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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Heavy rains leave over 200 families homeless in eastern Rwanda   

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Heavy downpour that hit Ngoma district in eastern Rwanda on Monday has left 221 families homeless, Rwanda’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs said late Wednesday.

The ministry said in a statement that victims had sought temporary shelter at their neighbors’ homes, adding that government officials had visited the affected areas to provide urgent basic relief aid.

Victims not living with their neighbors have been sheltered temporarily elsewhere in the district with the help of local leaders, it said.

Since August, heavy rains have destroyed nearly 400 houses and 76 hectares of crops in different parts of the east African country, according to the ministry.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Rwanda cracks down on wetlands encroachers

KIGALI  Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwandan authorities Wednesday cracked down on establishments which were set up in wetlands, leaving several of them closed.

The exercise was led by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) in conjunction with authorities of the capital city of Kigali and Ministry of Local Government of Rwanda.

Among the closed entities was a warehouse, a flour factory and church all located in Kigali’s Gasabo district, Director General of REMA Colette Ruhamya told journalists during the operation tour.

She said unlawful activities in wetlands will not be tolerated, adding that the operation would be extended to other parts of the country.

Rwanda’s latest State of Environment Report shows that wetlands cover a total area of 165,000 hectares, representing about 7 percent of the total surface area of the landlocked country.

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Rwanda urged to fix mismatch between trade and agriculture policies

KIGALI  Rwanda (Xinhua) -- There is a mismatch between trade and agriculture sectors in Rwanda which affects agricultural productivity and trade, an FAO report released on Wednesday said.

The report on Coordination between Agriculture and Trade Policymaking in Rwanda released in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali said trade and agriculture bodies need to start working together for complementarity.

In Rwanda, the majority of the population is employed in agriculture related sectors, but initiatives to improve agricultural productivity in the country are often constrained by market and trade-related bottlenecks, according to the study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

These can result from conflicting agricultural and trade policies, said the report, adding that this lack of coherence not only affects Rwanda’s international trade potential, but also creates obstacles to achieving food security and the sustainable development goal of zero hunger for all.

The report called on government to act as a private sector enabler as opposed to a private sector actor in order to improve agriculture and trade policy coordination.

Trade in agricultural goods accounts for a significant share of Rwanda’s total goods trade, where agriculture-related imports including food crops for consumption and processing, and inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides were 386 million U.S. dollars in 2016, or 21 percent of total imports, according to FAO.

Agriculture’s share of total exports was 35 percent in the same year, said FAO.

Agriculture and trade policy coherence in Rwanda would be improved through several ways such as better use of established coordination mechanisms and facilitating dialogue with all stakeholders, said Charles Murekezi, the Director General of Agriculture Development at Rwanda’s ministry of agriculture, at a workshop discussing the methods of addressing the issues in the report.

Cassien Karangwa, Commodity Value Chain Trade Officer at Rwanda’s ministry of trade, said collective efforts would be made to assess the problems that each side has in order to increase exports.

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Rwanda advised to avail internet cost reduction to improve connectivity

KIGALI  Rwanda (Xinhua) -- The cost of internet capacity globally has been going down significantly which should enable Rwandan end users to enjoy advantages in terms of affordable connection, experts said on Wednesday at a meeting in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali.

The meeting organized by Rwanda Information and Communication Technology Association was held to discuss ways to develop the internet economy as well as accelerate uptake of internet connectivity.

“The more we have networks connected to exchange point, the more we have content that is accessed easily at a cheap cost by end users. This can significantly promote the internet in Rwanda as well as grow the internet economy,” said Ghislain Nkeramugaba, the chief executive of Rwanda Information and Communication Technology Association, a non-profit Rwandan private association comprising different ICT institutions and individuals in Rwanda.

There has been an increase in internet penetration rate in the country from 1.6 percent seven years ago to 36 percent presently, according to the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority.

The east African country managed to enhance ICT infrastructure by establishing a national data center that can centralize information storage, management and protection, as well as using cloud computing facilities.

A national fiber-optic backbone network connecting Rwanda to international sea cables was deployed, which boosted internet accessibility and affordability while connecting Rwandans to global networks.

             

 

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