans that have been identified as a threat to the sector, looked at to boost rural financial inclusion, and the survey called for capacity building of Institutions management mainly loan officers.

But there is optimism as central bank says the sector’s liquidity is still positive with its solvency ratio (the ratio of capital to total risk weighted assets stood at 33.4 percent by March 2015.

Whilst the sector’s return on Assets-ROA stood at 0.2 percent by March 2015 from 0.1 percent in the same period under review and Return on Equity-ROE stood at 0.6 percent from 0.4 percent in March 2014.

The Central Bank says it will continue to improve its monitoring approach of both external and internal threats to the system’s stability and subsequently take proactive measures where necessary.

Ruhango: Banks urged to finance SMEs

Epimaque Twagirimana, the Ruhango vice mayor for finance and economic development on Thursday advised banks to extend loans to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

Ruhango: Banks urged to finance SMEs

Epimaque Twagirimana

He lamented that despite significant contribution of SME sector in the country’s GDP, the sector is not getting its due share of financing from the banking system.

Twagirimana said that banks should to support the government initiative of providing youth with opportunities of financial independence through self-employment

Nyaruguru: RRA urges cooperatives to pay taxes

Ernest Karasira, the in- charge of training in Rwanda revenue authority has urged representatives of cooperatives and small scale business owners operating in Nyaruguru district to always honour their tax obligations.

It is time for Rwandans to realise that paying taxes is a duty of every citizen. No one should push you around to pay taxes. It is a bad attitude that should not be given room in this country,” he said.

Nyaruguru: RRA urges cooperatives to pay taxes

He encouraged the participants to embrace the culture of paying their taxes on time to avoid penalties.

SMEs tipped on marketing as need for sector growth lingers

SMEs tipped on marketing as need for sector growth lingers

Most Small and Medium Enterprises- SMEs thriveinto making better products and services but lack of marketing strategies pull them towards a deficit business, experts have explained.

This comes at the time the government is looking at ways it can help the sub sector that is pushed back by several challengesthus hamperingits expected boost to the privatesector seenas an engine of growth.

Experts say that most of the SMEs succeed in injecting capital for startup and later develop better products, but the challenge remains the ability to market the products and services.

“Marketing is key to business growth and plays a key role in increasing your competitiveness,” said AkliluMulat from Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.

Mulat notes that when entrepreneurs believe in what they are doing and are able to give their business enough time, business prosperity can be realized.

The country SMEs comprise of over 98 percent of the   private sectorbusinesses but most of them are stuck in infancy stage due to lack of businessplanning as well as marketing and management strategies.

Francois Kanimba, Minister of trade and industry believes that   equipping   SMEs with skills   in relevant areas   would help grow the sector.

“I think when we continue to equip these SMEs with skills and they put them in practice, it will improve their performance as well as profitability,” he noted.

According to central bank statistics, outstanding credit to privatesector grew by 25.3 percent year on year in May 2015 from 15.8 percent in the same period under review in 2014.

Nyabihu:Stone miners commended over improving livelihoods

Nyabihu:Stone miners commended over improving livelihoods 

Some stone miners in Nyabihu district revealed that stone mining improved their livelihoods, calling upon other residents to create jobs for sustainable development.

Talking to this website, Pierre Célestin Barajiginywa, 53and Aminadab Bizuru, 65 highlighted that 30 years of stone mining has seen them off to social development.

“I purchased land worth Rwf300, 000 and built a house worth Rwf600, 000 all from stone mining”Baragijinywa said.

Another colleague Bizuru added “in 30 years, I achieved a lot including livestock in addition to taking care of my wife and seven children. I earn between Rwf40000 and 50,000 every month.”

Nyabihu:Stone miners commended over improving livelihoods

Barajiginywa advises residents to create jobs for sustainable development

Barajiginywa asserted: “An odd job is the one that doesn’t pay the worker. I urge all residents to value work because every job can lead to social development.”

Nyabihu:Stone miners commended over improving livelihoods

Pierre Célestin Barajiginywa and AminadabBizuru said every job leads to sustainable development when done with commitment

The government of Rwanda encourages residents to embrace job creation because it’s a key to self-reliance and sustainable development.

 

Tigo announces accelerator program

SMEs told to build   reputable platforms

Tigo Rwanda’s startup accelerator, Think has announced its three-month incubation program, think Accelerated.

The program is designed to be a fast-tracked in three-month incubation program as against its usual six month acceleration program. But both programmes will run concurrently.

Disrupt Africa reports that four startups have already been selected for the program.

“Think Accelerated enables us to attract a wider range of entrepreneurs and tech startups who will benefit from a fast-track incubator offering, keeping Africa at the forefront of innovation,” says Think’s investment manager, Paul Soko.

The four startups selected for the inaugural Think Accelerated program include Asuqu from Nigeria; a marketplace for startups in the service industry, Esaja from Zimbabwe; a business to business marketplace, Safe Motos from Rwanda; a Uber for African motorbikes and Team Tigo from Rwanda; comprising Tigo Rwanda staff who are tasked with developing digital solutions across Tigo platforms.

Participating startups will receive funding, startup specific training curriculum, Tigo resources and opportunity to interact with global tech mentors.

The accelerator program will begin next month, July 2015

Southern Province: Vocational skills improving livelihoods

Southern Province: Vocational skills improving livelihoods

Celestin Habyarimana, the in-charge of TVET in Southern Province revealed that vocational skills improved the livelihoods of many after residents embraced it unlike before.

This is because a great number of Rwandans are enrolling in vocational training centres unlike before when they were thought of as for people that dropped from school, said Habyarimana.

“Like the old saying that a builder’s child misses lunch but eats supper, it’s different now days because this profession enables one to provide three meals a day to his family.” Celestin Habyarimana said

As a way to promote vocational skills, over 87 technical schools have been set up in Southern province and the campaign to increase them is still ongoing.

Habyarimana added that vocational skills graduates no longer become jobless because they create jobs immediately after graduating and support their families financially.

Technical and vocational skills are essential for any country to achieve sustainable development. Vocational skills help people especially youth and disadvantaged residents to get a sustainable source of income to cater for their families.

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