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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

 

Rwanda PM outlines priority areas in next seven years

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- The Rwandan government on Tuesday outlined development priority areas within the next seven years as the country focuses on fast tracking toward middle income status.

Presenting the government’s development strategy up to 2024, Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente told the parliament that country seeks to achieve middle income status by 2020.

He said the government plans to boost agriculture production by scaling up mechanized farming operations from the current 25 percent to 50 percent, increasing irrigated land surface from the current 48,508 hectares to 102,284 hectares by 2024.

Value addition for the agriculture sector will continue to be a priority especially through irrigation and marshland development, he added.

“To enhance regional trade, Rwanda’s dry port will be built and operationalized in Kigali special economic zone,” Ngirente said. “In the special economic zone, we shall set up the Kigali Innovation City, in the bid to promote a knowledge-based economy.”

He said the government continues to encourage science education whereby in the seven years, 80 percent of students in tertiary institutions will be offering sciences.

On sanitation, the government will embark on implementing Kigali Centralized Sewerage System and Fecal Sludge Treatment Plant, and roll out sanitation services to 100 percent coverage, up from current 84 percent, Ngirente said.

In the next seven years, the small central African country will increase electricity production both on and off grid to ensure that all households have electricity by 2024, from the current 22 percent.

The prime minister told legislators that child mortality will be reduced to 35 in every 1000 children, from the current 50 for every 1,000 children aged under five within the next seven years.

Health services will be scaled up to ensure that maternal mortality rate drops further to 126 in 100,000 people, down from 210 in every 100,000 people, he said.

The government targets to create over 1.5 million off-farm jobs by 2024 whereby student’s enrolment in technical vocational education training will rise to 60 percent, from the current 46 percent, he said.

The government also aims to generate 400 million U.S. dollars from producing more locally made products through enhanced “Made in Rwanda” campaign and to narrow trade deficit.

“We shall continue to grow our air transport by increasing RwandAir routes, completing the first phase of Bugesera Airport and expanding Kamembe airport,” said Ngirente. “We are targeting to make Rwanda a regional tourist and commercial hub.”

Rwanda also targets to double its GDP growth from the current 5.4 percent to more than 10 percent so the country could reach upper middle income status by 2035, he said.

The country’s economic pillars that include tourism, manufacturing, retail and wholesale and mining are also projected to deliver above 10 percent of GDP growth under the 2035 blueprint.

According to a 2017 World Bank report, Rwanda has the potential to be one of Africa’s great success stories, given its a dynamic social and economic transformation.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Urbanization of African cities puts pressure on waste management: experts

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rapidly increasing urbanization of African cities has placed significant pressure on the continent’s economies in terms of solid waste management which requires the adoption of appropriate technologies, most of which are not readily available in Africa, experts said Tuesday in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.

Speaking at an interactive session dubbed “Papers on Solid Waste Management and Liquid Waste Management” on the sidelines of the 2nd edition of Africa Engineering Conference, panelists pointed out that the inability of African countries to make efficient use of their waste through re-use poses a serious challenge to waste disposal on the continent.

Rwanda hosts the conference from Sept. 25 to 29 under the theme “Effective Waste Management in Africa,” which focuses more on promoting professional engineering in Africa to drive infrastructure growth.

“African countries need to adopt a set of appropriate technologies that will assist them to convert waste into re-usable assets. Total system planning, which involves developing the most suitable mix of infrastructure and services to manage the solid waste,” said Aime Muzola, CEO of Rwanda’s Water and Sanitation Corporation Authority.

He added that the refusal of common waste management practices in Africa by environmentalists has made the disposal of various waste streams in the cities a lot more difficult.

At the meeting, participants pointed out that poorly built storm-water drains in most African cities are frequently clogged by solid waste, leading to flooding and water contamination, posing a health risk to urban dwellers.

According to the World Bank, the worlds’ cities in 2012 generated 1.3 billion tons of solid waste, amounting to 1.2 kilograms per person per day.

With rapid population growth and urbanization around the world, municipal waste generation is expected to rise to 2.2 billion tons by 2025.

The five-day conference was organized by Rwanda’s ministry of infrastructure in collaboration with the Institute of Engineering Rwanda and Federation of Africa Engineering Organizations. It has attracted about 1,000 delegates, including government officials, consultants, and civil society in general together with local, regional and international engineers, according to organizers.

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African engineering summit highlights women’s role in science, engineering

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Experts on Tuesday advised African countries to encourage more women to participate in science, engineering and other fields where gender imbalance exists.

They were speaking at a panel session on women in science and engineering in Africa during the 2nd edition of Africa Engineering Conference that kicked off on Monday in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali.

The small central African country hosts the continental engineering summit from September 25 to 29 dubbed “Effective Waste Management in Africa” which focuses on promoting professional engineering in Africa to drive infrastructure growth.

“We need to make science and engineering education more attractive to women,” said Valerie Agberagba, Chairperson of Women in Engineering Standing Committee of World Federation of Engineering organizations (WFEO’s).

She noted that on average, only 30 percent of science roles throughout the world are held by women, and that imbalance is direr in Africa.

“Women in engineering will create diversity because challenges and opportunities globally can not be tackled from just a male point of view alone and women bring with them a necessary advantage. Let’s make it a priority for being gender sensitive in science and engineering courses for the prosperity of Africa,” said Agberagba.

The panel session argued that among the reasons for Africa’s limited number of women in science and engineering is the lack of access to education by girls and women.

The five-day conference has attracted about 1,000 delegates including government officials, consultants, and civil society together with local, regional and international engineers, according to organizers.

“If we fail to include more women in the science and technology sectors, we may miss out on untapped potential in female specie,” said Christine Gasingirwa, Director General in charge of Science and Technology at the Rwanda Ministry of Education.

She noted that encouraging young female students into science and engineering disciplines was key to increasing the number of skilled people available to address infrastructure development challenges across Africa.

             

 

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