Rwanda’s First Lady Inspires Girls into ICT Innovation

First Lady Jeannette Kagame with MsGeek 2016 finalists

First Lady Jeannette Kagame with MsGeek 2016 finalists

A Rwandan innovative business student has been crowned Ms Geek 2016 after her automated irrigation project was selected as the best among five finalists.

Rosine Mwiseneza 21, a second year student of Business Management at Kepler University had always wanted to create a solution to irrigation challenges among farmers.

She designed a system that automatically switches on and off an irrigation facility without farmers having to manually operate it.

The automated system consists of censors that first detect dryness or wetness of the ground.

For example if the ground is dry, the censors will send a signal to the system which automatically switches on the irrigation facility. Once there is enough water in the ground, the censors will trigger the irrigation to switch off.

The project won a Rwf2million prize in a tight competition involving five girls who had highly innovative projects among thousands.

“I am so happy that my project won, I have started getting contacts from different people who are approaching me and willing to work with me. I hope this project reaches far and meets many Rwandans, ” she said after winning.

Mwiseneza told KTPress that she expects to work on this project so that it benefits a large population since many Rwandans are engaged in agriculture.

All the final participants were awarded electronic gadgets including laptops and smartphones and the top three won cash prizes.

The First Lady Jeannette Kagame who was the guest of honor at the event said, “It’s truly admirable to see increasing platforms like these being put up by girls in ICT.”

“It’s a great pleasure to be here celebrating the achievements of ladies in ICT who are looking for solutions to problems facing our society in Agriculture, health, unemployment and many more”, she said.

The first runner-up was Samantha Manywa Pauline,  awarded a cash prize of Rwf1million including a Samsung tablet and a smartphone. Her project, ‘Hello Job’ is an innovation that seeks to decrease unemployment.

Lisa Ikirezi was the 2nd Runner-up winning a cash prize worth Rwf 500,000 and same gadgets.

The people’s Choice Award was taken by Ange Uwambajimana for her innovation of automated monitoring of IV-drips on patients.

In her innovation, a censor is placed at the drip and will send a message to the doctor’s phone to signal that the patient needs another drip.

Uwambajimana is a second level student at Tumba college electronics and telecommunications.

Ms Geek2016 encourages other young girls to believe in themselves and always fight to achieve their dreams.

Ms Geek competition is founded by Girls in ICT, an initiative that encourages young girls and women to pursue careers in the field of science, technology, and mathematics (STEM).

Lucy Mbabazi, the President of Girls in ICT told KTPress it has been a rough journey to have Ms Geek, however the seeds sowed are yielding positive results.

Rosine Mwiseneza crowned Ms Geek 2016, her Irrigation project was the best innovation

Rosine Mwiseneza crowned Ms Geek 2016, her Irrigation project was the best innovation

Mwiseneza presenting her automated irrigation  system

Mwiseneza presenting her automated irrigation system

Miss Rwanda also graced the event

Miss Rwanda also graced the event

The event was highly attended

The event was highly attended

More girls are increasingly embracing technology

More girls are increasingly embracing technology

Ms Geek 2016

Ms Geek 2016



Rwandans urged to adapt to new container export measures

m_Rwandans urged to adapt to new container export measures

The Rwanda exporter’s community has been encouraged to adapt to the new container export measures that have been set up by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to reduce dangers of maritime accidents.

The call was made by Emmanuel Butera, the Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory (RURA) official this April 26 during a consultative workshop on approved changes to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention which will see the use of Verified Gross Mass (VGM) instead of declaring Gross mass for containers.

The guidelines implemented by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) will require Rwanda to meet the 1st July 2016 deadline of abiding by the new VGM regulations.

“The new developments are good for Rwanda and we should be able to meet the deadline. We have everything it takes and this will need everyone to come on board to achieve this deadline” Butera said.

Butera said Rwandan exports will be safe and in good hands thus creating a sense of good trade relations with countries where Rwandans send and import goods.

Alfred K. Jaka, the Shift Manager at KPA Conventional Cargo department says the KPA authorities have had to make enforce the new regulations to reduce on fraud activities where over weigh containers are wrongly declared thus causing maritime accidents.

“We have had some experiences of misdeclaration and this is why we are moving towards changing these practices. Every container will have to be verified in order to be exported” Jaka said.

Jaka also added that every country will have to build a recommended weigh bridge that complies with the International Maritime Authority’s (IMO) safety standards and this will ease the process of verifying the containers before entering the Mombasa port in Kenya.

Most Rwandan exporters use the Mombasa port to export agricultural produce and minerals to Asia and Europe and despite the mishaps of thefts at the port, KPA authorities guaranteed improved services in future.

Cimerwa Chocking On Competition Despite Injecting Millions

Rwanda cement in new packaging.

Rwanda cement in new packaging.

Rwanda continues to become a regional hotspot for cement producers despite Cimerwa, the local cement producer, having injected $140 million six months ago to meet local demand and generate surplus for export.

On August 17, the Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi officially launched the new $140 million Cimerwa plant in Rusizi, western Rwanda, which was expected to increase the firm’s production capacity from 100,000 to 600,000 metric tons per year.

Cement imports are only increasing, as regional cement giants aggressively penetrate the growing Rwandan market.

Yet, exports of Cimerwa decreased from 351.4% in volume in 2014 to 143.9% in 2015 and dropped from 457.3% in value to 71.3% respectively.

Cimerwa CEO, Busi Legodi told KTPress the firm is “still on the ramp up stage” of the expansion process.

“We are currently growing our markets where we could not reach before,” Legodi said.

The $250 million plant, largely controlled by South Africa’s Pretoria Portland Cement Company (PPC Cement), is still producing at 65% capacity, making the firm only cater for 40% of the market.

“We plan to work our way up to help to fill the growing demand,” Legodi said.

However, the February 2016 central bank’s monetary statement blames Burundi and DRC decreased import of cement, which has dramatically affected Cimerwa’s export volumes and values.

Meanwhile, Cement supply in Rwanda is estimated to be between 400,000 and 600,000 metric tons per year, largely catered for (60%) by Uganda’s Hima Cement and Tanzania’s Kirimanjaro Cement.

Even though Cimerwa is not biting large on the booming construction industry both locally and internationally, CEO Legodi says the cement sector is “Exciting and encouraging, especially with the growth of cement demand in Eastern Africa.”

Exciting or not, until the firm takes full control of the local market first, with increased production, hopes of taking advantage of the boom remains in the talk.

New plant

New plant


Has Water Corporation Finally Solved Kigali Water Puzzle ?

Residents queue to fetch water at a public tap

Residents queue to fetch water at a public tap

Rwanda’s water corporation has announced that in the next eight months, Kigali will have enough clean water.

Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) has promised that by December 2016 there will be no more water shortage for good.

“We have a plan to offset the total water demand for Kigali by December 2016,” James Sano, WASAC Chief Executive Officer told KTPress earlier today.

Kigali needs about 110,000m3 per day, yet supply increased to only 90,000m3, from 65,000m3 in the last two weeks.

The apparent increase resulted from the upgrade to 25,000 m3 of Nzove II water treatment plant in Nyarugenge district.

However, there is still a gap of 20,000m3. The gap is costing heavily on city dwellers, especially maids and school children who spend nights awake waiting to be the first to fetch water at public water kiosks.

Sano said the upgrade of Nzove II by Culligan, an American firm, will continue to reach 40,000m3 by December, while Nzove I will also be optimized to produce 40,000m3.

The two phases that are meant to cost Rwf 5billion will bring total water coverage to 120,000m3, which will allow Kigali have required water ratio.

Ideally, every city dweller should consume 100 litres per day, but Kigali residents are still relying on 40  litres.

With Nzove upgrade, some neighborhoods that had accepted water scarcity as a norm, are now optimistic there will be no more water shortages.

“We used to get water twice in a week (Monday and Friday) but a couple of days ago, we were surprised to have water throughout the week. It seems God has remembered us,” said Emmanuel Hitiyaremye, a resident of Nyakabanda sector in Niboye sector-Kicukiro.

In our previous story, WSAC had indicated that some infrastructure can suffer rationing, but others are meant to never have a dry tap, not even for a second.

“You cannot afford to stop water flow at a hospital. If a disease starts from a hospital, consequences would be disastrous and WSAC would be liable,” said Methode Mutagungira, Director of Water and Sanitation Services at WASAC.

In 2013, the water loss increased to 42.38% of the total volume of water produced and distributed, according to auditor general’s report.

Rwanda will join the rest of the world to celebrate the World Water Day tomorrow. This year’s theme is ‘Water and Jobs’.

Last week Vincent Biruta, Minister of Natural Resources said that, “We will highlight how water and jobs interact to transform people’s lives.”

45 Year-Old Man In Southern Rwanda Goes Back To Primary School

Etienne Ngango, 45 year old peasant of Ruhango sector in Ruhango district, did not have the chance to go to college, but he swore never to die an illiterate man.

The married carpenter with two children, Ngango told his family he would only feel a proud father if he went back to school.  He only completed primary school, back in 1994.

To kick-start his brain and learn basic language, especially English, which he is desperate to learn,  a nearby primary school admitted him in primary four.

His neighbuors and friends ridiculed him.

The father of two shares a seat in class with pupils younger than his own children

The father of two shares a seat in class with pupils younger than his own children

“I realized I can never reach my goals without speaking English language among other things with the rate at which the world is going on. I am sure I will be a professional carpenter,” says Ngango with confidence.

Ngango is said to be more attentive in class

Ngango is said to be more attentive in class

Ngango finds that with English, he will be able to learn more about the world.

“I have been discouraged many times for getting off work and going to school especially because of my age, but I find no shame in going after my dream,” he proudly says.

Teachers say Ngango is an exemplary pupil

Teachers say Ngango is an exemplary pupil

Jean Bosco Shikama, the Deputy Headmaster for Academics at Muyange Primary School in Ruhango sector where Ngango goes to school, says the school has never had a pupil of this age or even close.

Yet, Shikama says, “He [Ngango ] is one of the outstanding and exemplary pupils we have at this school, we are proud he chose to come to our school.”

Ngango says he is not ashamed being in class with children younger than his own children

Ngango says he is not ashamed being in class with children younger than his own children

Rose Uwimbabazi, Ngango’s class teacher, says he is always surprising the class with his courage and the zeal to learn more. He does all his homework on time and he is respectful and attentive to his teachers.

Seeing him in a school uniform, mixing and interacting with his classmates, is a lifetime experience one might not want to miss.

Notably though, as one wise man, Benjamin Franklin, once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Ngango has just shot too high above the targets of his peers.

For Ngango, instead of regretting everyone should reach out and work on their dreams

For Ngango, instead of regretting everyone should reach out and work on their dreams

Ngango who is married with 2 children lives in a rented house for Rwf15000 per month in Ruhango district and his family lives in Ngoma district.

Original story written by Eric Muvara of KigaliToday

Source: KTPress 

Rwanda’s Only District With Muddy Roads Gets First Tarmac

The new road will serve a population of over 350,000 largely agricultural and tourism destination/ photo by Cisse Mbarushimana

The new road will serve a population of over 350,000 largely agricultural and tourism destination/ photo by Cisse Mbarushimana

Residents of Rutsiro District in Western Rwanda began jubilating earlier this week when construction works  of a 70km tarmac road kicked off.

Of all the thirty districts in the country, only Rutsiro lacked a paved road. The roads in the district are marrum, they turn muddy in rainy season and dusty in the dry season.

“The previous government had discriminated against our region. The new road will improve trade between our district and neighbouring DR Congo,” says Emmanuel Barigira, a resident of Kivumu sector of Rutsiro District.

The government has contracted Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Co, ltd, a Chinese construction company to build the 70 kilometer Karongi-Rutsiro-Rubavu road within 26 months.

Construction of the $50 million road has already started, but company managers toldKTPress, the budget is under review and may be increased by expropriation costs.

Like many parts of the country, Rutsiro is largely a hilly farming area and offers various touristic attractions.

“We are home to the best coffee of the country, the Kinunu coffee, but we have been challenged by lack of roads to transport our produce,” Innocent Gakuru, Vice Mayor for Economic Affairs in Rutsiro District told KTPress.

Rutsiro also has vast eucalyptus forests, it is a stock of charcoal and timber that serve Kigali, Rubavu and Musanze cities throughout the year.

Importantly, Rutsiro stretches on the shore of the most touristic Lake Kivu, but no venture has yet been attracted hospitality investors.

Gakuru believes, “hoteliers will follow this road.”

The road connects several public institutions including sector offices, schools and health centers.

Rwanda Transport Development Authority(RTDA) says the country has 25 roads totaling 2743.835 kilometers classified as national; and 56% (1,537.984 kilometers) are not yet paved.

Source: KTPress 

President Paul Kagame addressing the audience at the 13th National Leadership Retreat in Gabiro

President Paul Kagame addressing the audience at the 13th National Leadership Retreat in Gabiro

The government has announced it will achieve all goals underlined in its Vision 2020 laid 16 years ago.

Stella Ford Mugabo, the Minister in charge of Cabinet affairs told media that 72% of the national vision 2020 objectives has been attained.

“We found out that this was the time to discuss what we have achieved, but also look at how to fast track targets that are trialing,” she said while briefing the Media on the resolutions during the just concluded 13th National Leaders Retreat.

The retreat chaired by President Paul Kagame was held under the theme ‘Striving to promote products made in Rwanda’.

Minister Mugabo said the retreat discussed four key issues; strategies to fast-track the programs under the vision 2020, the Second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy-EDPRS 2, and the government’s seven year program ending next year.

Others included revamping the manufacturing sector in order to increase ‘Made-in-Rwanda’ products, public accountability and ethics as well as guaranteeing rights of children and promoting social welfare.

EDPRS2, which is expected to close by 2018, has so far scored 76% of the targets while the government’s seven year program ending with the president’s term in 2017 has also scored 75%.

Uzziel Ndagijimana, State Minister of Finance and Economic Planning said the government is preparing the 2016/2017 fiscal year budget.

In the budget, the targets that have not been addressed will be catered for. “We agreed during the retreat to put extra effort using the current systems to ensure that we achieve these targets,” Minister Ndagijimana said.

Targets still lagging behind include; electricity, both generation and accessibility, creation of secondary cities, increasing agriculture productivity, export promotion all of which are key ingredients for the country’s economic growth.


Abanyamuryango ba KOREMU bamurikiwe imodoka biguriye

Abanyamuryango ba koperative KOREMU ihinga ibigori mu Murenge wa Murama Akarere ka Ngoma bamurikiwe imodoka biguriye  ngo ijye ibafasha gukusanya umusaruro wabo.


Abanyamuryango bagaragaje ko koperative yabo ikomeje kugira ubuyobozi bwiza bagera kure hashoboka

Iyi modoka bayimurikiwe mu nama rusange y’abanyamuryango yabaye kuri uyu wa15 Werurwe 2016, nyuma y’amezi atatu iyi modoka iguzwe.

Ni imodoka yo mu bwoko bwa FUFSO,yaguzwe  miliyoni 30, ngo yinjiririze koperative amafaranga kandi inafashe abanyamuryango gukusanya umusaruro bawuzana mu buhunikiro mugihe bategereje kugurisha kugiciro kiza.

Bazirabunguka Jean Pierre perezida w’iyi koperative yagize ati”Iyi modoka twayiguze mu nguzanyo ya banki. Mu mezi atatu tuyimaranye ibasha kwinjiza atari hasi ya miliyoni imwe n’ibihumbi 200Frs buri kwezi.Urumva ko mu bihumbi birenga gato kuri 800 Frs twishyura buri kwezi banki,tubasha no gusagura inyungu.”


Benshi mu banyamuryango bavuga ko kuba muri koperative byatumye ubuhinzi bwabo butanga umusaruro mwinshi kuko bigishijwe guhinga kijyambere

Tuyitezeho byinshi nk’abahinzi kandi ibikorwa ni byinshi icyo tushyize imbere ni ugutera imbere hamwe nka koperative.

Ubwo bayerekaga banyamuryango ba KOREMU,bishimiye icyo gikorwa maze batangaza ko babikesha imiyoborere myiza ya koperative ibaganisha ku iterambere.

Bendantunguka umwe mu banyamuryango ba KOREMU yatangaje ko kuba bageze aho bigurira imodoka ari ikimenyetso cyuko koperative yabo itera imbere vuba.

Yagize ati”Mu myaka itatu koperative yacu imaze,kuba tubasha kwigurira imodoka ya miliyoni 30,rwose tuzagera kure.Tumaze kubona ko koperative zisenyuka kubera ubuyobozi bubi.Nanjye nagiye muri koperative ntakizere mfite kuko inyinshi zasenyukaga,ariko iyi yo ni nziza pe.”

Ubuyobozi  bw’uyu murenge wa Murama bugira inama iyi koperative gucunga neza ibyo bamaze kugeraho,kugirango ejo batazabishaniramo bigatuma intambwe bagezeho isubira inyuma.

Buhiga Josue,umunyamabanga Nshingwabikorwa w’Umurenge wa Murama ahakorera iyi koperative,

Yagize ati”Burya koperative zose zisenyuka biba byaturutse k’ubuyobozi bubi bwazo,cyangwa se abayobozi bazireberera muri leta bazitererana.Iyi modoka muyicunge neza ntigakoreshwe  mubikorwa bidafitiye inyungu koperative yose.Murinde ibyagezweho muzagera kure.”

Inguzanyo yiyi modoka bayihawe n’Urwego Opportinity bank,bakazayishyura mu myaka itanu,bishyura asaga ibihumbi 800 buri kwezi.

KOREMU kugera ubu ifite abanyamuryango 350,yatangiye gukora mu 2011 ihinga ibigori ku buso bwa hegitari zisaga 400.

100s and still counting, but can Tech Startups survive in Rwanda

Through Mergims app, one can tap on phone to pay for utilities in Rwanda/photo by Roger Rutindukanamurego

Through Mergims app, one can tap on phone to pay for utilities in Rwanda/photo by Roger Rutindukanamurego

In 2013, Rwanda’s Auditor General released a report indicating that the country had lost Rwf10.5 billion on non-billed water.

This loss represented 42.38% of the total volume of water produced and distributed in 2013 alone.

The loss was so high that the auditor general had no better way to describe it. He simply gave it a nick-name: “Inadequate Accountability For Revenue.”

This gross mismanagement of a national utility, gave two fresh graduates from Tumba College of Technology sleepless nights.

Two years ago, AlistideNdayisaba 24, a graduate of mathematics and physics told his colleague Imani Bora 21, a graduate in Computer engineering that he had an idea on how to solve the “water billing headache”.

In a late night talk, while sitting on Ndayisaba’s bed, the two contemplated about an idea of designing an electronic billing system that would put to an end the loss of billions of francs.

They turned to their computers and embarked on intensive coding after coding for a period of six months. They deprived themselves of sleep.

Friends and relatives got so exhausted from the nagging boys looking for money to buy chips and microprocessors.

After eight months of testing, a complete functioning device was showcased to fellow students and family. Everyone was excited.

However, that is all the two graduates could do. They now need a potential investor or a partner to push their invention to another level.

Bora told KT Press that they are engaging the Water and Sanitation Corporation Ltd (WASAC).

Youth brainstorm at Rwanda’s KLab

Youth brainstorm at Rwanda’s KLab

Investors Could Risk On Startups

In October, 2015, Investors at the Transform Africa summit in Kigali were attracted to new innovations showcased by young ICT entrepreneurs.

Two Rwandan college students; Patrick Umuhire and Umuhoza Cedrick exhibited Vuga Pay, an application that facilitates cross border and cross network Mobile Money Transfer.

The two innovators were seeking $20,000. They ended up accepting offers from two investors including Tigo telecom which offered to play an advisory role.

Tigo representative at the summit told the innovators that, “you managed to bypass our system.”

There are many more others.

Bora and Ndayisaba’s electronic water billing system is among thousands of up-and-coming innovations in Rwanda. Many are growing fast and generating income.

MERGIMS, a platform that enables anyone to pay for water, electricity, tuition fees, is spreading across African markets.

There is SafeMotos app that links passengers to motor taxis. Customers click and get picked up from any location. This app is now expanding to other African countries too.

Torque Ltd, has a distribution management application. Currently, one of the users of the application is BRALIRWA, Rwanda’s leading beer and beverage factory.

Another application making rounds helps children with hearing impairment. There is also a-3 D simulated animation program which works as a practical substitute to signs lessons, also intended to hearing impaired children.

These innovations have attracted investors and it’s a matter of time they roll out to other countries.

According to Rwanda Private Sector Federation and the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research, startups fail because they lack access to financing. Some of them are not ideal for the market, others lack a business model and owners lack business management skills.

K-Lab, a government funded open space incubation center for IT entrepreneurs, produces more than 250 projects annually. In 2015, however, only 10 of them attracted funding.

Pacifique Hallelua, the Manager of k-Lab explains that some startups fail to secure funding because investors don’t trust them with their money. “They don’t trust them, they don’t believe in them.”

Hallellua explains that there are instances where owners of these startups have to find someone to represent them whenever they have to pitch their business proposals to potential financiers.

On January 27, K-Lab invited Tony Nsanganira State Minister for Agriculture to interact with young entrepreneurs and inspire them on innovation and the existing opportunities in agriculture sector.

“Don’t look for a quick kill,” he said. “Successful people don’t expect money right away…it is done through hard work, paying attention to detail and not giving up,” Nsanganira said.

He advised them to capitalise on networking than doing everything individually. “Keep networking, partner with each other, it is better that way,” he said.

Some startups say there is another obstacle beyond just networking and partnering.

Technician on duty

Technician on duty

Banks not convinced by most startups

Hallellua explains that most startups are on halt due to exorbitant requirements including; high cost of initial capital and collateral to secure funding from banks.

However, government recently approved $100 million fund to cater for bankable ideas that cannot get financing from commercial banks or capital venturists. Rwanda Development Board will manage the fund.

Eric Kubwumucunguzi, a member of K-Lab notes there is lack of awareness about such available opportunities.

“I have been here for more than four years, we have worked on different projects, but none of them has secured funding, from government or private financiers,” Hallellua says.

And yet, on the other hand, Bora and Ndayisaba with their water billing system for example, have no idea about this fund. “We have a finished product, it works, we tested it, all we need is financial support,” says Bora. “We cannot do anything beyond where we are now.”

“We are not businessmen,” says Bora. “Our job was to find a solution to a problem, and we have done it. The rest is not our area of expertise.”

According to banks, a good proposal can easily help startups secure a loan. But most of Rwanda’s young startups do not present proper business plans.

“Most financial institutions need comfort that a business is profitable considering the high risks involved,” says Frank Abaho, the Public Relations Officer for Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD).

“BRD used to finance projects in the priority sectors that are above Rwf15million…those below the amount, the bank reaches them through its refinancing product (provides credit lines to SACCOs and MFIs) to reach the small projects,” he says.

Despite these challenges, some startups, especially those already making revenues, have crashed the walls and forced themselves into the corridors of investors.

MERGIMS, let’s say, made several pitches and has already received multiple offers. The firm’s CEO, Antoine Muhire says, “It is not easy, but you have to fight hard.”

“The money is out there, and we will go after it,” he said recently in an interview on The Big Talk show on KT Radio.

Regional Workshop For Entrepreneurs Expected in Kigali

Regional Workshop For Entrepreneurs Expected in Kigali

The Private Sector Federation is slated to host over 150 young entrepreneurs from the East African region in Kigali on May 19.

The workshop, organised by the Chamber of young entrepreneurs (CYE), one of the 10 chambers of the private sector federation, says the workshop will raise awareness of the opportunities and risks associated with youth entrepreneurship.

The chamber has invited its members to a pre-event cocktail gathering to breakdown the details of the May event and what is required to successfully prepare the event.

Meanwhile, the launch of the preparation for the May “Young Entrepreneurs’ Symposium” is a platform for the chamber to mobilise participation of local young entrepreneurs.

“The art of growing your profits”, is the theme for tomorrow’s event, taking place at Novotel Hotel at 4pm.

The chamber has more than 30 members from more than 30 different bodies, boards and committees in the public and private sectors.

Established in 2006 to support young people in business, the chamber offers advisory services to young entrepreneurs and from time to time organizes networking sessions to allow young entrepreneurs share business ideas.


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