Posts tagged as: africa

Work, Not Complaints Makes the Perfect Women Police Officer – Vice President Samia

The Vice-President, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan has urged women police from Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) to participate actively in various operations taking place in the region as an effective measure to curb criminal acts.

Ms Samia threw this challenge in Dar es Salaam yesterday during the inaugural opening of three-day training session for women police from SARPCCO member states.

She further challenged the women police officers to work hard and dedicate their time, a key element in rising through the ranks– as do their male colleagues at their workplaces- stressing that there was “no time to complain” in order to be promoted; instead, the women officers should also “show their ability and skills at their best.”

“Positions do not just come… we show that our women police can earn promotions and leadership positions in the Armed Forces.

“Promotion and high ranks do not come out of the blue … you have to work hard to fulfill that desire in your life,” she said Regarding the performance of women police, Ms Samia has urged them to make use of the three-day summit to discuss in detail how to overcome such challenges that affect their performance.

Expounding, she said if women police stopped pulling each other down and allowed unity and peace to prevail among them, they would accomplish their goals especially in participating actively in the fight against crimes such as drug abuse.

For his part, Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Hamad Masauni, said he strongly believed that the training would help to significantly improve the performance of women police.

Masauni also encouraged women who receive the training to pass the knowledge gained to their colleagues SARPCCO embraces 15 member countries: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Mauritius, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

Tanzania

Capital Development Authority ‘Outlived Its Purpose’

Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Pius Msekwa has joined an array of patrons supporting dissolution of the… Read more »

Remembering MV Bukoba Disaster 21 Years On

analysisBy Marycelina Masha

MV Bukoba moments before she disappeared from the surface of Lake Victoria on May 21st, 1996

ON the morning of May, 21, 1996, a ship christened MV Bukoba, carrying more than 1,000 passengers and cargo, overturned and sank in Lake Victoria, just half an hour before docking at Mwanza Port.

According to a report issued by the government’s probe commission, over 700 people perished while 114 others were lucky to survive the accident.

The government was overwhelmed by the crisis and sought assistance from Neighbouring Kenya and South Africa for concerted efforts to remove the bodies of those trapped in the sunken ship.

A tower of memories was built at Igoma on the outskirts of Mwanza town where victims were buried in a mass grave. Nyaisa Simango was one of the survivors of the worst marine transport accident in Tanzania.

Inspired by a burning desire to tell the world what happened before and after the ship capsized, Simango who now works with the Bank of Tanzania wrote a book titled Sitasahau MV Bukoba, in which he chronicles the horror as it unfolded during that fateful morning.

This is a true heartbreaking story, a depiction of how negligence, complacency, greed and corruption on the part of the establishment, could cost the nation very dearly. The book is available in bookshops across the country.

For the sake of preserving history and the love for our nation, this review recommends it as one of Tanzania’s Best Sellers. Title of the book: Sitasahau MV Bukoba. Author: Nyaisa Simango. Publisher: E&D Vision Publishers ISBN No: 978-9987-521-43-2 Preface: Professor Haroub Othman Genre: Nonfiction, tragedy Style: Narrative Reviewer: Marycelina Masha

The plot

Nyaisa Simango, then a prison warder at Ukonga Maximum Prison, leaves Dar es Salaam for Mwanza by train in the company of a colleague Sergeant Nico.

They are escorting a prisoner who they are scheduled to hand over to the authorities in Bukoba. On arrival in Mwanza, the trio proceed to the port and board an overly crowded MV Bukoba, after jostling and shoving their way through the crowds to get some room in the restaurant cabin.

Tickets were available through the backdoor, even if you came late. As night falls, Nyaisa is shocked to see that the vessel almost overturns when an irresponsible crew member messes up with the ship’s wheel.

He narrates: “All hell broke loose when the ship swayed violently as we were sipping our soft drinks. The refrigerators dropped on the floor with a loud bang! Bottles of beer and soda broke into pieces and littered the floor. I feared for my life… .” The ship anchors in Bukoba though, the end of the first leg of Nyaisa’s journey.

Chaos reigns at Bukoba Port on the following day of May 20th May, when Nyaisa prepares for boarding for a cruise back to Mwanza. A cargo of bunches of bananas, cars, suitcases and all sorts of luggage, flood the basement of the ship.

Multitudes jam the dock with their belongings as if fleeing a war zone. Those who fail to board hurriedly hire taxis in order to catch up with the vessel at Kemondo Bay.

It was a frightening scenario, but no authority, not even the Tanzania Railways Authority which operated the vessel, came forward to quell this manmade storm.

Throughout the voyage, Nyaisa, who has never travelled on a ship is a very worried man, often looking for a lifebuoy or consulting with a passenger about it, though none is keen to listen.

This weakness makes him naïve and nervous. Had the ship arrived in Mwanza safely, we would accuse him of being a nuisance to other passengers. Suddenly, the vessel sways to the left then right… left then right.

He writes: “My mind veered off from the swaying ship and reached my home village. I saw my younger sib lings screaming and wailing after my body is brought home from the accident scene… . I wanted to throw up and release the beer I had just sipped, so I went to the bathroom, but I couldn’t… ” In the middle of the night Nyaisa gets tired of the ship’s swaying and rocking.

He squeezes himself to a corner where a woman is sleeping with his children and falls asleep, only to be awakened by screaming voices. He is lying in a pool of water, alone.

Other passengers are assembled in the upper part of the ship. Some are praying but many are screaming. The ship sways again, left, then right, left, right, left… “Oh my goodness! The vessel has gone adrift… some passengers have been tossed overboard!” Someone yells.

The swaying stops and Nyaisa goes to take a shower, soon the ship will dock at Mwanza Port. This must be due to heavy weather, though no authority speaks. It is 7.00 am. and the sky is clear enough to see the view of Mwanza town.

While he is brushing his shoes, the impossible happens. The ship tilts to the left, then right and then makes about turn! She has overturned! Nyaisa writes: “Impossible! No ship overturns.

No! ships sink… Good God! My life is over… ! I’m dead!” This episode could be the climax of the story as it revolves around fear and agony but with a desire to live. Nyaisa finds himself in a new but frightening world. He sees people dying, many of them.

The ship now lies upside down and water penetrates through the walls. There is darkness and the door has closed from the outside, the floor is submerged! When three courageous men appear from nowhere, he joins them to drill an escape hole.

This particular trick works after a great deal of laboring and Nyaisa hauls himself into the lake! He can’t swim, he has never done so. He seizes an object, while waggling in the water. It’s a human being’s leg. He holds it firm, until he manages to grab a lifebuoy.

Finally he climbs onto the sinking ship’s hull where he, together with a few other victims, are rescued by fishing boats, four hours after the ship overturned! Prior to the post script, E&D Vision Publishers added some colour to the book by including a piece showing how Tanzania’s press reported MV Bukoba accident, plus an interview with some of those who lost their loved ones in the accident.

Premonition

Nyaisa unwittingly predicts the occurrence of a disaster well before he leaves Dar es Saalam. While chatting with his cousin about the journey, he asks him where he would get a life jacket in case of an accident.

Three more times he talks to himself about a looming accident. At a certain moment, he unchains the prisoner’s handcuffs and says “I don’t want to be blamed for the prisoner’s death if the ship sinks…”

On the journey back to Mwanza, and after taking three bottles of beer, he whispers to a fellow pas senger and asks him whether he could get a life jacket.

The author’s tone

After reading the book several times about manmade tragic episodes, depicting negligence, greed, inefficiency and corruption, I expected no mercy on those responsible for this calamity.

However, much as Nyaisa clearly punches holes on the performance of the authorities, he does so with a sober mind. Sometimes he even adds humour when he says:” Someone grabbed my underpants as we hassled for the lifebuoy. I felt somehow relieved because when you are under the water, your clothes are nothing but a heavy burden.”

He continues: “I was completely naked. The only thing I was wearing was my watch… When the rescue boats arrived, we were given clothes, BUT some of us rejected them… It did not matter, men and women sat together, all naked… “

Moral lesson

The Preface by Profes sor Haroub Othman, tells it all. Prof Othman criticizes the then Ministry of Communication and Transport’s inability to rein in corruption, negligence and inefficiency in the TRC.

In particular, he questions the country’s ability to deal with disasters and the whole issue of safety in the transportation sector. If everyone executed their duties diligently, the accident would not happen.

On 21, May, (this coming Sunday) someone will be commemorating the 21st anniversary of the sinking of MV Bukoba, in remembrance of those who perished with it.

It is a historical event which must not be allowed to die. It must be told again and again for everyone to get to know their role and responsibility towards protecting lives whenever they are on the steering wheel.

Sad to say, this anniversary comes at a time when hearts are still bleeding for 33 children, two teachers and their driver who died in the Karatu school bus tragedy. May God rest their souls in eternal peace.

Foreigners Warned – High South African Crime Rates

By Peter Dube

South Africa is seemingly at odds with the rest of Africa and, probably, the world over a rising wave of crime and sporadic attacks on foreign nationals.

In recent weeks, at least three countries including Kenya issued travel alerts to their citizens.

Understandably, according to data released by the South African police at the end of March, over 960,000 serious crimes were reported to the police between April and December 2016, averaging over 3,550 cases every day – or 148 every hour.

The biggest increase has happened in the contact crime category, where robbery with aggravating circumstances, including carjacking, showing an increase of 6.1 per cent.

With this, the so-called ‘trio crimes’ – carjacking, robbery at home and robbery at non-residential premises – all saw huge increases across all crime categories.

Foreign nationals have not been spared, hence some countries cautioning their citizens intending to visit the Rainbow nation.

Kenya had a more pronounced advisory after its Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Monica Juma warned of increased cases of armed robberies, carjacking, theft, burglary, kidnap, rape and mugging.

“The most worrying element of this crime wave is the rising number of incidents of attacks within the vicinity of hotels,” Dr Juma said.

She added that the diplomatic community was being openly attacked in residential areas and in the central business district.

World’s watching

The African Diaspora Forum (ADF) chairperson, Mr Marc Gbaffou said the travel warnings were a very strong message to the South African government that the world was watching.

“It’s quite disappointing to hear the remarks that authorities will make publicly about issues like xenophobic attacks. It shows the world that visitors are not protected in the country,” Mr Gbaffou said.

Three months ago, houses belonging to migrants were burnt down in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg and in Pretoria west.

Several businesses belonging to foreign nationals were also attacked by locals, who looted them.

Dr Juma’s letter blames South African authorities for failing to stop the wave of attacks, despite the crime reports being filed with the police.

“We need to bring to the attention of all official delegations or members of public travelling to South Africa on duty or official assignments to be cautious,” the letter says.

The Kenya advisory advises visitors to arrive in South Africa before 6pm and book accommodation in well-established areas and avoid travelling in public service vehicles.

Rape crisis

Ironically, the letter is dated April 24, the same day the UK issued a travel advisory against South Africa.

“There is a very high level of crime, including rape and murder in South Africa,” the UK says in its travel warning.

South Africa has one of the highest rape statistics in the world, with 30,069 sexual assault cases reported between April and December 2016.

An NGO that helps rape victims, Rape Crisis said “most cases went unreported because victims have lost faith in the country’s justice system”.

A 35-year-old Zimbabwean woman has been clamouring over how the police have neglected a case of rape she reported against a prominent figure.

“I am aggrieved with the way the police have handled my case. The person assigned to investigate my case told me that I do not have a case and l feel that it is not the place of the police to decide on whether or not I have a case. Theirs is to investigate and collect all evidence, which they have dragged their feet in doing,” she said.

Murder capitals

The UK’s advisory further said the most violent crimes tend to occur in townships, remote and isolated areas and away from the normal tourist destinations.

Nyanga, a notorious township in Cape Town, and Tembisa in Johannesburg, are the murder capitals in South Africa, recording the highest cases every year.

“Most visits to South Africa are trouble-free, but you should take sensible precautions to protect your safety,” the UK advisory read.

Canada also issued a travel advisory against South Africa. On May 2, the North American state said it had not issued a nationwide advisory for South Africa, but warned its citizens “to exercise a high degree of caution due to the significant level of serious crime”.

Kenya slammed

South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Corporation (DIRCO) slammed Kenya for its alert.

DIRCO spokesperson Clayson Monyela said he noted with concern the manner in which the Kenya alert had distorted information and randomly elevated issues which were inconsistent with the main thrust of bilateral relations between the two countries.

“The South African authorities will continue to seek further clarity on the matter from their Kenyan counterparts.

“South Africa wishes to emphasise that Kenyan citizens continue to travel to South Africa on a daily basis as well as official and business visits, with only three incidences reported to the South African authorities,” Mr Monyela said.

He added that South Africa was home to more than 3,000 Kenyan students who lived and studied in an environment free of harassment.

“South Africa wishes to recall the historic State Visit to Kenya in October 2016, which was hailed as a remarkable success following the signing of five new agreements. The signing of these agreements is a demonstration of the collective determination to take our bilateral relations to a higher level.”

Xenophobia

A fortnight ago, South Africa’s Police minister Fikile Mbalula, sparked a spate with neighbouring Zimbabwe when he said Zimbabwean ex-soldiers were wreaking havoc across South Africa, committing violent crime including robberies.

Zimbabwe’s ambassador Isaac Moyo, promptly hit back saying the minister’s remarks were irresponsible.

“We cannot accept the many ill-informed elements in the said statement and we deeply regret that they were made without due regard to their accuracy,” he said.

Two months ago, Nigeria called on the African Union (UN) to intervene over the renewed xenophobia attacks in South Africa.

The Nigerian government said it had it on record that 16 of their nationals had been killed in South Africa in the last two years.

“This is unacceptable to the people and government of Nigeria,” read an emailed statement.

Mr Gbaffou believes how South Africa handled concerns about the safety of visitors and migrants was critical to its relations with other nations.

A Full in Tray Awaits Presidents At EAC Summit

A tight agenda awaits the East Africa Community Heads of State Summit when it meets in Dar es Salaam this week, for a meeting that has been postponed three times.

This is amid speculation of a falling out between some of the leaders on the direction the bloc should take.

That the Summit will not be postponed this time is assured. The EAC Secretariat has sent out an invitation to all the delegates to attend the meeting on May 20. It will be preceded by meetings of technocrats responsible for various sectors over three days before the Council of Ministers meets a day before the Summit to prepare resolutions for the heads of state to consider.

Top on the agenda is giving direction to the Community after what has been a year of sluggish implementation of projects. The presidents are expected to track the progress of integrating South Sudan and decide whether it will be fully integrated into the EAC as from July. Already South Sudan has nominated its members for the East African Legislative Assembly and the East Africa Court of Justice as required under the process.

The presidents should give direction on whether South Sudan should appoint various commissioners to the various commissions of the EAC and on nomination of a representative for an executive position at the EAC Secretariat.

Another key issue is agreeing on a new funding model for the bloc’s budget. EAC ministers except Burundi have agreed to maintain the existing equal contributions with sanctions for default. The alternative is a hybrid financing mechanism, with a certain percentage of equal contributions and a separate proportion based on equity, solidarity and equality.

Also on the table is the phasing out of importation of used textiles and footwear, which was to be undertaken over three years starting in 2016.

The presidents are also expected to pass into law Bills passed by EALA, which include the EAC Customs Management (Amendment) Bill 2016, the EAC Appropriation Bill 2016 and the EAC Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2016.

The heads of state are also expected to discuss the report on the Status of Implementation of the EAC Common Market where one of the pending matters is mutual recognition of business certificates from each other and elimination of double taxation for companies operating across borders.

At the recent EAC Council of ministers meeting, the EAC ministers requested Tanzania to expedite the process of reviewing its legal framework and finalise internal consultations on harmonisation of work permit fees by September.

The request followed a recent move by the Tanzanian government to reduce residence permit fees to $500 from $2,000 for EAC citizens seeking to stay and work in Tanzania. Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have waived work permit fees but Tanzania and Burundi are yet to ratify the deal.

The other key issue to be discussed is the report of the Joint Security Assessment Mission to the Republic of Burundi.

The Economic Partnership Agreement with Europe, which has split EAC members down the middle, is not expected to feature prominently on the agenda, with Tanzania insisting the impact of the agreement be fully assessed.

East Africa

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 »

Kenya: Ransomware Hits 14 Servers in Kenya

By Stella Cherono

Since Friday last week, a wave of unprecedented cyberattacks has swept across the globe, with over 350 companies and hundreds of thousands of computers in 152 countries affected by Wednesday morning.

The attack by a computer worm or ransomware called WannaCry’ (Wanna Decryptor) targets the Microsoft Windows operating system, encrypts files and demands that the user pay ransom before being allowed to continue using the computer.

MULTINATIONALS

On Tuesday, computer forensics and data recovery company East Africa Data Handlers said it had received 14 cases of servers that had been affected by the ransomware.

Among these clients are two multinationals, which had the entire 15-year data manipulated and lost.

Managing Director George Njoroge said the company has been able to fix and restore the servers for five of the companies but admitted that it was unable to fix those from two other firms.

“The malware has different variations and sometimes the companies come with the complaint when it has already been manipulated even more,” Mr Njoroge said.

The data recovery, he said, is costly and takes time, and that may interfere with the smooth running of businesses.

PHISHING

The existence of the malware in the country has been confirmed by the country’s cybersecurity response agency, the National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Centre, or KE-CIRT-CC.

Mr Njoroge warned that many companies in the country are at risk of being attacked by the ransomware.

“The biggest problem is that companies and individuals don’t upgrade their security infrastructure, mostly because of the current economic challenges,” he said, adding that the best solution is to keep pace with the dynamic changes in technology.

He tipped companies to completely switch off and isolate affected computer(s) from the network immediately after they discover they have been attacked by the malware and call in experts to remove the programme.

“Computer users should also avoid opening links whose sources they do not know as the main carrier of the malware is phishing,” he said.

Phishing scams are sent through emails appearing to be from genuine and famous companies with the aim of acquiring information and installing malicious software.

RANSOM

Mr Njoroge urged companies to back up their data and block certain untrusted websites from their servers.

Simon Kipruto, the head of the cybercrime unit at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, said no company or individual had reported a cyberattack, adding that most companies choose to solve such problems without reporting them to the police.

Globally, companies that had been affected by the attack told the media that the attackers demanded that they pay ransom in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

The ransomware works by encrypting files and making them inaccessible and unreadable, before asking the user to pay a specific amount of money in order to access their own data.

The frozen-screen warnings are much the same as those that started in Britain and spread across the world, reports Charlie D’Agata, a correspondent for America’s CBS TV network.

The “WannaCry,” malware programme that has held the globe in the grip of fear was first uncovered in documents stolen from the US National Security Agency, exposing a vulnerability in Microsoft’s operating systems.

BACKUP

So far, the attack has affected big users such as Britain’s National Health Service, FedEx, transport company Deusche Bahn and airline company Latam.

On Sunday, Kenya’s Communications Authority (CA) warned about the attack, which is spread through e-mail phishing, and asked users to take caution.

The authority also urged Kenyans to keep an offline backup of their documents and files so that they can restore them in case they are attacked.

CA Director-General Francis Wangusi, while discouraging people from paying ransom as there is no guarantee the files would be restored, said once the attack hits one computer, it tries to spread to all computers in the network.

He urged organisations and individuals to ensure that they have good and updated anti-virus programmes installed in their computers to safeguard their data from the malicious software.

Ms Geek Africa Winner On Her Project and Future Plans

Photo: The New Times

First Lady Jeannette Kagame hands Ms Geek Africa winner Waiganjo her prize.

interviewBy Sharon Kantengwa

This year, Girls in ICT Rwanda in partnership with Smart Africa secretariat expanded the competition to all its member states to crown the first ever Ms. Geek Africa. Among the top 17 contestants from various transform Africa member states, Ruth Njeri Waigano, emerged the winner of the 2017 Miss Geek Africa and walked away with a Rwf3 million cash prize that was presented to her by First Lady Jeannette Kagame. The event concluded last week at the Kigali Convention Centre. She had a chat with Women Today’s Sharon Kantengwa about her project and opportunities for the future.

Tell us about yourself?

I am studying Computer Science at the University of Nairobi and I’m in my fourth and final year. I love technology because it’s so broad and things keep changing so you have to keep learning. I like reading books; they say that the book is always better than the movie. I read self-help books to help me become better.

Tell us about your project and what inspired it?

In my school when you get to fourth year, you are required to come up with a project, so I had to think of a project to do. A very nice professor gave us project suggestions and mentioned that there was a project he was working on where they were collecting data from matatus (public transportation) in Kenya. He told us one of the things that the data could be used for is driver profiling, and I decided to take up the idea.

When an accident happens, an insurance company doesn’t have real time information showing when, how, who and where the incident occurred. They rely on Police inspection reports that are sometimes not accurate. My technology solution responds to transport problems like frequent accidents and collects data through a mobile app, ‘Safe Drive’. The data will not only be used in driver profiling, but also, analysing the data on the road and can alert the driver of traffic congestion on a route.

Are there chances that your project will be developed into a fully functioning solution for Africa?

I’m currently working on it as a fourth year project in school, and maybe with that I can test it out and see the response it gets first in Kenya. It is a good project, especially for improving road safety.

How popular is tech innovation amongst school going girls in Kenya?

It is not as popular as it is in Rwanda. I was surprised to find the youngest among us in the Ms Geek competition was Crystal who is 16. My sister is 16 as well, but she is not exposed to technology innovation like that. There are, however, some competitions called ‘science congress’ where high schoolers also innovate. I attended one in high school and now there are programmes being carried out to teach high school girls to code, so the next step I guess might be innovation.

During your time as Ms Geek do you see yourself changing the state of affairs in regards to girls involving themselves in STEM?

I knew I had to share my story on how I got to Ms Geek in order for more girls to reach out for these opportunities. I had also started a mentorship programme before coming to Ms Geek in my school to mentor the first and second year female students.

This was a competition that involved ideas from several African states. Did you think that you could win?

I wanted to, I knew I could, but the other projects were good and the other girls were good as well. So there wasn’t a point where I was sure, but I knew all I had to do was my best.

During the competition, why do you think you beat the other girls?

I think it’s because I worked on the questions the judges had asked previously in-depth and totally incorporated in my pitch. With the questions they asked in the final pitch, I was able to answer most of them nicely showing I really knew about my project.

Rwanda: New Deal Seeks to Encourage Investments in Youth Agribusiness

By Elias Hakizimana

Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF) has signed a five-year partnership with Ghanaian African Agribusiness Incubation Network (AAIN) to support youth in agribusiness.

The partnership is hinged on encouraging the youth to change their attitude and invest some money before seeking support from other partners as well as mobilising funding for youth agribusinesses.

Alex Ariho, the chief executive of AAIN, said the first capital is information and positive attitude.

“It is important that African youth and, particularly youth in Rwanda, acknowledge that they have got the first capital; the first capital in business is attitude you have toward what you intend to do, the second capital is information,” Ariho said.

“I am happy to hear that the youth here are very active in terms of using ICT. If you are able to use social media, to use journalism to create a positive attitude to investors about investing, the third capital will come when you already have the two fundamental elements of investments: information and positive attitude.”

He identified capital in different forms, including human capital, infrastructure, technology, seed investment and policy framework.

“For the youth to propose or to start businesses and create jobs, they need the four elements. We are committed to that partnership and will achieve it because youth have the four forms of capital,” Ariho said.

He added that their priority in terms of investing in the youth will be to pick the four elements and package them into collaborative framework, between the African Agribusiness Incubator Network and the Government of Rwanda.

Ariho said they will also build youth capacity to learn successful businesses using incubation models particularly mentoring.

“Of course, we also target direct investment in youth trade and investments where we make sure that there is output and input market infrastructure development for the products that are produced by African youth, by the Rwandan youth and consumed there. We will ensure that in the next five to 10 years, we have created a number of jobs and increased income in households, among smallholder farmers, in SMEs and created new businesses,” Ariho noted.

Speaking to the media, Jean Baptiste Hategekimana, the chairperson of RYAF, said the initiative will benefit more than 1,400 youths from the five clusters of the forum by equipping them with skills and other resources.

He said they expected fruitful impact from the agreement with AAIN because the signing comes after they have already begun working together.

“We do believe that with this partnership, we will be able to learn from other youth in Africa and learn through the ways they have passed and succeeded,” Hategekimana said.

“As we are only a year into the forum, these people are experts on the continent and if we can plan a project together to train 200 youth or equip them with other support as well as bringing investors, it will be easy for us to understand the philosophy of success as we will be working with professionals in certain programmes,” Hategekimana said.

Donat Nishyirembere, the in-charge of youth entrepreneurship at the National Youth Council, said the youth can gain from the incubation network to shape their ideas.

“The National Youth Council commits to support this initiative as we believe it will ensure access to the global markets and increase capacity for youth; and they will be able to take their businesses to another level,” said Nishyirembere.

Pacifique Uwineza, the chairperson of chamber for youth entrepreneurs at the Private Sector Federation, said through networking, the youth will learn from each other in terms of job creation.

How Rwanda Can Leverage Financial Technology to Drive Inclusion

By Julius Bizimungu

A two-day conference dubbed, “Dot Finance Africa,” opened in Kigali yesterday with experts in finance and information technology sectors calling for leveraging of financial technology (FinTech) to drive financial inclusion.

The second edition of the Dot Finance Africa (DFA) conference is one of the largest gatherings of financial technology professionals.

It brings together more than 500 financial industry leaders from 60 countries. It is being held under the theme, “Transforming Africa for the FinTech Age.”

Speaking during the opening ceremony at the Kigali Convention Centre, Dr Diane Karusisi, the chief executive of Bank of Kigali, said digital services are raising the competitive bar in every sector of the economy, one of which is the banking field.

Karusisi added that FinTech has unprecedented role in driving financial services.

“Financial services field is among sectors set to be disrupted by digital innovations in Africa and worldwide. FinTech is not disrupting traditional financial services providers but complementing them to meet needs of unbanked population. It is playing a significant role as facilitator of economic growth to transform Africa,” she said.

“As a banker, I see huge opportunities in FinTech solutions, which will harness new technologies to lower transaction costs. With digital innovations, we can also deal with inefficiencies in several value chains especially in agriculture. Banks also have a chance to tap into big data to improve product offering and access to credit for SMEs, consumers.”

While advances in digital financial services are promoting inclusion and creating new opportunities for many people in Africa who are still excluded from access to formal financial services, experts underscored the need for financial services operators to develop customer-centric innovations.

Lucy Mbabazi, the country manager of Visa, said it is critical for financial services operators to innovate around the customer needs as financial services sector continues to be disrupted.

“Every technology innovation can be promising, but those that are interoperable, consumer-centric, secure, and tap into the power of mobile phones, are more promising. As FinTech is driving financial services, operators need to innovate around the needs of the people,” she said during a panel discussion.

Benjamin Nyakeriga, the chief development officer at the Development Bank of Rwanda, said that while banks are currently undergoing massive shifts as technology advances, more services and products are being created.

Yves Eonnet, the chief executive of TagPay, a mobile financial service platform helping mobile money providers reach millions, said FinTech is creating challenges as it disrupts traditional value-chain and business models, and new mechanisms should be devised to ensure consumer-protection in a rapidly-changing technology environment.

He urged banks to play an important role to facilitate digital payments and transactions in their local economies in order to drive financial inclusion.

Experts indicated that having such big conferences gives them a platform to share experiences and learn from other players to really step up digital capabilities, as well as create more partnerships with different countries.

Rwanda: How Rwanda Can Leverage Financial Technology to Drive Inclusion

By Julius Bizimungu

A two-day conference dubbed, “Dot Finance Africa,” opened in Kigali yesterday with experts in finance and information technology sectors calling for leveraging of financial technology (FinTech) to drive financial inclusion.

The second edition of the Dot Finance Africa (DFA) conference is one of the largest gatherings of financial technology professionals.

It brings together more than 500 financial industry leaders from 60 countries. It is being held under the theme, “Transforming Africa for the FinTech Age.”

Speaking during the opening ceremony at the Kigali Convention Centre, Dr Diane Karusisi, the chief executive of Bank of Kigali, said digital services are raising the competitive bar in every sector of the economy, one of which is the banking field.

Karusisi added that FinTech has unprecedented role in driving financial services.

“Financial services field is among sectors set to be disrupted by digital innovations in Africa and worldwide. FinTech is not disrupting traditional financial services providers but complementing them to meet needs of unbanked population. It is playing a significant role as facilitator of economic growth to transform Africa,” she said.

“As a banker, I see huge opportunities in FinTech solutions, which will harness new technologies to lower transaction costs. With digital innovations, we can also deal with inefficiencies in several value chains especially in agriculture. Banks also have a chance to tap into big data to improve product offering and access to credit for SMEs, consumers.”

While advances in digital financial services are promoting inclusion and creating new opportunities for many people in Africa who are still excluded from access to formal financial services, experts underscored the need for financial services operators to develop customer-centric innovations.

Lucy Mbabazi, the country manager of Visa, said it is critical for financial services operators to innovate around the customer needs as financial services sector continues to be disrupted.

“Every technology innovation can be promising, but those that are interoperable, consumer-centric, secure, and tap into the power of mobile phones, are more promising. As FinTech is driving financial services, operators need to innovate around the needs of the people,” she said during a panel discussion.

Benjamin Nyakeriga, the chief development officer at the Development Bank of Rwanda, said that while banks are currently undergoing massive shifts as technology advances, more services and products are being created.

Yves Eonnet, the chief executive of TagPay, a mobile financial service platform helping mobile money providers reach millions, said FinTech is creating challenges as it disrupts traditional value-chain and business models, and new mechanisms should be devised to ensure consumer-protection in a rapidly-changing technology environment.

He urged banks to play an important role to facilitate digital payments and transactions in their local economies in order to drive financial inclusion.

Experts indicated that having such big conferences gives them a platform to share experiences and learn from other players to really step up digital capabilities, as well as create more partnerships with different countries.

Rwanda: University of Rwanda Surgical Students in Voluntary Circumcision Awareness Campaign

By Eddie Nsabimana

Surgical students at University of Rwanda have launched an HIV prevention mobilisation week through voluntary medical male ircumcision.

The launch took place on Saturday in Rusororo Sector in Gasabo District as part of the students’ workshop on surgical and non surgical circumcision and practice.

The weeklong drive was organised by UR Surgical Students’ Association in collaboration with Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Rwanda Military Hospital, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and JHPIEGO, Partners in Health IH and Masaka Hospital to reduce the risk of the community contracting HIV/AIDS.

The awareness campaign features HIV/AIDS prevention and voluntary testing and counselling with the target to break myths concerning the procedures.

Sister Catherine, the head of Kabuga Health Centre, hailed the students’ initiative, calling on residents to embrace circumcision.

“Prevention is better than cure; HIV has no cure, so I hope the initiative will help beneficiaries embrace male surgical circumcision to reduce HIV risks,” she said.

Risk groups

The World Health Organisation indicates that HIV/AIDS is more prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, while Rwanda is among constituent countries where the youth are more affected than any other age group.

Circumcision protects up to 60 per cent in case of unprotected sex, Charles Berabose, the director of outreach, events and mentorship at University of Rwanda Surgical Students Society and coordinator, said.

“We need to make our contribution to a healthy and HIV/AIDS free community, especially the youth, to reduce their risk of contracting HIV virus through public awareness on circumcision, which we believe can play a big impact in slowing down the disease,” he said.

The campaign is part of preparation for the upcoming free circumcision exercise scheduled between July 2 and 10 at Kabuga Health Centre.

The University of Rwanda Surgical Students’ Society targets to circumcise at least 600 people during the week.

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