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Rwanda auctions commercial real estate of exiled tycoon

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) on Monday auctioned a multi-million-dollar mall located in the center of Capital Kigali, belonging to exiled tycoon Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa.

Ayabatwa was listed Africa’s Number 1 Tobacco man by Forbes in 2014. He is the founder and controlling shareholder of Pan African Tobacco Group (PTG), one of the continent’s largest indigenous manufacturer of tobacco products.

He was accused of working with Rwanda National Congress, a political organization formed by Rwandan elements based in exile with intent to topple the government.

During a public auction ceremony, the Union Trade Center (UTC) was bought by local real estate company Kigali Investment Company (KIC) at eight million U.S. dollars, way below 20 million U.S. dollars value announced after its construction.

The sale follows the seizure of the building by RRA in April over nonpayment of taxes amounting to over 1.4 million U.S. dollars accumulated since 2015.

The buyer is expected to pay for tax arrears before taking over the building.



Former Rwandan presidential aspirant Rwigara arrested: police

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- A Rwandan woman who showed interest in August’s presidential election has been arrested over suspected offences against state security and forgery, Rwandan police said on Sunday.

Diane Shima Rwigara, a 35-year-old businesswoman, was arrested on Saturday alongside with her mother and sister, according to a statement released by the police.

“During ongoing investigations, police uncovered credible evidence linking the trio to offences against state security,” said the statement.

The decision to arrest them was prompted by their behavior during preliminary investigations, “particularly their consistent refusal to cooperate with police and publicly revealing information that is, by law, supposed to be confidential,” it said.

On Sept. 4, Rwigara was taken to police for questioning after she refused to respond to three summons, according to police.

Rwigara, the only female who showed interest in the presidential elections held in August, failed to meet all the requirements for being nominated as a candidate by Rwanda’s National Electoral Commission (NEC). She fell short of the required number of signatures in all districts in the country, according to NEC.

Rwandan police said the criminal procedure law gives investigators power to detain a suspect for a maximum of five days in order to conclude investigations and decide whether or not to forward the case to prosecution.


Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product has grown by four percent

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose by 4 percent in the second quarter of 2017 compared with 1.7 percent growth in the first quarter, said a report released by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda on Monday.

Activities in the industry sector increased by 1 percent while manufacturing activities increased by 6 percent buoyed by food processing activities which increased by 10 percent and manufacturing of chemicals, rubber and plastic activities which grew by 28 percent, according to the report released in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.

Construction activities decreased by 4 percent while activities in services sector increased by 7 percent in second quarter of 2017, said the report.

Rwanda’s finance minister Claver Gatete said he was hopeful that the projected growth of 6.2 percent in 2017 would be attained owing to performance of many sectors of the economy.

Some hurdles of the first two quarters of the year have since been addressed and we expect positive performance in the remaining half of the year, said Gatete at the announcement of the figures.

Gatete cited key drivers of growth in the remaining half of the year as service sector driven by hotels and conferences, financial services, ICT sector and real estate.


African engineers to discuss effective waste management

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- African engineers are expected to discuss waste management in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.

The 2nd edition of Africa Engineering Conference from Sept. 25 to 29 is convened under the theme “Effective Waste Management in Africa.”

The five-day meeting was organized by Rwanda’s ministry of infrastructure in collaboration with the Institute of Engineering Rwanda (IER) and Federation of Africa Engineering Organizations (FAEO).

It will bring together about 1,000 delegates including consultants, civil society in general together with local, regional and international engineers, according to a statement from the ministry of infrastructure.

The conference will discuss diverse challenges related to waste management in Africa and consider the prospects for adequate, reliable and sustainable development of waste management, Papias Kazawadi, head of Institution of Engineers of Rwanda, told journalists in Kigali ahead of the meeting.

About 35.8 percent of Rwandans use waste collection and disposal services, 29.8 percent dump waste in nearby bushes, 29.5 percent dump it in their fields or places around them, while about 0.2 percent burn or dump it in rivers or flowing water, according to the ministry of infrastructure.

Organic waste accounts for about 70 percent of the total wastes compared to 30 percent for non-degradable wastes in Rwanda. 


Rwanda in campaign to reduce firewood use

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda has begun a campaign to reduce the use of firewood for cooking while promoting other technologies such as gas and energy saving stoves to limit deforestation.

Minister of Land and forestry Francine Tumushime announced the above at a stakeholders meeting on Monday in the capital city of Kigali.

She decried the fact that forests in the east African country are being harvested before maturity largely for cooking purposes.

According to the ministry, 83 percent of Rwandans use firewood for cooking currently, against less than 20 percent using other cooking technologies such as biogas, gas and energy saving stoves.

The minister said there is need to reduce the use of woods to save trees harvested before maturity for cooking purposes.

“We are going to put more effort in creating more cooking technologies which use less combustible, like improved stoves, including making gas available to people depending on their means,” she said.

The campaign will involve planting more trees which will be catered for to ensure they mature before being felled.

Rwanda will next month launch national forest planting season 2017/2018, in which more than 45,000 hectares of agro forests will be planted especially in eastern Rwanda.

According to the ministry, the current country forests cover stands at 704,997 hectares, equivalent to 29.6 percent, of which planted forests constitute 17.7 percent and 11.9 percent are natural forests.



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