Posts tagged as: united

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 »

Rwanda: 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 »

Museveni Directive On Torture Good Opportunity to Rein in Police

columnBy Karoli Ssemogerere

President Museveni has hit the nail on the head summarising the futility of torture as a method of investigation. When with each passing murder, police publicly announces it will leave no stone unturned in bringing the culprits to justice; it essentially renews its free rein to do all and the unthinkable to cover up the episode and move on.

With the murder of AIGP Felix Kaweesi in March, a raw nerve finally seems to have hit the nation’s conscience. It goes without saying that key aspects of this murder were not different from prior murders of Joan Kagezi, Maj Kiggundu and others. These were signature crimes.

The group that has executed a number of Muslim clerics operates in a slightly different manner but with the same result. President Museveni seems to recognise this. He is also brutally honest by admitting the negative effect these events are having on the prospects of the country.

The elite group the President wrote to is perhaps the most educated group ever at the helm of the armed offices and police. Both police and the army are in the hands of highly qualified lawyers. Gen Muhoozi graduated at the top of his class and Gen Kale Kayihura graduated from Makerere as well. Below them may be some enforcers, Brig Peter Elwelu the Deputy CDF, was active in the Kasese operations; itself a joint army-police investigation that are still under a range of investigations.

By the time the President spoke out, a number of key events had taken place showing that things are getting out of control.

First was a bungled up investigation into the murder of the late Kawesi. If the case were to come up before a jury, none of the persons arrested would ever be found guilty given the mystery of where these people in the scores were found with little or no connection to the crime. This is a case where police in its wisdom did not find it fit to deploy sniffer dogs. This is also a case where police simply overwhelmed the national identification databases with fingerprints without giving a lawful justification why they kept on bringing fingerprints without pause.

Second was the failure of Parliament through the relevant committee, to get any information out of police why it was abusing its powers. Scenes from this committee show that save for three MPs, no one was willing to extract accountability from the leadership of police.

Third, the outcome of police’s foray into politics has destroyed the necessary barrier between the armed forces and police and the political process removing a key check and balance. This level of familiarity is a major risk factor in coups and instability.

The President must also have spoken from disappointment. The much hyped PR events by police on the progress they were making fell flat on their face when stories of firing cops were soon replaced with permanent images of a local politician in Kamwenge in the press complete with rotting knees and raw human flesh.

When the suspects were brought to court, they had impaired mobility. Uganda is a party to the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) of the United Nations that bars the use of torture, inhumane and degrading treatment. In 2012, Uganda domesticated this Convention through the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act enacted in 2012. It is shocking that a whole Deputy Attorney General of Uganda is not aware of this fact.

The Minister of Security, Gen Henry Tumukunde, at a lower level has started speaking out against police excesses and police brutality. He knows a thing or two having been in the system before being ejected in 2005. He also perhaps has fresh memories of how he was shot at in the 2016 elections.

The country must quickly unite against the vision of barbarism and lawlessness. We must restore value to human life!

Mr Ssemogerere is an Attorney-at-Law and an Advocate.

Uganda

Are Police Harbouring Criminal Syndicate Within the Force?

Some weeks ago, President Museveni made a candid statement about the police, which I believe most Ugandans applauded.… Read more »

East Africa: Protectionist Policies Are Killing EAC’s Aviation Sector, Warn Experts

By Njiraini Muchira

East Africa’s governments have to decide whether to open up their airspace to competition or continue protecting national airlines that are struggling to remain airborne.

Protectionism, which has been sustaining local carriers, has impeded the growth of the aviation industry and has been blamed for the current exorbitant airfares. And now, regional governments are faced with the hard decision of opening the skies or maintaining the status quo.

Although Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi are part of the 44 African states that adopted the Yamoussoukro Declaration, which calls for open skies across the continent, the East Africa Community states have been reluctant to comply for fear of killing local airlines.

The Yamoussoukro Declaration, named after the Ivorian city in which it was agreed in 1999, calls for full liberalisation of the intra-African air transport market by removing all restrictions on access, prices, frequency and capacity.

But the refusal by the EAC bloc to liberalise regional skies is impacting not only the growth of the sector but also tourism and trade, investment, productivity, employment and economic growth.

Benefits of open skies

A new study by consulting firm InterVISTAS on the costs and benefits of open skies in the EAC shows that while aviation in other parts of the world has been recording growth due to liberalisation, in the region it is growing at a snail’s pace.

Over the past decade, intra-EAC traffic has grown by an annual average of 3.4 per cent, compared with an average GDP growth of 7 per cent per annum over the same period.

Although other factors such as regulation, taxes and infrastructure have contributed to the slow growth, the failure by governments to open up their skies has denied the region the benefits that come with market-driven competition.

Experts say liberalisation of East Africa’s airspace would contribute $200 million annually to the bloc’s GDP and create an additional 46,320 jobs. Passenger traffic would also increase at an average of 46 per cent annually.

“Air service liberalisation leads to increased air service levels and lower fares, which in turn stimulates additional traffic volumes and can bring about increased economic growth and employment,” said Rick Russell, InterVISTAS vice-president for aviation services.

Mr Russell pointed to sectors such as telecommunications, utilities, railways and other sectors, where liberalisation has brought about competition and benefits to the economy.

Costly domestic air travel

In East Africa, the domestic air transport market remains protected, translating into low accessibility and affordability.

“Air transport in East Africa is expensive, with high airfares and freight charges,” said Lilian Awinja, executive director of the East Africa Business Council. For instance, a return ticket between Dar es Salaam and Bujumbura costs $988, compared with $850 for a return ticket between Dar es Salaam and Dubai, and $1,410 between Dar es Salaam and New York.

Worse still, one cannot fly directly from Bujumbura to Dar es Salaam; it takes six hours to connect via Nairobi. At times, the journey takes 13 hours, involving three connections.

Currently, Kenya Airways and its budget carrier JamboJet dominate the regional skies, flying to 12 routes out of the 22. The Kenyan national carrier which last week appointed Polish national Sebastian Mikosz as chief executive officer to spearhead its turnaround after several years of tottering on the brink of insolvency.

Late last year, Air Tanzania, which for many years has performed poorly, due to lack of aircraft, was given a shot in the arm when President John Magufuli announced it will in June 2017 acquire a B787-8 to begin longhaul flights to the United States, China, and Russia.

“Governments have a duty to protect their airlines and that is why we are not able to walk the talk in the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision,” said Daniel Malanga, acting director of economic regulation at the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority.

To ensure that local airlines are protected from global carriers seeking to exploit opportunities in the region, governments have opted for bilateral air services agreements, through which they impose exorbitant taxes, landing fees and air navigation charges. Across the region, passengers pay an average of $45 in taxes in each country while airlines pay an average of $350 for an Airbus 320 in the main international airports.

The high cost of air travel in the region has significantly contributed to the stunting of the growth of intra-EAC traffic, with the total existing demand being 2.6 million passengers, excluding domestic services.

While liberalisation will allow new carriers to enter the EAC market, it will offer local airlines a means to restructure and increase profitability by expanding into new markets and gaining access to a wider pool of investment.

LIBERALISATION BENEFITS

AIRFARES IN East Africa could go as low as 9 per cent, if partner states fully liberalise their airspace, according to a new study. This will in turn stimulate passenger demand and increase flight frequencies within the region by 41 per cent.

The study, Costs and Benefits of Open Skies in the East African Community, conducted by the EAC Secretariat and the East African Business Council in collaboration with the Department for International Development and the East African Research Fund estimates that liberalisation of airspace could result in an additional jobs and GDP growth. Other studies have found that liberalisation has led to increased traffic volumes, greater connectivity and choice and lower fares.

Sectors such as tourism are highly dependent on good air access, and East Africa Tourism Association is calling for affordable air transport for the EAC residents. “It is time to recognise the potential of East Africa as a source market. EAC residents should be encouraged to travel within their own countries and region,” the association said.The study recommends open skies and harmonisation of taxation of air passengers and air service charges in the EAC. Other recommendations are improvement aviation infrastructure and security, training of aviation professionals, more private sector investments and removal of foreign ownership restrictions.

By Christabel Ligami

East Africa: Jumia Travel Launches Loyalty Program

Jumia Travel announced the launch of a loyalty program which will allow customers to secure an additional 10 percent to 20 percent exclusive discount on select hotels.

Per a press statement, the discounts will also extend to all other listed Jumia Travel products such as flight bookings and holiday packages. Aimed at rewarding loyal and returning customers as well as adding value to joining customers, the program carries incentives such as free airport pick up, early check-in and late check-out, refreshments and personalized service delivery.

“Our priority is to ensure that travel becomes universally accessible and affordable throughout Africa and the rest of the globe in line with United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) vision on ‘Tourism for all – promoting universal accessibility’. We are pleased to unveil this program as a way of showing appreciation to our customers. Through the Jumia Travel Smart customer initiative, our hotel partners will also benefit from growing brand loyalty, as well as lowered cost of acquisition through continued awareness”. Estelle Verdier, Managing Director for Jumia Travel expressed in a statement.

Per the company, the program is available to all registered customers on the Jumia e-Commerce ecosystem, and will automatically enable them to view all hotels offering Jumia Travel Smart deals. Travelers can participate by logging into their Jumia account which is acquired upon registration. This will give them access to the best available rates in the market, thereby automatically giving them an edge in price comparison. The prices showcased will be listed from top ranking hotels as reviewed and recommended by previous customers, coupled with special negotiated rates that will exclusively apply to Jumia Travel Smart customers.

East Africa

Nation Needs More Action, Less Lip Service

Drought, a lack of security and inclusive politics, unemployment and poverty, piracy and the terror group al-Shabaab… Read more »

Liberia: UNAIDS, Chinese Television Giant Sign Agreement for HIV Awareness in Africa

By Alpha Daffae Senkpeni

Beijing — International effort for the prevention, testing and treatment of HIV/AIDS in Africa is gaining significant progress, with the latest being an agreement signed between the United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) and Chinese digital television provider, StarTimes.

According to the agreement, StarTimes and UNAIDS will work together to increase awareness of HIV and to reduce stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV and whose live affected by HIV across the broadcast networks of StarTimes that are available throughout the African continent.

During the signing ceremony at UNAIDS office in Beijing on Friday, May 12, Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Executive Director, expressed optimism about controlling the spread of the epidemic when people have the knowledge of protecting themselves.

Mr. Sidibi, also Under Secretary General of the United Nations, was thrilled by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding but said “with all the success being made against the virus, there’s need to double efforts in order to reach zero affection, zero death and zero stigmatization and discrimination.”

StarTimes Group President, Pang Xinxing, asserted that mankind is on the road to victory against the epidemic but said there are lingering challenges like messages of prevention, education and awareness about the virus not reaching to everyone.

Mr. Pang emphasized the “very important” role the media can play in fighting against HIV/AIDS across Africa, adding that he “firmly believes if more hands are join together, zero deaths, zero infection, and zero discrimination can be achieved.”

Continued Mr. Pang: “StarTimes has decided to work with UNAIDS because we have the capacity and we have our own social responsibility and that’s why we joined hands together.”

The firm says it started HIV/AIDS awareness on its network back in 2016 and was even engaged with Ebola messages in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Guinea during the virus outbreak in West Africa between 2014 and 2015.

This agreement allows StarTimes to broadcast HIV/AIDS messages about prevention, early testing and treatment to over 45 countries in Africa without any cost to the UN agency, something the UNAIDS executive director said will be effective “because the messages will extend from few countries to many more on the continent”.

“The major challenge for us is testing, because we have people who are HIV positive and do not know,” Sidibe said. “If we continue at the same pace and accelerate, we will be able to put more people on treatment and reduce the transmission at 95% from person to person,” adding that there are over 12 million people in Africa that are on treatment.

UNAIDS has an ‘ambitious treatment for all’ plan captured in its 90-90-90 objective which looks to put over 30 million people on treatment, ensure 90% of people living with the virus know their status, are put on antiretroviral, and achieve virus suppression before 2020.

Experts say widening awareness about the virus is one surest way of achieving this ‘ambitious’ target. The Chinese digital television company says it is determine to help make people in Africa aware of the virus because its signal has reached about 10,000 villages on the continent ever since Chinese President Xi Jinping assured Africa at the 2013 Forum of China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) about improving its digital television capacity for people to have affordable digital television services.

Nyayo Stadium to Host Gor, Thika Kpl Match

[Capital FM] Nairobi -The Nyayo National Stadium which has been under renovation for the past six months will host Gor Mahia’s Kenyan Premier League home match against Thika United on Sunday, just a fortnight after opening its gates for the Mashemeji Derby.

Stop Mercury-Containing Substance

By Hellen Nachilongo

Environmental health stakeholders are calling for the passing of legislations in Tanzania that will ban the use of dental amalgam, a liquid mercury and metal mixture used by dentists in the treatment of tooth decay.

The goal is to further to protect children, pregnant women and all people in the general population from the health risks associated with the substances containing mercury.

Information from World Health Organization (WHO) shows that mercury may have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.

Mercury is considered by the WHO as one of the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern.

Amalgam, is a combination of metals that has been the most popular and effective filling material used in dentistry for the last 150 years, however, some health experts have raised concerns about the use of amalgam because it contains mercury.

“Now as we speak, some countries in the European Union EU and the United Kingdom have passed legislations to ban the use of dental amalgam for children and pregnant women,” says Ms Fransica Katagira, chairperson for Agenda for Environment and Responsible Development (Agenda).

Bangladesh and Ivory Coast are currently in the process of amending their dentists training curricular, according to Ms Fransica.

Amalgam is less costly compared to other materials. It also holds up better over time, especially in teeth that undergo a lot of pressure and wear when people chew.

She believes, an agreement, known as The Minamata Convention on Mercury; which is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from the risks of mercury is useful in dealing with the problem.

The treaty was adopted in Kumamoto, Japan in October 2013 to safeguard humans and the environment from mercury and its compounds against pollution.

The convention, Ms Katagira says, would also help the country deliver on the commitment to protect the environment, the health of Tanzanians and the global population from mercury emissions.

Ms Katagira says there are studies showing that dental amalgam contains 50 per cent mercury; which is considered to be poisonous for the nervous system. However, she suggests, there are alternatives to the dental amalgam.

“Mercury free dentistry protects people’s heath and their environment. It is due to that fact that 40 African Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) endorsed the Abuja Deceleration for Mecury – Free Dentistry for Africa which was developed by their representatives met in Nigeria 2014,” she said during a recent workshop to discuss the way forward on the passing of legislation against mercury. The declaration states that Africa shall be the first continent to end amalgam use.

But this is possible if countries set up enabling policies including the amendment of dental school curricula to ensure that dentists at all levels receive adequate knowledge and skills on the use of mercury free dental fillings.

Tanzania: Stop Mercury-Containing Substance

By Hellen Nachilongo

Environmental health stakeholders are calling for the passing of legislations in Tanzania that will ban the use of dental amalgam, a liquid mercury and metal mixture used by dentists in the treatment of tooth decay.

The goal is to further to protect children, pregnant women and all people in the general population from the health risks associated with the substances containing mercury.

Information from World Health Organization (WHO) shows that mercury may have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.

Mercury is considered by the WHO as one of the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern.

Amalgam, is a combination of metals that has been the most popular and effective filling material used in dentistry for the last 150 years, however, some health experts have raised concerns about the use of amalgam because it contains mercury.

“Now as we speak, some countries in the European Union EU and the United Kingdom have passed legislations to ban the use of dental amalgam for children and pregnant women,” says Ms Fransica Katagira, chairperson for Agenda for Environment and Responsible Development (Agenda).

Bangladesh and Ivory Coast are currently in the process of amending their dentists training curricular, according to Ms Fransica.

Amalgam is less costly compared to other materials. It also holds up better over time, especially in teeth that undergo a lot of pressure and wear when people chew.

She believes, an agreement, known as The Minamata Convention on Mercury; which is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from the risks of mercury is useful in dealing with the problem.

The treaty was adopted in Kumamoto, Japan in October 2013 to safeguard humans and the environment from mercury and its compounds against pollution.

The convention, Ms Katagira says, would also help the country deliver on the commitment to protect the environment, the health of Tanzanians and the global population from mercury emissions.

Ms Katagira says there are studies showing that dental amalgam contains 50 per cent mercury; which is considered to be poisonous for the nervous system. However, she suggests, there are alternatives to the dental amalgam.

“Mercury free dentistry protects people’s heath and their environment. It is due to that fact that 40 African Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) endorsed the Abuja Deceleration for Mecury – Free Dentistry for Africa which was developed by their representatives met in Nigeria 2014,” she said during a recent workshop to discuss the way forward on the passing of legislation against mercury. The declaration states that Africa shall be the first continent to end amalgam use.

But this is possible if countries set up enabling policies including the amendment of dental school curricula to ensure that dentists at all levels receive adequate knowledge and skills on the use of mercury free dental fillings.

Experts Discuss Continent’s Security Challenges

Photo: Michel Nkurunziza/The New Times

African Army leaders discussing contemporary security challenges in Africa.

By Michel Nkurunziza

A three-day national security symposium opened, yesterday, at the Rwanda Defence Force Command and Staff College in Musanze District with contemporary security challenges in Africa on the agenda of discussion.

The symposium is part of course five at the College to benefit 47 students from Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal.

The symposium is looking into contemporary approaches to fighting terrorism and challenges, climate change and its implications for Africa’s security and development.

Other areas of discussion are strategies and challenges in eradicating armed groups in the Great Lakes region, cyber security as national security imperative, assessment of UN peace support operations for its success, its failures and way forward.

Officiating at the opening session, Defence minister James Kabarebe said the symposium is an opportunity to bring together academic setting, national security practitioners, scholars, analysts and students to deal with subjects of national, regional and global importance.

“National security is a pillar and foundation for all our countries’ development. As countries engage in diplomatic and security operations, our partnerships could have no threats. That is why we are members of United Nations, African Union and other regional organisations that have the political and legal framework to address regional and security challenges,” he said.

Many African countries have persistently experienced security problems such as armed groups, conflicts, terrorism and governance as well as crimes such as drugs, human trafficking. All these require appropriate response mechanisms from within Africa itself, he added.

Maj Gen Jean Bosco Kazura, the commandant of the college, said the annual symposium helps students to understand the security situation worldwide and take measures when they are back to their country.

“As Africans, we are thinking of our security by analysing what causes problems in our continent and seek solutions,” he said.

Gen Kazura added that the symposium is also part of fifth anniversary of the Staff College since its inauguration in 2012, stressing that some lessons will be extracted to inform various researchers and students in their future assignment.

Lt Col Like Like, one of the students from Zambia, said the security aspects of every situation have to be understood.

“We learnt how to manage situations before they escalate because as military we have to provide leadership and direction where it is required,” he said.

Approach against terrorism

Nigerian army chief commander, Lt Gen Tukur Yuzuf Buratai, one of the panelists, observed that leadership challenges can cause failure in fighting terrorism.

“Several factors such as ethnic, political, religious groups are attributed to forming terrorism. However, leadership is key at all levels as well as compliance, coordination in fighting against terrorism. Other challenges in combating terrorism is under-development in some areas. Together with fighting that, there is need of developing special forces and well equipped troops across Africa to fight terrorists,” he said.

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