Category archives for: Rwanda

Govt to Sell Exiled Tycoon’s Property

The Rwandan Revenue Authority has placed Kigali’s Union Trade Centre — a $20 million mall owned by exiled tycoon Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa — among properties to be auctioned for defaulting on their taxes.

Mr Rujugiro has taken the Rwandan government to the East African Court of Justice for the alleged illegal seizure of his properties.

RRA has published a list of properties up for auction and among them is the mall, which in 2013 was put under the Nyarugenge District Commission of Abandoned Properties.

The government said the property and many others had been put under the management of the Commission of Abandoned Properties for “efficient management,” which among other things includes paying taxes and utility bills.

UTC was put on a list of 14 properties that RRA said “are immovable assets of taxpayers whose properties have been attached and will be auctioned.”

The taxes owed are from 2015, when the building was already in the hands of the Commission of Abandoned Properties.

By press time, The EastAfrican had failed to ascertain how much UTC owes the government.

The EACJ is yet to decide the ongoing case in Arusha in which Mr Rujugiro, who fell out with the government in 2010, seeks to redeem a number of his properties that have been seized.

The case filed in 2013 was dismissed by the First Instance Chamber of the EACJ, but later the Appeal Court ordered the Trial Court to hear it afresh “citing that parties had not been afforded an opportunity to present relevant evidence in support of their respective cases.”

The case is still pending before the trial court and no hearing date has so far been announced.

Rwanda

Govt Expects Over 12000 Returnees By July 2018

At least12,000 Rwandans who still live in foreign countries as refugees could return home between July and June next… Read more »

Presidential Candidate Vows to Soldier on Despite Nude Photo Scandal

Photo: Cyril Ndegeya/The East African

Diane Shima Rwigara addresses a press conference, announcing her candidature for the Rwanda presidency.

Ever since Diane Shima Rwigara came out to express her political views — and later declared her intention to run for president of Rwanda in the August 4 elections — the 35-year-old has attracted praise and criticism in equal measure.

One week after nude photographs — which she has disowned — were circulated on social media a day after she announced her presidential bid, Ms Rwigara says she will not be deterred: “I will not stop. I am going to continue with my preparations. The incident made me stronger, more resilient and determined to continue with this cause,” she told The EastAfrican.

The photographs were released through an email titled “the shameless acts of Diane Shima Rwigara who wants to contest for presidency”, with the sender adding “look at our presidential candidate”. The sender identified himself/herself as Emmy Twahirwa and claimed to be a journalist.

Robert Mugabe, a journalist who has reportedly been associated with Ms Rwigara, later stated on Facebook that the photos were doctored and were the work of her detractors.

Following that, Ms Rwigara took a few days off the public scene and later told The EastAfrican that the photographs were manipulated.

The incident elicited sympathy for the US-educated activist-turned politician, with many condemning the act of shaming her and others called for investigation.

Bold

No government agency has commented on the nudes scandal nor has any official come out to publicly condemn the sharing of the photos or denounce the presidential hopeful over her supposed “questionable integrity”.

But Ms Rwigara, who on Wednesday May 10 went to the National Electoral Commission to present the list of people who will sign for her and pick documents needed for the purpose, attracted wide coverage.

As an independent candidate, she must raise 600 signatures, at least 20 from each of the 30 districts. She believes that once she makes it to the ballot, she would make a good case and race against President Paul Kagame, who is widely expected to win the August 4 polls with a landslide.

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Nude Photo Leak Shock for Rwanda’s Woman Presidential Candidate


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Meet Rwanda’s First Female Independent Presidential Candidate

First Female Independent Candidate Joins Race for PresidencyActivism and Rwanda’s Development Model – Diane Rwigara Takes a Stand

Ms Rwigara, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the California State University, Sacramento and a master’s degree in accounting from California State University, San Francisco, has surprised many with her boldness.On February 23, she held a press conference where she described herself as a “concerned Rwandan and activist” but denied intending to engage in politics. She highlighted several issues the country was facing that she said needed to be addressed urgently. Among these, she said, were the growing levels of poverty and hunger, which she said the government did not want to recognise, let alone address.”I am neither a politician nor a member of any political party,” Ms Rwigara told The EastAfrican shortly after the press conference, adding that she decided to speak out about the issues “because no one else appeared willing to speak about them.”On May 3, she called another press conference, during which she announced her intention to pit candidature against President Kagame.No freedom of press“The reason I am contesting is because our country has a stained past. The RPF government has achieved a number of things, attempted to deliver on others but completely failed on several aspects. Rwandans still face many challenges including poverty, hunger and injustices in all sections of the society,” she said.Ms Rwigara also said there was no freedom of press and expression in Rwanda, pointing out that none of the media were critical while those who tried to criticise the government often ended up in trouble, pointing out that she was ready to raise those concerns on behalf of the people.”We have cases of insecurity as people disappear without trace, some are killed while others flee the country. Most Rwandans know these but won’t speak out because of fear,” she said.Indeed, her move caught many off-guard, in a country where many people prefer silence rather than point out issues affecting them. A lot of talk followed her press conference, with many wondering where she got the guts to run for the country’s highest office.Several other prospective candidates have announced similar intentions for the top job in Rwanda, among them Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, former journalist Philippe Mpayimana and Gilbert Mwenedata, who will contest as independent candidates.InjusticesThe daughter of Assinapol Rwigara, a prominent businessman and RPF member, who died in February 2015 in an accident, Ms Rwigara maintains that her political ambitions were her personal decision and should not be in any way connected to her family.The embattled family has been in the limelight since the passing on of the tycoon after it contested the police version of the circumstances under which Mr Rwigara died. They went as far as petitioning President Kagame to call for an inquiry into the death.Since then, the family found itself in trouble when Kigali city authorities demolished a hotel of the deceased businessman because “it did not have the necessary permits”. Several of Mr Rwigara’s properties were also repossessed by the City of Kigali administration.Ms Rwigara maintains that she is not driven by anger or disgruntled by events surrounding her family, but says the manner in which her father died are some of the injustices she is willing to fight to correct.Her bid has not been helped by support from ‘renowned enemies’ of Kigali, including members of the Rwanda National Congress, an exiled group which Rwanda refers to as a criminal organisation, and of which one of her exiled uncles Benjamin Rutabana is a member.Ms Rwigara denies being a member of the group or any other political party, existing inside or outside the country.

Biziyaremye Looks to Bounce Back After Recovering From Injury

By Geoffrey Asiimwe

Last weekend, Joseph Biziyaremye made a promising return to cycling after being out of action for six months due to injury. He participated in the second race of the 2017 Rwanda Cycling Cup which was his first as he looks to return to the top of his game. The third race, dubbed ‘Race to Remember’ that will start from Ruhango town heading to Karongi district plus a circuit is slated for this Saturday.

The 29-year-old Biziyaremye was involved in a career-threatening accident while competing in the 2016 Tour du Rwanda, during the stage five ( Muhanga to Musanze) less than a kilometre to the finish line after knocking down a spectator who was trying to cross the road.

Biziyaremye had a concussion and was rushed to King Faisal Hospital in Kigali where he stayed for seven weeks receiving treatment.

The accident occurred just a day after he finished second in stage four (Rusizi-Huye) also known as ‘Nyungwe Challenge’ that was won by Joseph Areruya, who now rides for South Africa-based UCI Continental Team Dimension Data.

Last Saturday, during the Farmers’ Circuit race; Kigali to Nyagatare; the former Cine Elmay rider made his return to competitive cycling for the first time since last November, riding for Kayonza-based Muhazi Cycling Generation.

He finished in ninth place posting less than two minutes behind the winner, Jean Claude Uwizeye of Les Amis Sportifs de Rwamagana.

Uwizeye won the 152-kilomtre race using 3 hours 41 minutes and 46 seconds, while Biziyaremye posted 3 hours, 43 minutes and 22 seconds.

“I have fully recovered, and I felt strong in last week’s race after almost four weeks of training. Finishing ninth was really a great performance for me especially given than I had been out for over six months after my accident. I believe I will be much better in the next race,” he told Times Sport.

The Kamonyi-born rider was among the five cyclists that raced for the national team (Team Rwanda) during 2016 Tour du Rwanda-others were Eric Nduwayo and now retired duo of Nathan Byukusenge and Abraham Ruhumuriza..

Rwanda

Govt Expects Over 12000 Returnees By July 2018

At least12,000 Rwandans who still live in foreign countries as refugees could return home between July and June next… Read more »

Foot and Mouth Disease – Livestock Movement Banned in Eastern Province

By Emmanuel Ntirenganya

The Ministry of Agriculture has banned livestock movement from Nyagatare District following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the area.

The New Times has learnt that the disease was first detected on Tuesday in some cows in Gabiro area.

The disease outbreak, and the restriction imposed, mean that Nyagatare farmers cease sale of about 60,000 litres of milk that they supply to Inyange Industries Ltd, a local milk processing factory, according to Pitas Mugisha, the vice chairperson of Nyagatare Dairy Farmers Union.

With a litre of milk sold at Rwf176 to the processor, the farmers will lose about Rwf10.5 million per day.

Mugisha said the quarantine also affects operation of a cattle market where about 500 cattle are sold per week in the district.

“As we approach the dry season, there are dairy farmers who wanted to get money from milk and cow sales to pay for their children’s school fees, but now it is not possible,” Mugisha told The New Times.

But he noted that the one-month quarantine was necessary to prevent the disease from spreading.

A statement, signed by the Agriculture and Animal Resources minister, Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana, yesterday, said the movement of livestock (cows, goats, sheep and pigs) as well as bovine markets in the sectors of Karangazi and Rwimiyaga in Nyagatare District; Kabonero and Rwembogo in Gatsibo District; Murundi, Gahini and Mwiri in Kayonza District, are temporarily banned.

It said cattle showing symptoms of the disease will be isolated.

The statement also warned of punitive measures for those who fail to comply with the quarantine, and cautioned livestock farmers against hiding affected cows.

“We have set up seven strategic sites, with three veterinary officers each, around the Gabiro centre so as to prevent the entry and exit of cows to prevent the disease spread,” Mugisha said.

He said water with disinfectants has been availed at entries of Gabiro so that people who enter or leave can wash their hands to disinfect.

The law determining the prevention and fight against contagious diseases for domestic animals in Rwanda, which was enacted in 2008, states in Article 46 that necessary measures should be taken for an immunisation to be carried out nationwide, buildings and tools to be sprayed with appropriate disinfectants, and special care ensured for transportation of any possible carrier of the virus, especially alive animals, manure, cowshed grass bedding, forage, livestock products.

Such measures also explain how such areas have to be cleaned and how these areas and any other object used in transporting them shall be sprayed with insecticide.

Article 49 of the same law states that the decision to lift measures relating to the declaration of presence of the foot and mouth disease is made after 21 days from the time the last infected animal has been liquidated.

Figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources show that there is a cattle population of about 1.4 million in the country.

Information from Eastern Province shows that it has around 424,279 head of cattle.

Tigo Slashes Local and International Call Rates

By Peterson Tumwebaze

Mutesi, a Nyabugogo-based businesswoman, has been finding it hard to communicate with her suppliers in the provinces, which has sometimes caused delays in the delivery of her merchandise.

The Tigo Rwanda customer will, however, now find it easy to coordinate the delivery of her goods following the slashing of call rates to Rwf35 per minute across all networks. According to company officials, calls to the USA, India, China and Canada will also cost Rwf35 per minute.

Announcing the new tariff in Kigali on Tuesday, Yaw Ankoma Agyapong, the Tigo Rwanda chief commercial officer, said the tariff reduction was “a response to our customer needs for a product that offers great value and also enable them to stay in touch with friends and family here in Rwanda and abroad.”

He added that in addition to the reduced call tariffs, Tigo customers will also be able to send an SMS to any local mobile network for only Rwf15.

Before the call rate cut, subscribers paid Rwf40 per minute for local calls; international calls were at Rwf51 a minute and SMS sending cost Rwf26 each.

MTN charges Rwf51 per minute for calls to the USA, India, China and Canada, while it costs Airtel customers Rwf29. For local calls both on and off, MTN charges Rwf45 per minute. Tigo has 3.2 million subscribers, MTN has 4.07 million clients and 1.59 million users are for Airtel,

RURA figures for December 2016 indicate.

Rwanda

Govt Expects Over 12000 Returnees By July 2018

At least12,000 Rwandans who still live in foreign countries as refugees could return home between July and June next… Read more »

Turks Join Rwandans in Community Work in Ankara

The Rwandan community in Ankara, Turkey was joined by Turkish citizens and some friends of Rwanda in a community work activity that was held in Rwanda Park, an area that was designated by Kecioren Municipality to Rwandans in Turkey.

The Friday activity was attended by officials from Kecioren Municipality led by the Mayor Mustafa AK, foreign students from The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic and Italy who are in Turkey for Erasmus Programme.

The community work was organised by the Rwandan Embassy in Turkey in collaboration with Kecioren Municipality, where about 100 trees were planted in the Park.

Apart from planting new trees, the activity also involved watering of trees that were planted earlier as well as clearing of the park.

In his remarks, Mayor Mustafa AK welcomed Rwanda’s Ambassador to Turkey, Williams Nkurunziza, the Rwandan community and Erasmus students in the Kecioren Municipality.

He thanked Rwandans for the good environmental initiative of planting trees and making Kecioren green.

The mayor noted that every tree planted in this park is an important symbol of partnership between Rwandan community and Kecioren Municipality, and promised to take care of the trees.

He also mentioned that the trees planted by foreign students under Erasmus programme will always be a link between them and Rwandans in Turkey as well as the Municipality. He expressed hope that such activity will later encourage students to visit Turkey and visit the park to check on their trees.

On his part, Ambassador Nkurunziza commended the Mayor and management of Kecioren Municipality for the friendship and collaboration with the Embassy and Rwandan community in general.

He thanked the management of Kecioren Municipality for offering an area, where Rwandans and their friends regularly plant trees and for accepting to name the area Rwanda Park.

This activity is a landmark in the cooperation between the Rwandan community and Kecioren Municipality, he said.

About 40 million trees have so far been planted in Rwanda for the last 10 years since the beginning of the community work in Rwanda, according to the envoy.

Rwandans abroad share this particular practice of community work with their friends, Amb. Nkurunziza said, commending mayor Mustafa for allowing Rwandans to share this practice with their Kecioren friends.

He also thanked the foreign students from Erasmus Programme for joining Rwandan community and friends of Rwanda in this environmental activity.

Kecioren Municipality is located in the North of Ankara with a population slightly over one million, a big number being youth. Turkey is located on two continents, Asia and Europe and currently about 200 Rwandan citizens; mostly students are living in this country.

Rwanda

Govt Expects Over 12000 Returnees By July 2018

At least12,000 Rwandans who still live in foreign countries as refugees could return home between July and June next… Read more »

Rwanda’s Coffee Export Revenue Rises to Over Rwf2 Billion in March

By Peterson Tumwebaze

Rwanda’s coffee export revenues rose marginally in March to $2.4 million (about Rwf2.02 billion), up from $2.1 million (about Rwf1.77 billion) recorded during the same period in 2016, the National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB) monthly report indicates. This was despite a drop in coffee prices on international market to $2.36 per kilo, down from $2.40 per kilo in March 2016.

The March coffee export earnings represent a 9 per cent increase in value that NAEB attributed to high volumes of coffee sold during the month or a growth of 11 per cent compared to what was exported in March 2016.

The country sold 1,008,501 kilogrammes of coffee over the month under review, up from 906,251 kilogrammes sold in March last year, the report indicates.

Rwanda’s coffee buyers include Switzerland, United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, Germany and South Korea.

However, coffee production decreased on annual basis by 12.7 per cent, a situation NAEB attributed to the prolonged dry spell the country experienced last year.

The government in March this year set the farmgate coffee price at Rwf246 per kilogramme, up from Rwf150 previously.

Overall, Rwanda produced more than 22 million kilogrammes of coffee in 2016 compared to 21.8 million kilos in 2015. The agro-export body attributed the increase to a conducive weather and adoption of modern farming skills by farmers, which helped improve coffee handling and quality along the value chain.

NAEB has been emphasising value addition and encouraging farmers and co-operatives to take advantage of coffee washing stations to enhance quality.

The board is implementing a five-year strategic plan aimed at achieving an annual average export growth rate of 29 per cent, translating to $104.3 million by 2018, from $60.9 million in 2013.

The plan also promotes value addition and seeks to enhance productivity to make the country’s coffee industry more competitive and beneficial to more than 400,000 farmers whose livelihood depends on coffee.

NAEB said the objective is to increase productivity from 2.4kg per coffee tree in 2013 to 3.1kg per tree by 2018. The board also seeks to increase fully-washed coffee to 71 per cent by 2018.

Rwanda

Govt Expects Over 12000 Returnees By July 2018

At least12,000 Rwandans who still live in foreign countries as refugees could return home between July and June next… Read more »

Genocide – Dutch Court Remands Fugitive Until June 15

By Felly Kimenyi

A Rwandan arrested in Denmark earlier this week over an outstanding arrest warrant pertaining to his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi has been remanded by a Danish court until June 15, according to media reports.

The suspect, whom witness accounts and other sources corroborate to be a one Wenceslas Twagirayezu, was pinned by prosecution for having played a role in the killings in western Rwanda.

Appearing before court that was chaired by Judge Jens Berg, prosecution charged him with masterminding massacres in a church and a university, where thousands of Tutsi were killed.

Specifically, a Danish prosecutor said the accused was part of a gang of 200 that attacked a university where over 1,000 people – mainly students, lecturers and other staff – were killed.

Our independent investigations conducted through interviews with Genocide survivors from the area established that one of the attacks in which Twagirayezu was among the ringleaders was carried out at Mudende University in the present Rubavu District.

The church referred to during the hearing is believed to be Busasamana Catholic Parish, where more than 3,000 Tutsi had sought refuge and most of whom were killed by militiamen led by the suspect.

After listening to the charges against Twagirayezu, who is said to work with an IT company in the capital Copenhagen, Judge Berg ruled to remand him so that he does not tamper with evidence or even flee the country for fear of being prosecuted.

About the suspect

Twagirayezu was naturalised as a Danish citizen in 2004, having arrived in the Nordic country in 2001.

It is said that Twagirayezu, who apparently runs an organisation in Denmark called Dutabarane Foundation, was a teacher at Majambere Primary School in Busasamana Sector of the present Rubavu District.

“He was well known in the former communes of Rubavu, Mutura and Rwerere. He openly carried a gun,” said a source who preferred to remain anonymous.

According to prosecution, the suspect was also the president of the extremist party, CDR, in the former Gacurabwenge Sector also in the current Rubavu District, and was a known militia leader in the area during the Genocide against the Tutsi.

CDR was composed of the most virulent members of the extremist political outfits that played a role in the Genocide.

The Danish prosecution is likely to request that the suspect be extradited to Rwanda for trial after a precedent that was set in 2014 when the country extradited Emmanuel Mbarushimana.

Mbarushimana, a former inspector of schools, is currently on trial at the specialised chamber for international crimes at High Court.

Rwanda

Govt Expects Over 12000 Returnees By July 2018

At least12,000 Rwandans who still live in foreign countries as refugees could return home between July and June next… Read more »

How Well Has the Fairtrade Movement Done?

columnBy Junior Sabena Mutabazi

Today, in London, like in many other parts of the West, if you want to top up on polyphenolic antioxidants or simply add some Vitamin C in your body, Fairtrade products such as fresh coffee and fresh bananas are some of the products widely available on the market to cater to your needs.

In fact, the UK is the world’s largest Fairtrade market, with more products and more awareness of Fairtrade than anywhere else. Indeed, Fairtrade sales in 2012 alone were in excess of £1.53 billion.

But what is the Fairtrade movement about, and has the movement achieved its main objectives over the last two decades?

According to the Fairtrade Foundation, Fairtrade is a concept primarily about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.

The Fairtrade standards requires companies to pay sustainable prices (never to fall lower than the market price) in order to address some of the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers from predominantly poor countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

When a company’s product such as coffee, sugar or banana has been awarded a Fairtrade mark, it means that that specific product meets the international Fairtrade standards, and it also shows that the product has been certified to offer a better deal to the farmers and workers in developing countries involved in producing it.

In essence, when compared to similar unmarked products on the market, a Fairtrade marked product has a premium price attached to it, which makes it relatively more expensive.

This premium price is an additional sum of money paid on top of the Fairtrade minimum price that farmers and workers invest in social, environmental and economic developmental projects to improve their businesses and their communities.

Farmers and workers themselves decide how that premium is spent.

Additionally, over the years, the number of groups of farmers and workers who have benefited from UK Fairtrade has increased to include farmers from over 60 countries across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Equally, country reports such as the Fairtrade in Malawi report indicates that certified sugar farmers and their communities have experienced tangible and significant economic, social, and organisational benefits from Fairtrade.

Indeed, according to Malawi Fairtrade Network Chairperson, Doreen Chanje, Fairtrade has “gradually enabled farmers’ standards of living to improve with a higher proportion of certified farmers now able to pay school fees for their children, ensure household food security, increase their assets and experience more stability in incomes”.

Likewise, the number of Fairtrade certified producer organisations supplying the UK market rose by 56 percent from 428 in 2008 to 669 at the end of 2012. Also, as of 2012, 40 percent of the retail sugar market, 30 percent of banana market and 28 percent of coffee market are all Fairtrade.

UK public support is also unprecedented, with more and more people buying into the Fairtrade market. In fact, according to the 2012/13 Fairtrade Annual Review, estimated retail sales value of Fairtrade products rose from £712, million in 2008 to £1.53 billion in 2012, which represented a 215 percent increase.

Has the movement helped local farmers?

Not so much, if you are to note down some of the shortcomings highlighted in a report commissioned by the UK government and produced by the School of Oriental and African Studies.

The Fairtrade, Employment and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia and Uganda (FTEPR) project which lasted for four years set out to establish how global trade in agricultural commodities affects the lives of farmers and workers in rural Africa, especially through wage employment.

According to Professor Christopher Cramer, one of the report’s authors, the research team were not surprised to learn that people, who depend for their survival on access to manual agricultural wage employment, are much poorer than others in the same area.

Similarly, the report indicates that Fairtrade standards are far too concerned with the incomes of producers than they are with the wages of the workers themselves.

In essence, the report indicated that workers’ wages in Ethiopia and Uganda (two of the assessed countries) are typically lower and that in general terms, conditions for workers in Fairtrade organisations are worse compared to those in other organisations.

In terms of community projects supported by the Fairtrade premium, the report claims that in Uganda, for instance, a Fairtrade-supported school had turned away some poor children because they owed money in school fees.

Such findings defeat the sole purpose of what Fairtrade standards represent. In an ideal world, a Fairtrade-supported school should be able to support children from poor families so that they can have access to education much like children of farmers from organisations with no affiliation to Fairtrade.

On balance, the report proposes that for Fairtrade to truly serve its purpose, standards should focus more on whether average wage rates among such workers are at least as good as, if not higher than, those of very similar workers employed in other organisations.

In the same way, conditions of workers should be improved to reflect the premium paid by consumers who seek to ensure that every farmer who is part of the Fairtrade movement benefits from the increasing market share of Fairtrade products.

Otherwise, if standards do not improve, followed and monitored vigorously, the movement which has covered two decades will diminish into another band-aid type of movement.

What Rwanda Needs to Achieve 6.2 Per Cent Economic Growth

By Collins Mwai

Rwanda’s economy is this year expected to pick up pace and grow by 6.2 per cent largely driven by the recovery of the agriculture sector and growth in exports.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projections are largely premised on the agriculture sector, whose growth dipped last year following prolonged drought, consequently holding back economic growth.

The rains experienced this year have boosted economists’ confidence on economic rebound. The performance of the agriculture sector is expected to maintain the food prices across the years as well as keep inflation down.

Agriculture sector will also have an impact on the exports of tea and coffee, whose values are picking up on the international markets.

Laure Redifer, who led the mission conducting the second review of Rwanda’s Policy Support Instrument, told The New Times that with good rains so far into the year, the agriculture sector is set to deliver.

“There have been very good rains and we expect a rebound in the agriculture sector. Because there was slow growth last year so there is what we call base effect, sometimes when there was a low production and the production increases, you get a high growth rate,” she said.

The Made-in-Rwanda campaign is also expected to contribute largely to the growth projections.

“We have already seen the trade deficit go down by 17 per cent since July 2016 and it is really having an impact. The Made-in-Rwanda policy, which encourages the domestic production of certain products that were previously imported and diversifying exports, will also boost the conomy,” the IMF official explained.

The exchange rate depreciation is also expected to boost competitiveness of Rwandan products on the international market.

The Rwandan Franc last year depreciated by 9.7 per cent.

When there is a depreciation and the exchange rate goes down, the exports of a country are cheaper and therefore there will be an increase in exports and decrease in quantity of imports thereby benefiting domestic firms from increased sales.

“Because of exchange rate deprecation, the country becomes more competitive. We are seeing a lot of production in various areas which if combined will bring growth to 6.2 per cent,” Redifer added.

On whether Rwanda’s agricultural dependence for growth makes it vulnerable due to unreliability in weather conditions and patterns, she said the Government had shown efforts to improve the sector’s productivity.

“Weather vulnerability has a big effect on economies that are dependent on agriculture but there is not much that can be done other than what the Government is trying to do. Trying to keep food security stocked, expand irrigation and improving productivity for crops among other measures,” Redifer added.

The main risks in the short-term toward the set targets remains adverse weather conditions which could hold back the sectors productivity.

Tasks for government

Among the tasks for the Government as the country works toward achieving the objectives is how to raise domestic revenue without necessarily increasing taxes paid by ordinary citizens.

This can be done by improving the tax administration, which is underway through steps such as the improvement in the operations of electronic billing machines.

In this, IMF representatives also advised looking into other tax avenues such as property tax.

“What I would suggest is that a lot of the gains that have been made in domestic revenue collection have been using policy approaches. But there is a lot more that can be done on an administrative level which is making people pay what they owe. There is still a lot of avoidance. There are also other types of tax measures which at this stage of development, Rwanda needs to do such as property tax,” she said.

The Government is upbeat about the growth prospects with officials saying that there are reasons to expect the economy to bounce back.

Finance and Economic Planning minister Claver Gatete the said government will continue to support local industries which have so far shown positive trends.

“Agriculture is going to be one of the biggest contributors, the Made-in-Rwanda programme is going to have a contribution,” Gatete said.

He said the fall army worm crisis that was feared would further affect the agriculture sector had been tackled and was now under control through efforts of multiple agencies, including the army.

“The commodity shocks are a reminder that we should add value to our exports at the source to ensure that they are more competitive in the international markets,” Gatete said.

Central bank governor John Rwangombwa noted that the East African Community remains a major contributing factor to economic growth.

“The East African bloc remains the best performer across the continent. As a country this contributes positively to our economy we have been working together as a bloc to deepen our ties and this will no doubt boost as we go ahead,” he said.

He added that continued support of domestic production would have multiple positive impacts in the economy, including foreign exchange reserves.

The projections of 6.2 per cent for Rwanda are against 2.5 per cent for sub-Saharan Africa.

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