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Rwanda introduces investor’s day to attract business 

KIGALI (Xinhua) -- Rwanda on Friday introduced “Investor Open Day” as part of the country’s efforts to attract new investments.

The day, dedicated to every Friday, dwells on tending to questions from investors regarding investing in Rwanda by the top management of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

RDB is a government agency responsible for fast tracking the country’s economic development.

Speaking to reporters shortly after the launch of the open day, RDB chief executive officer Clare Akamanzi said that the day aims at addressing investor’s concerns and gathering suggestions.

According to RDB, the day seeks to encourage investor participation and transparency in doing business.

Last month, RDB announced 14 business reforms that are currently under implementation.

Among the reforms are reduction in costs and time to obtain a construction permit which had previously been termed as costly and time-consuming.

RDB says that investor concerns and questions within all the cross-cutting economic sectors shall be addressed at the open day.

Data from RDB indicates that Rwanda has registered investments worth 644 million U.S. dollars in 2017 alone. However, the small African country targets to generate direct investments worth about 1.5 billion dollars this year.



Rwanda’s GDP grows 1.7 percent in first quarter

KIGALI (Xinhua) -- Rwanda’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 1.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017, higher in real terms compared to the same period of 2016, according to figures released by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda on Wednesday.

In the first quarter, GDP at current market prices was estimated to be 1,817 billion Rwanda francs (about 2.1 billion U.S. dollars), up from 1,593 billion Rwanda francs in the same quarter last year, the report said.

It shows that services sector contributed 46 percent of GDP while agriculture contributed 32 percent.

Industrial sector contributed 15 percent of the GDP and 7 percent was attributed to adjustment for taxes and subsidies on products.

The report shows that agriculture increased by 3 percent and contributed 0.8 percentage points to the overall GDP growth rate.

Export crops decreased by 24 percent mainly due to the decrease in production of coffee and tea.

Yusufu Murangwa, Director General of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, said the agricultural sector was buoyed by food crops growth that increased by 4 percent due to the first harvest season of 2017.

Activities in the industry sector decreased by 1 percent, according to the report, while manufacturing activities increased by 7 percent, boosted by food processing activities that increased by 13 percent and manufacturing of chemicals, rubber and plastic activities that grew by 28 percent.

Construction activities decreased by 7 percent while activities in services sector increased by 4 percent in the first quarter.

Murangwa attributed this growth to mainly hotels and restaurant activities that increased by 17 percent, real estate activities increased by 8 percent and administration and support services activities that increased by 25 percent.

The International Monetary Fund in May projected Rwanda’s economy to grow by 6.2 percent in 2017, compared to 5.9 percent growth in 2016.


Rwanda announces final qualified presidential candidates

KIGALI (Xinhua) -- Rwanda’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Friday announced three candidates nominated for August’s presidential poll, a week before campaigns start.

Qualified candidates are incumbent President Paul Kagame of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent candidate, said NEC’s chairman Kalisa Mbanda in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.

Others who submitted nomination failed to fulfill the requirements, he said.

According to Rwandan Constitution and electoral laws, prospective candidates are required to present, among others, 600 signatures from eligible voters backing his or her bid gathered from across the country.

Kagame told journalists after presenting his nominations in June that during his term of office, Rwanda has achieved more than its means, which indicates that the government has stretched to the extreme limits.

Meanwhile, the Opposition Democratic Green Party of Rwanda in a statement Friday described the nomination of its candidate as a big milestone after struggling for eight years towards democratic change.

“This will be the first election where the ruling party will compete with an opposition party since the country was returned to democratic rule in 2003,” it said.

Habineza promised to champion the respect of all fundamental freedoms as enshrined in the constitution and promoted by international human rights instruments, to re-enforce the rule of law, ensure food security and food safety among others.

Campaigns for the qualified candidates will officially begin on July 14 and end on August 3, just a day before the elections.

About 6.8 million will participate in the election, up from 5.7 million who participated in 2010 presidential elections, according to the NEC.

Kagame has been president since 2000, and was then reelected in 2003 and 2010.


Africa urged to tackle gender bias in science&tech education

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- African governments have been urged to ensure gender equality in science and technology education to promote inclusive development.

“Few African women are in science and technology career when compared with men across the continent. African culture encourages stereotypes that limit the potential of women in education,” Mabel Imbuga, vice chancellor of Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, said Thursday at a continental conference on enhancing quality tertiary education across Africa.

Rwanda hosted the meeting from July 5 to 6 dubbed: “Mobilizing African Intellectuals towards Quality Tertiary Education” It is organized under the auspices of the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A).

The two-day meeting has attracted more than 300 intellectuals and scholars from all over Africa and beyond including heads of academic affairs, and other representatives of African academic networks, councils and research centers.

Imbuga urged African governments to monitor policies on gender issues in schools in order to promote the potential of both boys and girls in science and technologies.

At the meeting which ended Thursday, participants highlighted the importance of the consideration of the gender dimension in education for the achievement of Agenda 2063 aspirations.

According to Abel Idowu Olayinka, vice chancellor of University of Ibadan in Nigeria, equal participation in education will enable men and women to reach full intellectual potential, which is a boost to social and economic development of the continent.

The meeting also recommended African nations to provide a platform to African scholars with an interest in undertaking research on gender relations in African higher education especially in science and technology. 



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