Friday, 31 July 2015

Africa’s new trade zone needs insurance backing

Sun City, South Africa - The recently launched African free trade area can succeed only if it is backed by good credit insurance that covers payment risk as well as political and country risk.

This is according to Gregory Nosworthy, managing director of Euler Hermes, the credit trade insurer and subsidiary of German insurer Allianz that opened its South African office in May this year.

The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) was launched in Egypt in June this year by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community. The three blocs bring together 26 countries with a population of around 625 million people and GDP of $1.6 trillion.

Nosworthy told a media briefing at the Insurance Conference: Africa Rising 2015, held at Sun City this week, that trade between African countries had increased by 300 percent over the past 10 years, albeit from a low base.

Euler Hermes underwrites $102 billion worth of trade between TFTA countries at present.

Nosworthy says the most important risk to underwrite is payment risk to ensure that an exporter of goods receives payment once the goods have reached a customer in another country.

The second risk to underwrite is country and political risk, which covers factors that could prevent a company from taking goods into or out of a country, most notably conflict or political upheaval, but also developments such as the outbreak of Ebola.

Euler Hermes currently underwrites 860 billion euros worth of global trade.

African skills initiative receives USD 60 mln investment has invested a sum of USD 60 million over three years to develop the next generation of technical talent in Africa. As part of the initiative, IBM is expanding the Africa Technical Academy and the company’s Africa University Programme to over 20 African countries.

IBM said IT professionals across the continent are set to benefit with advanced skills in analytics, cloud and big data technologies which are crucial to the next phase of Africa’s economic and social development.

In Kenya – home to IBM’s Africa Research lab and a state-of-the-art Innovation Center – IBM is partnering with the Kenya Education Network (KENET) to deliver advanced hands-on certification courses to faculty and students of 50 Kenyan universities over KENET’s broadband network. The certification courses will develop and enhance job market readiness among university students by providing the technical expertise that both employers and entrepreneurs require in order to succeed in a fast paced growth market like Kenya. The courses are available at no cost and are facilitated by both IBM online trainers and certified faculty in the participating universities.

IBM Technical Academy runs in parallel with IBM Africa University Programme, in which 80 Universities across the continent currently participate to enhance their curriculum. These universities provide their final year students with a range of business analytics, cyber security, data management, cloud and mobile technology training via the technical role based model applied in the IBM Technical Academy. Academic staff and students are supported by IBM’s team of experts, cloud-based resources and an IBM training and information portal.

Course are currently delivered in English. This will soon expand to French and later include other African languages.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Barclays Africa Hastens Talks to Buy Banks in Egypt, Zimbabwe

Barclays Africa Group Ltd. said talks to buy its parent company’s operations in Egypt and Zimbabwe have been accelerated following management changes at Barclays Plc.

“Our ambition is to do the acquisition of both, and the management changes have confirmed that that ambition will be realized,” Maria Ramos, chief executive officer of the Johannesburg-based lender, said Wednesday on a conference call. Barclays Executive Chairman John McFarlane “came to South Africa very shortly after his appointment and there’s very firm support for the Africa business,” she said.

McFarlane fired Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins this month and took control, saying he will boost revenue and double the share price over the next three to four years. Planned job cuts haven’t targeted the African operations, where the bank is seeking to expand in economies offering faster growth than more developed countries.

Barclays Africa is awaiting license approvals in Nigeria where it so far has a representative office for its corporate and investment bank. Expansion in Africa’s largest economy will be “organic,” Ramos said.

First-half profit climbed 9.8 percent to 6.77 billion rand ($539 million) in the six months through June after retail and business banking earnings rose, bad debts declined and it expanded African operations, the bank said in a statement on Wednesday. Earnings from the rest of the continent climbed by 22 percent, more than twice the pace of the 8 percent gain in South Africa.

Forex Probe
Diluted earnings per share excluding one-time items increased 11 percent to 7.97 rand and the bank declared an interim dividend of 4.50 rand per share, a 13 percent increase from the year before. The stock dropped 0.5 percent to 185.84 rand by 9:24 a.m. in Johannesburg. The local benchmark banking index was 0.3 percent lower.

Barclays Africa was named in May as among banks being investigated by South Africa’s Competition Commission for manipulating trading in the rand.

“We’ve had nothing from the Commission on this matter,” Ramos said, declining to comment further.

Barclays Africa is part of a group of banks working together to support loss-making South African clothing retailer Edcon Holdings Ltd., Ramos said. The lender has financial ties to Edcon through its private equity portfolio, through loans to the retailer and because of its ownership of Edcon’s 8 billion rand store-card business.

If Edcon were to fail, the card debt would become a collections book, Ramos said. Losses realized because of Edcon in the first six months weren’t “material,” she said.

In the next six months, Barclays Africa expects its net interest margin to widen “slightly” from 2014, it said in the statement. The bank foresees mid-single digit loan growth, with lending in corporate and investment banking increasing faster than retail and business banking.

Outrage over Cecil the lion's death in Africa: Trophy hunters are chiefly Americans beloved lion who usually roamed within the confines of an African conservation park is dead. An American hunter has been named by Zimbabwean officials as the killer of the animal. Many people are outraged.

The death of Cecil the lion also has some asking questions about the sizable role U.S. citizens play in the controversial sport of slaying wildlife for trophies.

“Americans are among the most bloodthirsty among citizens of the world when it comes to trophy hunting, in particular lions and elephants,“ said Jeff Flocken, North American regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. “It’s a small group of privileged Americans. Eighty percent or more of Americans want to see endangered species protected."

A $55,000 hunt
Cecil, a well-known lion with a distinctive black mane, was reportedly killed July 1 by crossbow just outside Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

According to news reports citing Zimbabwean authorities, Walter James Palmer, a dentist from Bloomington, Minn., paid about $55,000 for the hunt. Palmer has denied any wrongdoing, saying in a written statement that to his knowledge everything about his trip “was legal and properly handled and conducted."

In March, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe acknowledged that U.S. citizens make up “a disproportionately large share of foreign hunters who book trophy hunts in Africa.” Ashe noted that this activity provides the host countries with a way to manage their wildlife populations and support conservation efforts.

Laury Parramore, a spokeswoman with the Fish and Wildlife Service, told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday that, though the agency does not keep track of the number of Americans who book trophy hunting trips in Africa, it does count those who apply for permits to import their trophies. That figure, however, was not readily available, Parramore said.

An undesirable trend
Wildlife conservationists see what they describe as an undesirable trend.According to data from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the U.S. is the world’s largest importer of African lion parts for trophies and for commercial purposes. Between 1999 and 2008, U.S. citizens claimed 64% of the international market for lion parts. The data show that number has been increasing.

Flocken said the slaying of Cecil was particularly troubling because of the sharp decline in African lion populations, which have dropped nearly 60% in the last three decades. In addition, the killing of a dominant male in a pride, like Cecil, could result in the deaths of others in the group, Flocken said. Males from other prides who might be interested in the open leadership position created by Cecil's death could attack other males, cubs and protective females.

Charges in the case
Theo Bronkhorst, the professional hunter with Bushman Safaris, which guided Palmer's safari, and Honest Trymore Ndlovu, owner of Antoinette Farm, where Cecil was shot, are both facing criminal poaching charges. Cecil's killing was illegal because neither Bronkhorst or Ndlovu had permission to kill a lion, authorities said.

As part of conservation efforts, hunting licenses often restrict the type and quantity of animals that may be killed.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Bronkhorst and Ndlovu were expected to appear in court Wednesday and that authorities were searching for Palmer, who also faces poaching charges.

Parramore said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was “looking into the facts” of the lion’s killing and was “working with the Zimbabwean government as requested.”

'Deep regret'
Palmer has since expressed “deep regret” that his actions led to the death of Cecil, who had been found skinned and beheaded, according to AP.
In Africa, where many leaders cling to power, Obama's joke about a third term had an edge "I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt,” he said in the statement. “I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”

This has not quieted his critics, who took to social media with attacks, including condemnation of his dental practice on Twitter, Facebook and Yelp.

An online petition asking the American Dental Assn. to suspend Palmer had more than 1,400 signatures by Tuesday afternoon, and a petition demanding justice for Cecil had more than 166,000 signatures by late Tuesday.

Palmer’s hunting practices have come under scrutiny in the past. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to one count of making material false statements in relation to a poaching case in Wisconsin. He was sentenced to one year probation, a $2,938 fine and was forced to forfeit the black bear remains to the government.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

1000 African Entrepreneurs Gather In Nigeria for Tony Elumelu Foundation Boot Camp

640x4341000 entrepreneurs from across Africa gathered in Ota, Southwest Nigeria, between Friday and Saturday for an intensive two-day boot camp hosted by the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

The 1000 entrepreneurs were all part of the inaugural class of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), a multi-year program of training, funding, and mentoring, designed to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs traveled from across Africa – from Lusaka to LomĂ© and Cape Town to Casablanca for the event which was one of the largest gatherings of African entrepreneurs in recent times.

For the two days, the 1000 entrepreneurs who were accepted into TEEP enjoyed interactive sessions with successful entrepreneurs, business and political leaders who gave a series of speeches on business development, financial management, corporate governance and other facets of a successful enterprise. The programme culminated in an open mic session with Tony Elumelu, the Nigerian banker and philanthropist who is funding TEEP.

In 2014, Nigerian philanthropist Tony Elumelu pledged $100 million to create the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP). The programme plans to identify and help grow 10,000 exceptional start-ups and young businesses from across Africa over the next 10 years. These businesses are expected to create 1,000,000 new jobs and contribute $10 billion to Africa’s economy. The selected start-ups are selected from a pool of applicants across Africa and are mandated to participate in a grueling 12-week online business skills training course, mentoring, and entrepreneurship ‘boot camp.’ The Tony Elumelu Foundation provides each entrepreneur with $10,000 to support their businesses.

The 1000 Tony Elumelu entrepreneurs represented 51 African countries and territories, encompassing all regions and all major language blocs, as well as every state in Nigeria. The entrepreneurs represent a wide range of sectors, from fashion and ICT to agriculture and education to energy, fashion and ICT.

In his remarks, Elumelu told the entrepreneurs that he was investing in their success, while reiterating his belief that entrepreneurship was the way to drive Africa’s economic prosperity.

“I want to go to Zambia, when I am 80 years old and meet someone who shows me their manufacturing business or financial institution and tells me that it was built starting with $10,000 from Tony Elumelu. That is what this is about, and that is what you owe me,” he said. “The return I want from this $100 million investment is your success, because your success is Africa’s success,” he said.

Tony Elumelu, one of Nigeria’s wealthiest businessmen with a fortune in the region of $1 billion, is the chairman of Heirs Holdings, a proprietary African Investment Company.

Ethiopia & the Czechs Taking Bilateral Ties to a New High

GEESKAAmbassador Berhane Gebre-Christos, State Minister for foreign affairs, held on Monday (July 13) talks with Martin Tlapa, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic on the sidelines of the Third International Conference on Finance for Development in Addis Ababa. Ambassador Berhane, who noted that Ethiopia and the Czech Republic enjoy historic and excellent bilateral relations, upgrading these excellent ties will put both countries on the right path to score new achievements in mutually beneficial cooperation.

He also calls for a constant growth of bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade and investment. Martin Tlapa on his part said that his country has long-standing relations with Ethiopia, adding that Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia is invited to visit the Czech Republic.

The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs emphasized the importance of maintaining frequent high-level exchanges in order to plan for future growth of the bilateral relations of the two friendly countries. He also promised that the Government of the Czech Republic will help business persons to invest in Ethiopia with a view to expedite economic and trade cooperation. He also emphasized that the Czech Republic remains committed to work with Ethiopia in addressing the global problems such as terrorism and migration. Ambassador Berhane Gebre-Christos, who agreed that exchange of high-level visits is important to reinforce the relations of the two countries in all-rounded way, reiterated that Ethiopia is ready to cooperate with the Czech Republic so as to address issues like terrorism and migration. Ambassador Berhane pointing out that Africa is moving forward said Ethiopia is at the heart of this growth narrative. Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan II aimed at making Ethiopia a Middle Income country by 2025, the Ambassador said and improving business ties and sharing experiences with the Czech Republic will add a new vigor to the success of the goal of making Ethiopia a Middle Income country by 2025.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Africa sets deadline for free-trade area as regional blocs come together

extFor years African leaders have been touting the dream of greater continental integration, with a vision of people and goods criss-crossing borders, boosting job creation and driving development.

For all the talk there has been little action, and trade between Africa’s 54 nations has remained stubbornly low. The continent still predominantly relies on the export of raw materials and the import of finished products, primarily from China. Often African nations struggle to find a common voice as politics and regional and national interests stymie co-operation.

But African officials say the dynamics are shifting as heads of state at an African Union summit in Johannesburg today formally launch negotiations for a continental free-trade area. They have set the target of 2017 for the agreement to be implemented.

It is a highly ambitious goal in a hugely diverse continent. But Fatima Haram Acyl, AU commissioner for trade and industry, insists that the initiative is not mere rhetoric. African leaders, she says, realise that improving trade is critical to tackling the continent’s problems of unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment. She adds that Africa risks “missing the boat” as other regions push ahead with their own trade agreements.

“It is happening now because there’s a huge realisation that even when you talk about the peace and security of this continent, some of these root causes [of instability] are really underdevelopment,” Ms Acyl told the Financial Times. “The more and more we talk about it, we find out our real strength lies in our unity.”

A free-trade agreement would focus on breaking down trade barriers to improve the intracontinental flow of services and goods, while easing the movement of people by simplifying visa processes, she says.

The ultimate aim is to open a market that has a youthful, fast-growing population of about 1bn and a combined gross domestic product of $3tn, according to the AU.

As Ms Acyl points out, this month three regional trade blocs — the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) — signed a tripartite trade agreement that covers 26 states. The AU hailed the move as a stepping stone to even wider integration.

Africa has eight regional economic groups, such as Sadc and the EAC, but their success has been limited. Even though the continent has boasted many of the world’s fastest-growing economies in recent years, intra-Africa trade is a meagre 12 per cent of the total trade taking place there.

By contrast intra¬regional exports accounted for about 50 per cent of the total between 2007 and 2011 in developing Asia, 21 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 70 per cent in Europe, according to a 2013 report by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).

The EAC, which counts Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda among its members, has been the most successful bloc, with Africa’s share in its total trade amounting to 23 per cent from 2007 to 2011, says Unctad. For the Economic Community of West African States, the figure was 14.2 per cent. The numbers would be higher if informal trade were included, the agency adds.

Analysts caution that there are myriad hurdles to increasing African trade, not least the huge logistical, infrastructure and cost challenges of moving goods between countries.

“It’s so costly to take goods from point A to point B in the region, and it’s much cheaper because of the logistics to bring it all across from China,” says Razia Khan at Standard Chartered. “Infrastructure is still a massive drawback. How much can you proceed with this intent to liberalise trade if the infrastructure is not there?”

China is Africa’s biggest trade partner with trade volumes reaching $222bn last year, according to Standard Bank, which is based in Johannesburg. In comparison, South African trade with the rest of the continent was $41bn. South Africa is by far the continent’s most advanced economy with a sophisticated corporate sector. Most other African nations have tiny manufacturing bases.

Simon Freemantle, Africa analyst at Standard Bank, says there needs to be a structural change to economies to achieve a genuine boost in trade. “Maybe it’s the chicken and egg, and if you ease trade between borders that acts as a spur to invest in manufacturing,” he says.

“But you still need power, you still need skills, you still need the capacity to compete with China, and we are way off that.”

Ms Acyl remains bullish, arguing that the creation of a free-trade area would attract greater investment, which in turn would accelerate industrialisation and development.

“Right now our markets are too small, our economies are too fragmented to justify the big amount of investment we require for infrastructure,” she says. “When we have a free-trade agreement any company in the world will come and place themselves in Africa.”

ArcelorMittal asks S.Africa for steel tariff protection

YPKC1k1IAfrica's largest steel maker, ArcelorMittal South Africa ACLJ.J, has asked the government to impose a 10 percent import duty on steel and in return it may offer shares to black empowerment partners, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

Shares in the unit of the world's largest producer of steel are trading around their lowest levels in more than a decade and the company has said South Africa's high labour costs, poor rail infrastructure and slowing economy have forced it to consider cutting back operations and jobs.

The Sunday Times newspaper reported that steel baron Lakshmi Mittal was in South Africa in June, where he briefed President Jacob Zuma's government on the challenges in the steel industry and asked for intervention to counter cheap Chinese imports.

"Rome is burning, every single day the industry loses millions and it is really, really concerning," Paul O'Flaherty, the CEO of ArcelorMittal South Africa told the newspaper.

He said the local economy "is dead, there is just no infrastructure spend".

According to Thomson Reuters data, shares in the company have dropped over 60 percent in the last 12-months and 54.8 percent so far this year.

ArcelorMittal South Africa has not made a profit in the past five years and in exchange for protection from steel imports, the newspaper reported that Mittal would be prepared to offer shares to black South African consortiums.

"We are at a stage where the major shareholder understands that we need an ownership deal and we are putting plans in place to do one. However you need an industry that you can invest in," O'Flaherty said.

ArcelorMittal is expected to decide by the end of July on the future of its Vandebijlpark operations, outside Johannesburg, its biggest loss-maker, which employs 4,500 workers.

The company and government spokesmen could not be reached for comment.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

South Africa Raises About $2 Billion for Eskom from Vodacom

Vodacom-BallSouth Africa sold its entire stake in Vodafone Group Plc’s African unit for about 25 billion rand ($2 billion), raising funds for state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. amid a countrywide electricity shortage.

The 13.91 percent holding in Vodacom Group Ltd. was sold to the state-owned Public Investment Corp., Africa’s largest money manager, at a 10 percent discount to the 30-day average price, the National Treasury said in e-mailed statements on Wednesday. That means the government agreed to a sale price of about 25 billion rand, or 2.8 billion rand below the market value, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The sale of the Vodacom stake was the most viable option for ensuring that government was able to swiftly realize the proceeds and inject equity into Eskom to bolster the utility,” the Treasury said. “The PIC’s offer to government was in line with pricing quoted by other institutions when taking into account the large size of the stake.”

South Africa has worked out a 23 billion-rand bailout package for Eskom, which is building new plants to resolve the power shortage in the continent’s most-industrialized nation. The utility has a 225 billion-rand cash-flow shortfall and has been carrying out scheduled blackouts every other day this year as demand exceeds supply from aging power stations.

Neotel Approval
Vodacom shares traded 2.8 perc12 ent higher at 142.56 rand at the market close in Johannesburg, the highest since May 18. The stock is up percent this year, compared with a 4.3 percent gain on the FTSE/JSE Africa All-Share Index. On Tuesday, the company was granted provisional approval by South Africa’s Competition Commission to buy Internet provider Neotel Pty Ltd. for 7 billion rand.While the government isn’t on a “campaign to sell state assets,” the cabinet will conduct a review of corporate investments to determine if it wants to retain them, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene told reporters in Pretoria, the capital.

“We are on a campaign to make sure that what we have is what the state needs in order to pursue its development agenda but at the same time that we do not hang onto something that is not core to the government’s function,” he said.

South Africa holds a direct stake of just under 40 percent in fixed-line phone company Telkom SA SOC Ltd. The state also owns shares in companies including Kumba Iron Ore Ltd., Sappi Ltd. and Life Healthcare Group Holdings Ltd. through the Industrial Development Corp.

Fiscal Shortfall
Nene has pledged to provide Eskom with financial support in a way that doesn’t undermine the nation’s budget to avoid the risk of a credit-rating downgrade. The government is seeking to narrow the fiscal shortfall to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product in the year through March 2018 from an estimated 3.9 percent this year.

The PIC, which manages government workers’ pension money, becomes Vodacom’s largest shareholder after Newbury, England-based Vodafone. Vodacom has more than 61 million customers across Tanzania, Lesotho, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa.

“Vodacom is a well-managed blue-chip South African company with credible exposure in the rest of Africa and strongly underpinned by its corporate governance practices,” PIC Chief Executive Officer Daniel Matjila said in a statement. “Telecommunications is one of the key drivers for both economic and social development.”

Vodacom has “a constructive relationship” with the PIC, which has been a shareholder since the company started trading in Johannesburg in 2009, spokesman Richard Boorman said in an e-mailed statement.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Nigerian Philanthropist Tony Elumelu Calls For an End to Africa’s Energy Poverty

image3-569x1024Nigerian businessman and philanthropist Tony Elumelu has called for an end to energy poverty in Africa.

Elumelu, who is the Chairman of African proprietary investment firm Heirs Holdings and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, made the call on Tuesday at a gathering in Abidjan, Cote D’ Ivoire where he joined Africa’s leading business and political leaders for the African Energy Leaders Group (AELG) summit.

“Providing access to electricity for schools, hospitals, businesses and industries is the single most impactful intervention that can be made to transform the continent. It has tremendous implications for job creation, health, food security, education, technological advancement and overall economic development,” Elumelu said.

The AELG, which was launched during the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is an initiative that brings together Africa’s most important political and business leaders to champion the reforms and investment required to end energy poverty and fuel Africa’s economic future. Among other things, the AELG encourage innovative public-private partnerships in the power sector and find ways to boost economic gains through the energy value chain.

Elumelu is a founding partner and Co-chair of the AELG. Other founding partners of AELG include Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, President Allasane Ouattara of Ivory Coast and Ghanaian President John Mahama among others.

The Nigerian multimillionaire and key proponent of Africapitalism pledged to support the work of AELG with a donation of $150,000 over the next three years to support the operations of the AELG secretariat. He called on the governments of the member states of the ECOWAS region and AELG members and partners to step up with significant multi-year commitments to sustain the organization.

In 2013, Tony Elumelu pledged to invest up to $2.5 billion in Africa’s power sector through President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Initiative. In 2013, Transcorp Plc, which is majority-owned by Elumelu’s Heirs Holdings, acquired one of Nigeria’s largest gas-powered generating plants, the 600 MW Ughelli plant located in Delta State. By the end of this year, the Transcorp Ughelli plant will be generating 1,000 MW and the company is in discussions with General Electric to add an additional 1,000 MW soon after.

Elumelu featured in FORBES’ 2014 ranking of Africa’s 50 Richest People with a fortune estimated at $1 billion. His net worth has since dropped as the stock price of Nigerian conglomerate Transcorp, his largest asset, has shed off more than 25% of its value since November last year.

PwC admits Gatome as partner

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Rwanda has announced Florence Gatome as partner, effective July 1. Gatome has been a director in charge of PwC Rwanda’s assurance practice. She joins Bernice Kimacia, who is the Rwanda senior partner.

Gatome has over 13 years’ experience in providing assurance and advisory services to public sector clients, and has been with PwC for 11 years. She has gained experience over the years working in Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Somalia, Tanzania, the DR Congo, South Sudan and Eritrea.

She holds a master’s degree in development finance from the University of Manchester. She is a certified public accountant, and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Rwanda and Kenya. She is also a member of the governing council of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Rwanda.

Gatome is the only female among the five partners admitted in PwC East market area.

“I join my team in congratulating Gatome for earning her admission to partnership. She brings vast experience and insights to the firm’s leadership. Her efforts continue to add value to clients in Rwanda and in the region,” said Kimacia.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Kagame commends citizens' ownership of development

photoPresident Paul Kagame yesterday thanked citizens of Kicukiro for their involvement in moving their neighborhood and country forward adding that the partnership between citizens and government has been key to developing Rwanda.The Head of State made the remarks after joining residents of Niboye Sector, Kicukiro District as they worked to revamp a feeder road network in the neighborhood as part of the monthly community service, Umuganda.

“Without partnership between citizens and government, we cannot achieve development. The achievements they attribute to me belong to every Rwanda, they are your accomplishments the result of your hard work,” Kagame said during the interactive session that took place at St. Joseph primary school after Umuganda.

Kagame also recalled where Rwanda has come from and urged residents to look at progress achieved as encouragement to achieve even more:

“There was a time when people did not believe in our ability to develop. Even we seemed to have lost faith in ourselves. But today we have seen what we are capable of.”

“Looking at how far we have come must give us strength to do more. We cannot turn back. Striving to do and be better must become part of who we are,” Kagame added.

Earlier, The Mayor of Kicukiro District, Paul-Jules Ndamage, told journalists that residents have already contributed close to half of the Rwf25 million pledge to improve drainage along the road.

“With this kind of self-sufficiency we can accomplish a lot more,” Ndamage added.

Speaking to Sunday Times, Ignace Benimana, 65 and resident of the area prided himself in taking part in national development adding that the interactive discussions that have become an integral part of Umuganda serve as a means for citizens to get together and find solutions to common challenges.

Theoneste Harindintwari, 26, a local taxi motor cyclist, told Sunday Times that, “Umuganda is a very important development tool. I think doing it one day in a month is just not enough.”
Source: New Times

RPF cadres retain provincial leadership in new elections

photoThe chairpersons of Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) in all four provinces and the City of Kigali were retained by delegates in the party election that took place across the country yesterday.In City of Kigali, delegates retained mayor Fidele Ndayisaba as party chairperson, while Zulfat Mukarubega was elected as the new party’s vice chairperson, with Claudine Mukakagaba getting the delegates nod as secretary-general.

In Southern Province, Alphonse Munyantwali was re-elected by delegates as party chairperson in the elections at Nyanza District stadium yesterday.

Others elected included Aaron Vuganeza as vice-president and Annonciata Kambayire as the secretary-general.
Speaking shortly after being re-elected, Munyantwali said RPF liberated the country and has achieved more in terms of building national unity and giving Rwandans the dignity that they had lost.

“Party members have given us the mandate to be in these leadership positions to take the party forward; we pledge not to disappoint them. We will follow the party’s principles in solving common problems and to continue promoting the party and its role in the development of the country,” said Munyantwali, who is also the provincial governor.

Odette Uwamariya, the governor of Eastern Province, was re-elected as party chairperson and she pledged to continue being part of the party’s journey to lead the country to more economic prosperity.

“Our commitment as RPF is that every Rwandan lives a decent life and sustainable self-reliance, and there is need for us to engage in more efforts to achieve those aspirations,” Uwamariya said, challenging party members to spearhead the development of their communities.

That way, Uwamariya added that the party will be able to help people develop the province and the country at large.

Aime Bosenibamwe, the governor of Northern Province, was re-elected as party chairperson in the province.

Meanwhile, in Western Province, delegates re-elected Jean Nepomuscène Nkurikiyinka as party chairperson, while Josuin Ntaganira got the vice chairpersonship, with Agnes Uwamahoro becoming secretary-general.

Nkurikiyinka is the Director-General of Rubaya Tea Factory in Nyamasheke District.

Internal democracy
Wellars Gasamagera, who heads the party’s electoral committee, said in a recent interview that the RPF party election is a regular exercise that takes place after every four years and is aimed at building party democracy.

“This is a regular exercise just like the national executive committee elections. The exercise has been conducted right from the cell level to the provinces,” Gasamagera said of the activity that started at the grassroots on June 6.

The national executive committee was elected last year.
Source: New Times