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Sudan and Rwanda join hands in African peace, anti-terror efforts

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- Sudan and Rwanda on Thursday agreed to unite their efforts to seek peaceful solutions for the issues of the African continent and combat terrorism and cross-border crimes.

The agreement was struck when Rwandan President Paul Kagame concluded his official two-day visit to Sudan.

The two sides issued a joint communique in which they vowed to work together to enhance joint cooperation in all fields.

“Sudan has historical and deeply-rooted ties with Rwanda,” said Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir at a joint press conference with Kagame in Khartoum.

He also commended the participation of Rwanda in the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur.

For his part, Kagame also expressed hope that the two countries would continue working together to further boost ties.

“Our two countries have challenges with similarities in origin, but we have gone through all that and made progress to date,” he said at the press conference.

On Wednesday, Kagame arrived in Khartoum on an official visit to Sudan at the invitation of al-Bashir.



World Bank to support Rwanda social protection system for vulnerable groups

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- The World Bank and the Rwandan government signed 80 million U.S. dollars financing agreement Thursday to support the effectiveness of Rwanda’s social protection system, notably Vision 2020 Umurenge Program (VUP), for targeted vulnerable groups.

VUP provides citizens in abject poverty with work opportunities in public projects while elderly or disabled citizens are given cash handouts.

The Strengthening Social Protection Project (SSPP) of the World Bank will help expand the coverage and improve the effectiveness of the VUP thus increasing the number of households receiving income support, said a statement released by Rwanda’s finance ministry.

It will also expand the number of working days for public works, which will effectively increase the size of transfers households receive, said the ministry.

The ministry said the project will extend eligibility criteria for direct support to more labor-constrained households, including vulnerable households with people caring for disabled members.

SSPP will also introduce a gender and child sensitive expanded public works model to provide more accessible jobs to those ineligible for direct support but still with labor constraints, including caring for young children, it further said.

Rwanda has started building an integrated social protection system to ensure a minimum standard of living and access to core public services, boost resilience to shocks, promote equitable growth, and strengthen opportunity through increased human capital development, said Rwandan finance minister Claver Gatete in the statement.

The project will benefit vulnerable households primarily in social stratification category one (Ubudehe Category 1) living in the 416 VUP direct support targeted geographical sectors, the 300 geographical sectors targeted for expanded public works as well as 270 geographical sectors targeted for classic public works, according to the finance ministry.



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