Monday, August 19, 2019

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Will Gatuna Border Open As Kagame, Museveni Meet Again?

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All eyes are on Gatuna Border that connects Rwanda to Uganda and has historical lifeline significance for the two countries. Ugandans and Rwandans across the border all look forward to normalised relations.

The anticipation is the final decision that will be announced when Presidents Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni, Felix Tshisekedi and their host Joao Lourenco meet in the Angolan capital Luanda.

According to a press release from the Angolan presidency, the forthcoming meeting will be the second quadripartite summit held in a span of only two months.

The four heads of state are set to meet on August 21st witness the signing of the instruments that enshrine the understandings reached.

At the last meeting, Rwanda and Uganda reached understanding to resolve tensions that have erupted between their two countries in recent months, after contacts undertaken by Angola with the DR Congo’s assistance.

The Angola foreign minister has in the past week visited Kigali and Kampala to seal the deal.

The statement after the meeting said, “the summit welcomed the political will of (Rwanda and Uganda) to continue dialogue with a view to finding a solution to existing problems.”

The August 21st event is a follow up of the July 12th summit also held in Angola’s Luanda which brought together the heads of state of the four countries.

The July meeting convened by the Angolan president was devoted to regional security, cooperation and strengthening of ties among the four countries.

Prolonged Tension

Rwanda’s Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, once close allies, have exchanged public accusations of spying on each other’s territory and political interference.

Trade has been severely disrupted since late February when Rwanda abruptly closed the border with its northern neighbor, severing a major economic land route.

Apart from a brief interlude in June the frontier has mainly remained shut, damaging the economies of both countries reliant on cross-border trade.

In May, Ugandan police accused Rwandan soldiers of entering the country and killing two men, drawing an angry denial from Rwanda.

 Threatened trade

The trade between two countries have been stifling since the beginning of this year for all the Rwandans and Ugandans in both their countries. However, due to the various attempts to mend the broken ties, traders have remained hopeful in the process.

Prices of goods in both countries have soared since March after the government imposed travel restrictions on its borders with Uganda, affecting delivery of key imported commodities.

The delay of the opening of the border has been reported as a means of the construction purposes at the border post on the Rwandan side. For the businessmen it has affected their businesses.

The government diverted trucks at the Uganda-Kagitumba border, causing traders to contend with delays and extra transport costs that will affect consumers.

However, the government downplayed the effects of the Uganda-Rwanda border impasse on trade and costs of commodities in general.

The Express News

Smoking ‘Weed’ In Rwanda, Gets You Life In Prison

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If you are looking to get knocked out after a big puff from the dried leafy roll, that is a direct booking into the coolers until the end of life- Rwanda’s new anti-narcotics penalties suggest.

While on Rwandan soil, smoking marijuana (‘weed’) sniffing on Heroin and Cocaine are equivalent to other serious crimes that will earn you a life in prison including heavy cash fine.

“For consuming strong drugs and narcotics especially Heroin, cocaine, marijuana and mugo, culprits risk life in prison plus a cash fine worth between Rwf 20million  and Rwf30million,” reads in part a document outlining ‘Categorization of Narcotic Drugs and Penalties’

For those that have been used to standing out with the fancy looking electronic cigarette just know if found guilty that leads to a sentence of 20 -25 years in Prison and cash fine between Rwf15million – Rwf20 million.

This electronic cigarette is in the same category with Curt, Shisha and another substance known as Rwiziringa and both attract similar penalties.

Then consuming the common sachet liquors and spirits mostly smuggled into the country from neighbouring Uganda, culprits risk a prison sentence of between 7-10 years and a cash fine of Rwf5m-10m.

Sachet liquor is packaged in brands such as Zebra, Suzie,Kitoko, coffee spirit, Simba waragi, including other locally produced alcoholic beverages such as Umugorigori, Muriture, Umunanasi,Nyirantare.

Also in this last category includes sniffing on petrol and glue mostly common among street kids and other idlers.

Most of these new tight penalties against drug abuse and consumption of illicit substances is in tandem with President Paul Kagame call for a sober population with the right kind of values they need in order to develop and protect their country.

Through the civic education program (Itorero), Kagame says it via this platform that citizens would learn the values to put their education to use.

“We can’t just be stopping at making bread. We have to aim higher. Cars, phones, electronics should not only be manufactured by others. We are all capable of doing it,” he said August 9th.

“Being educated is not enough, you must have discipline and values” Kagame told 698 youth during a pass out ceremony after completing civic education training at Gabiro Combat Training Centre in Gatsibo District, Eastern Province.

Kagame has maintained a tough stance against drug abuse and consumption of narcotics which have devastating effects on the citizens.

Rwanda is now among destinations that have implemented the tobacco control law in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) framework.

Effective December 15, 2017, the government of Rwanda also banned advertisement, and import of water-pipe tobacco smoking known as shisha tobacco.

The document is the cause of ongoing debate on social media https://twitter.com/ramaisibo/status/116336801680712499

The Express News

TOTAL IVORY MARKETS SHUTDOWN – A BLOW FOR SADC COUNTRIES

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Southern African countries might sadly soon find themselves with virtually no markets to sell their ivory worldwide.

This follows the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Washington-based Senior Vice President’s announcement today that the WWF is on a drive to shutdown all Asian ivory markets.

“These are extra-ordinary achievements,” said WWF Senior Vice President and General Counsel, World Wide Fund (WWF) U.S. Ginette Hemley; referring to the progress made so far towards shutting down ivory markets in China in 2017 and Hongkong last week.

Ms Hemley said that for the WWF global ivory markets shutdown to work, they would need collaborative international efforts, including law enforcement and capacity building. Sadly, they are shutting down SADC countries ivory markets without consulting them.

If ivory was oil that Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the U.S. and other Arab countries are trading, the WWF would not dare shutdown their markets as they are doing to the Southern African race that they look down upon. The oil that the oil producing countries trade is harmful to the environment, including wildlife but the WWF would not dare tell these countries not to trade in oil to save wildlife.

Asian countries are the most lucrative ivory markets for Southern African countries and their shutdown might just end their hopes of ever trading in ivory, possibly forcing them to turn their national parks into agricultural land as the elephant and other wildlife continue to be devalued by both bans in ivory trade and also hunting.

Previously known in SADC government circles to support ivory trade and elephant hunting, including other types of wildlife; the WWF’s Asian ivory markets shutdown declaration today was as shocking. SADC governments be warned, the WWF is now a hardcore animal rights group. It plans to raise US$20-$25 million to end domestic ivory trade in Asian markets, including China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The WWF’s ill-informed plan to shutdown Asian ivory markets will irreparably damage African people and wildlife’s wellbeing, particularly elephant conservation.

The WWF’s planned shutdown of the Asian ivory markets will force African governments to divert their poverty alleviation and public infrastructure budgets to support wildlife conservation. Not good for Africa, while rural communities that share the land with wildlife walk barefoot, without decent schools, clinics, roads and with school girls missing class for lack of sanitary pads but living in elephant-rich areas.

For the past 44 years, Southern African rural communities of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe have continued to pin their hopes for a better life on getting CITES permission to trade their abundant wildlife products.

If these communities, who share the land with wild species, can earn money from the wildlife that surrounds and endangers them, they will stop aiding poachers. In fact, when they have a stake in the long-term wellbeing of wildlife, poaching will end. They will stop it.

“I was once a poacher but have since stopped upon seeing community benefits from wildlife,” said the late Botswana Deputy Chief of Kavimba, Kachikau Village, Luckson Masule, in 1997.

Without trade in ivory and rhino horn and with an absence of hunting, Africa has no money to look after its wildlife.
Meanwhile, Egypt (African Union Chair), Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia are in danger of being denied their right to vote at CoP18 for failing to submit original credentials to the CITES Secretariat before the start of the meeting. They have been asked to sort out their documents as soon as possible. If they are not allowed to vote this could have negative implications on many issues, as their representatives would not be officially recognized as well as their proposals. Egypt fired back saying that its papers are original.

“We used an electronic signature and we have done this before,” said an Egyptian representative.

Elsewhere, the Kenyan Wildlife Service defied President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to have Kenya support Botswana’s ivory trade proposal at CITES CoP18. This directive followed President Kenyatta’s recent meeting with Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi in Kenya in which he endorsed his country’s support for Botswana ivory trade bid.

“The Western animal rights groups have and continue to pay the Kenyan Wildlife Service millions of U.S dollars in exchange for votes against ivory and rhino horn trade as well as on other wildlife use and trade issues,” said a Botswana Government official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The Kenyan delegation from the Kenya Wildlife Service let us down at the 11th hour because they cancelled their flight to Botswana a day before our meeting in Gaborone; to finalise the agreement to vote in support of Botswana’s ivory trade bid at CITES CoP18 in Geneva.”

The pro-sustainable use U.S. based Ivory Education Institute Managing Director Godfrey Harris said that this inter-governmental dispute playing out in public “is not only shocking, but embarrassing.”

“The Kenya Wildlife Service was and continues to be paid a lot of money by animal rights groups that use money to entice them not to support ivory trade and wildlife hunting,” said the Botswana Government official. “This is why they defied the vote for Botswana ivory trade proposal directive from President Kenyatta.”

In what is clearly a disturbing trend of Western animal rights groups’ are continuing to use of money to make some ‘weak’ African countries oppose any form of wildlife use, including trade in ivory and rhino horn. It was learnt that part of the total of 30 Kenyan delegation’s CITES CoP18 travel, food and accommodation costs were paid by a Western animal rights groups, People for Ethical Treatment for Animals (PETA).

Meanwhile, a senior Malawian delegate confirmed that one of their delegates is being funded by the International Fund for Animal Welfare with the rest of them being funded by the German Technical Cooperation Agency. The Malawian delegation raised eyebrows when they did not join a SADC pro-wildlife products trade logistical meeting held at the start of the CITES CoP18.

Additionally, delegates from Chad shamelessly confirmed at Ibis Hotel that another Western animal rights group, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is funding them. This was after they were seen milling around a young U.S. blonde of the HSUS in what was clearly a money handout meeting. They later disappeared with her to an unknown venue. Country votes are on sale again as usual in exchange of voting against sustainable use at the command of their animal rights groups paymasters and ironically against the needs of African countries’ needs.

About the writer: Emmanuel Koro is a Johannesburg-based international award-winning environmental journalist who has written extensively on environment and development issues in Africa.

The Express News

CHUK modernises after 100 years

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The Ministry of Health has announced that starting by next year the University Teaching hospital of Kigali (CHUK) will relocate to the new premises located at Masaka hospital, Kicukiro district by early 2020 with an estimate of $100M expenditure of renovation since its establishment in 1918.

The old CHUK was constructed in 1918 and started to operate in 1928 as a health Centre and became a hospital in 1965.

From April 1994 to 1996, the CHUK has served as a health centre, a district hospital and as a referral hospital as well.

According to the city master plan, CHUK’s current location that stood opposite Kigali Serena Hotel is designated for apartments. Thus, the buildings of the hospital were also archaic, old and congested to accommodate a big number of patients.

The University teaching hospital of Kigali/CHUK is the largest in District of Nyarugenge. It is also the biggest referral hospital in the country.

The idea of the relocation of CHUK from Nyarugenge to Masaka came early 2013 due to its trafficked location in the central area of the business.

Kayumba Malick, the Ministry of Health, Spokesperson, said, the Construction is scheduled to last for three-years from 2020 to 2023.

“Chinese sponsors are looking for a construction firm to take up the $100M project. The new construction will bring more 837 sick-beds and more other modern facilities,” he said.

Dr Diane Gashumba, Minister of Health, while addressing the Public Account Committee on the launch of the financial year 2019/2020 June, this year, said, there was the delay in the implementation of the project due that the deal is run by China and Rwanda hence a lag as both countries took time to give out the masterplan of the expansion activities.

CHUK is one of the referral hospitals that accommodate a big number of patients with 70% are being transferred here which most of them use Mituelle de Sante.

Masaka hospital is usually in its daily activities sponsored by China, the country which will also finance the project.

The Express News

New Kigali Mayor and Vice Mayor Not Active On Social Media

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The New Kigali City Mayor Pudence Rubingisa and his Vice Nadine G.Umutoni are very interesting persons that residents and visitors to this fast growing Rwandan capital city may quickly adjust to admire.

Office of Kigali city Mayor is steadily gaining strength, reputation, influence and power as Rwanda’s capital is gradually earning prominence at global level.

It is not yet known whether; the holder of this powerful office may be bestowed upon a title of LORD Mayor after the city hosts Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) next year.

In surprisingly similar navy blue sports attire, the two youthful leaders were so prompt for their first day in office. They participated in sweatiful fitness exercise of the famous Car Free Day.

The braided hair Vice Mayor Umutoni jumped and kicked around but the glowing red giant water can kept wound around her right hand.

Mayor Rubingisa with an athletic body kept his eyes behind the sun screened spectacles and a baseball cap in a detective form. He casts an enigmatic look even during this fitness session. His body language clearly indicates that he is an accommodative man.

But who are these Two?

Both are active on social media especially on Twitter. Unless there is a change of mind, the new Mayor still uses his twitter handle @PudenceR. He has only 1,072 tweets since joining this platform in January 2013.

Although the Mayor has reported to office with immediate effect, he has not changed his status on twitter. Unless there are changes but his twitter account refers to him as Managing Director Intare Investments Ltd.

He commands an audience of 2,581 and he is also following 518 members of this social media platform.

The mayor last jotted a few words on Twitter on July 4th .

Vice Mayor

Umutoni wears a warm smile and is evidently a calm person.

She is accessible on Twitter via @UmutoniNadine with 2,155 tweets since joining this platform in 2010 just seven year earlier than her boss. She commands a small audience of 984 followers; she also follows only 246 in the past nine years.

Unlike her boss, Umutoni didn’t wait even a single minute to update her status and profile. It is evident as “Vice Mayor of the @CityofKigali in charge of Socio-economic Affairs.”

This Vice Mayor last punched her own words on twitter on July 3. Her message was so emotional.

“Forever thankful 2 u Kayitakire Theogene, ur comrades &the #RPA command to rescue us. When we arrive at Rebero, they told us “If we live you will live, if we die you will die” and my Dad said “If we die at least it will not be by machetes” 25yrs later here we are (liberated).”

Kigali being a fast growing city, the two leaders will need to adjust their engagements on twitter to move with the current and dynamic trends.

The Express News

18 Seriously Injured In Accident

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Reports from Nyamasheke district indicate that 18 people are receiving urgent medical attention at Kibogora hospital picked from an accident scene.

Dr Salatiel Kanyarukiko heading Kibogora hospital told local media that “all 18 patients have severe injuries and are currently being taken care of at the hospital.”

Just before this accident which occurred this morning between Kanjongo and Macuba sectors, both the passengers were travelling in a commuter taxi on its way from Rubavu district to Rusizi district.

However, 5 of the passengers have deep injuries and one is feared dead according to other incoming reports.

Traffic Police officer CP. Rafiki Mujiji told media that the cause of this accident hasn’t been established.

The Express News

Did Stolen Money From Congo Reach President Trump’s Pocket?

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The US President Donald Trump may have not stepped on African soil since taking over the biggest job in his country, but he is the beneficiary of money stolen from one of Africa’s poor countries- the Congo Republic.

One of the children of the President of Congo is accused siphoning state funds meant for public but personally using it to buy an apartment in Trump Tower belonging to current US President Donald Trump.

Details from Congo show that Pressure is piling President of Congo Denis Sassou-Nguesso to influence the country’s parliament to lift immunity enjoyed by his son and daughter both serving as members of Parliament.

Reports from Brazaville the capital of Congo Republic indicate that a dozen of civil society groups are demanding for a detailed inquiry into the blatant theft of almost $100million from the national treasury.

The demands were made on Saturday by Trésor Nzila the leader of the civil society organization platform- the Congolese Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH).

OCDH on Saturday pressed the government to investigate Denis Christel Sassou-Nguesso and Claudia Sassou-Nguesso, sons and daughters of the Congolese President and both deputies.

According to OCDH, Denis Christel Sassou-Nguesso, 44 the younger son of Congolese President is accused of diverting more than 50 million dollars of public funds into personal use.

Meanwhile, the same group also accuses Claudia Sassou-Nguesso aged 47, to have received nearly $ 20 million of apparently diverted public funds used to purchase a luxury apartment in the United States. Trump Hotel & Tower in New York.

For Claudia Sassou-Nguesso, her allegations also appeared in the Global Witness survey published in April.

But How did this Money Leave Congo?

According to a private investigation conducted by Global Witness, it was found out that in order to hide the tainted public money and freely spend it, the President’s children set up a complex network across Europe.

Step I :

Picked a Portuguese businessman to act as a nominee (a ‘frontman’);

Step II:

Moved $70 million of Congolese public funds through a network of at least 10 shell companies set up in Cyprus, Estonia and Spain;

Step III:

Spent the money in Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom, according to a police report.

The Express News

World Bank Says Rwanda’s Poverty Data Not Sexed Up

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Rwanda remains stuck to its guns in defending economics data which has for the past four days has been a subject of debate.

The Financial Times recently published an article ‘Rwanda: where even poverty data must toe Kagame’s line’ – the article claims that the government of Rwanda manipulates its economic data.

This publication said it had deployed its data journalists to dig through Rwandan poverty statistics and discovered there was manipulation just before the 2015 referendum.

According to Financial Times, the reason for this manipulation was to show continued progress in reducing poverty.

“I will bet with anyone that there is actually nothing fake or fabricated or doctored about the progress we are making, there is no question about it,” President Paul Kagame responded days later.

However, the World Bank responded in a long statement saying that estimation of poverty levels is a complex subject and every country including the developed ones have their unique methodologies.

“There is no single “best way” to estimate poverty that is appropriate for all contexts and all times,” the World Bank statement reads in part, adding that Methodology adjustments may be necessary to better capture the position of the poor, so that policy adjustments can be targeted to address their needs.

The English newspaper alleged that its “analysis of the survey’s more than 14,000 data points and interviews with academics shows that rising prices for Rwandan families meant poverty most likely increased between 2010 and 2014”.

The paper also claims that “there has been a consistent attempt since 2015 to misrepresent the results” regarding poverty.

Giving an insight on how Rwanda surveys its poverty data, the World Bank explains that Rwanda’s National Institute of Statistics (NISR) poverty measures are calculated using appropriate deflators that are computed based on the prices faced and consumption choices made by poor households in different regions of Rwanda.

For example, consistent comparisons of monetary poverty measures over time, just like consumer prices or GDP, require the use of a deflator.

However, the appropriate deflator for measuring poverty is not the Consumer Price Index or GDP deflator, but rather a composite “cost-of-living” index that is representative of the food and non-food consumption choices of poor households as well as the unit prices they face in the markets where they purchase goods and services.

The global financial institution says Poor households consume a diet that is less diverse and relies more on self-produced (especially in rural areas), basic, and cheaper staples.

The consumption choices and prices faced by the poor, be it in informal urban or rural markets, differ from those in formal retail stores and supermarkets.

A comparison between populated areas of Kigali and the country’s rural towns and villages shows wide variances in consumption choices and prices faced by households.

President Kagame is determined to defend his country’s data and explains that the Financial Times story has ramifications of the country’s dissenters.

“I honestly enjoy these fights and not only in words,” Kagame said, adding the Financial Times Story is “western propaganda”.

The Express News

Ebola: DR Congo’s third province affected

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A 26-year-old woman was killed by the virus while her child is being treated 430 miles (700km) in South Kivu.

Cases have so far been identified in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.

The new cases in South Kivu show a persistent threat that could spread to neighboring countries in the East of Africa.

Ebola cases have been registered in Uganda unlike in Rwanda and Burundi. Rwanda Ministry of Health earlier this month warned that diseases could spread to the country but said would not close borders with DRCongo in Goma which is neighbored by South Kivu.

Two cases have so far been identified with one death registered in in Lwindi district in the Mwenga region the Southern province.

The victim is a 26-year-old woman and her surviving child that tested positive for Ebola. The child is being treated. Ebola cases have been concentrated in province of North Kivu and neighboring Ituri.

The disease remains a public health threat to all African countries where it has so far killed more than 1,900 people in DRC in the past year, infected at least 2,850 people. The virus could be on its way to other African countries that neighbor DRC in the South like Zambia, Malawi.

At a high-risk to contract of Ebola is Beni region where another case was diagnosed in North Kivu, last month. The victim in South Kivu had been vaccinated but could not survive the infection before traveled by bus, boat and road with her two children to Mwenga, where she died.

On the same day 120 contacts were registered by DRC government and vaccinated 20 “Teams from the national anti-Ebola coordination campaign arrived yesterday to provide support,” South Kivu Governor Theo Ngwabidje said.

Ebola response team on July 31 quarantined a family of 15 in the town of Birava, 18 miles (30km) north of Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu. The patients, included a mother and her six children, that reported a relative who escaped from a treatment center. Earlier this month, for people tested positive for Ebola, two of which died, in Goma, less than five miles from the porous border of Rwanda. Panic ensued as Rwanda closed its borders with DRC but the country later denied this ever happened. In June, three people from one family died in Uganda after returning from DR Congo via an unofficial crossing point.

The outbreak is the 10th since Ebola was identified in 1976, as the second deadliest in history after more than 11,000 people succumbed to the disease in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between 2014-2016. The contagious disease is spread by contact between a normal person and an infected person’s or other animal’s bodily fluids. Spread may also occur from contact with items recently contaminated with bodily fluids.

The Express News

Tanzanian Entertainer, Diamond arrive in Kigali for the cultural festival

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Diamond platinumz has arrived in Kigali in the morning of this Friday to entertain his Rwanda, Burundi fans as the Cultural festival of Iwaacu Muzika end note.

He was welcomed by the East African promoters, an entertainment company that deals with event management.
Diamond platinumz will be performing at Amahoro Petit stadium tomorrow alongside other local musicians include Intore Masamba, Safi Madiba, Marina, Queen Cha, Bull dog, Bruce Melodie, Amallon, Francois Nsengiyumva A.k.A Igisupusupu and other’s.
In a brief conference, the Wasafi singer told the press that he has come with surprises to entertain his lovers.
While on his arrival at the Airport, Diamond immediately moved to neighboring Burundi where he will be performing tonight before coming back to Kigali tomorrow.
This is the third-time since the Tanzanian singer Diamond Platinumz comes to Rwanda.
Entrance fee is 15k, 20k for VIP seats and 5000k for those who will buy tickets on entrance.
Tickets are found at Kigali city, Canal shops, UTC, CHIC and Tam Tam restaurant at Nyamirambo.

The Express News

Rwandan Birds Showcase At British Birdwatching Fair

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A team of Rwandans is currently participating at the prestigious British Birdwatching Fair held every August at Rutland Water in England. It is described as the birder’s “Glastonbury”.

This particular edition begins today and takes through up to Sunday.

Rwanda Development Board says the #VisitRwanda stand is available, “be sure to check them out at Marquee 1 Stand 21 to learn about Rwanda & the birding paradise it is”.

Birdfair encompasses the whole spectrum of the birdwatching industry whilst at the same time supporting global bird conservation. This is the event of the year if you’re into birds and wildlife.

This platform is very important for Rwanda to take part in. Rwanda is home to 703 bird species.

Among the resident species are 29 Albertine Rift Endemics and several Lake Victoria Basin Endemics, which should be on any birder’s wish list.

Rwanda will be looking to showcase its diversity alongside other countries at this British Birdwatching Fair.

For example, Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park is home to 322 bird species as well as 13 species of primate and numerous endemic plant species.

So far 29 are bird species have been found in this rainforest park. The star attraction is undoubtedly the Red-collared Babbler and Rwanda is the only safe place to see this stunning bird.

Also Akagera National Park in Rwanda is a predominantly a savannah park with rolling hills, lakes, wetland and woodlands. It offers a more traditional African Big 5 safari experience, but the diversity of habitats mean it has excellent birding too. To date 490 bird species have been observed in Akagera.

In Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park there is good birding potential and 200 bird species are known from this area. This park is located in a region of mostly dormant, heavily vegetated volcanoes and includes Rwanda’s highest point, Mount Karisimbi. The park is famous for Mountain Gorillas.

Gishwati-Mukura National Park hosts 232 species and Mukura 163 species including several Albertine Rift Endemics and forest specialists.

The Express News

Golden Barista2019 Champion Underway

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It is now or never. The champion of the ongoing Golden Barista will be known in the next hours today bringing to a conclusion of the countrywide competition.

This Golden Barista Championship is an initiative that carefully focuses on promoting coffee culture in Kigali and rural areas, but also encouraging baristas to sharpen their skills.

Over 70 Baristas were drawn to this competition that began August 5th. The Judges are three in number.

The tight competition that combed through the country has so far retained only 20 finalists selected from competitive primary phases.

This competition organized by Rwanda Agriculture Export in collaboration with JICA’s project CUP Rwanda which also works towards strengthening coffee value chain through upgrading and promotion of coffee and Sustainable Growers.

Before the champion is selected later Friday, the 20 finalists are undergoing training by the 2011 World Barista Champion, Mr. Alejandro Mendez from El Salvador.

Organisers of this completion argue that despite growing coffee, many Rwandans don’t enjoy coffee.

The countrywide initiative seeks to groom skills of Baristas while promoting coffee culture with an aim of encouraging local coffee consumption and appreciation not only in Kigali but also in rural areas where it is grown.

The Express News

Rwanda to host the first Cybertech Africa Conference and Exhibition

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The Israel company cybertech in cooperation with the government of Rwanda announced that Rwanda will host Cybertech Africa conference on Rwanda Exbhition 2020.

This meeting is the first edition to hosted in Rwanda and on the continent of Africa as the IT experts, security officials, educators, health experts, telecommunications and Aviation will be looking on how to solve problems in global issues in the technology sector.

Apart from the Cybertech conference Rwanda is also warming to host Common wealth summit.

Nelly Mukazayire, Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Convention Bureau, said, the meeting will gather technological experts from different domains.

“We expect returns from this meeting. Thus, the cooperation with the companies, government officials, Private sector,” she said.

Mukazayire added that as the government of Rwanda is appreciative for hosting this meeting for the first time on the African continent.

Rwanda was chosen to host the meeting after its tangible advancement in the technology sector. Previously, last year the meeting was hosted in Rome, Italy.

Rapaporf Amir, CEO, Cybertech, said, the participants will benefit from it since Rwanda is a country progressing in technology sector.

“We are glad that we are bringing cybertech in Africa particularly Rwanda, I thank the government of Rwanda for acceptance to host the meeting in 2020, it is will be a good platform where the different sectors could benefit knowledge and innovation,” he said.

The Express News

Police participates in US, Africa exercise

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Forty-three Rwanda National Police (RNP) officers are taking part in the “Shared Accord 2019” military exercise, which was officially launched on Wednesday at Gabiro Combat Training Center in Gatsibo District.

The exercise attracted about 1200 participants from 26 countries, the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and Intenational Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It combines a Command Post Exercise (CPX) and Field Training Exercise (FTX).

The two-week exercise is held under the theme: “Partnership for Peace and Stability” with the aim of improving operational planning and mission command capabilities with a focus on multidimensional peacekeeping operations.

It is conducted along with a related CPX held at Rwanda Military Academy- Gako, and medical readiness exercise (MEDREX) at Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe.

According to Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Safari Uwimana, the exercise Police Commissioner, the role of Police in the exercise will be “crowd control, rescue missions, VIP protection and providing First Aid.”

“Police will be having a critical role that involves mentoring host police, public order management, escorting VIP, human security and doing cordon and search in rescuing,” said ACP Safari.

He added: “This exercise will not only enable the police to enhance their operational readiness but also strengthen command and control as well as interoperability among the different forces in a multidimensional peacekeeping setup in accordance with AU/UN standards.”

The exercise is being conducted by the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), the United States military, several African nations, the European Union and other international organizations.

Rwanda maintains about 1000 Police peacekeepers in various UN missions including three contingents (two Formed Police Units and a Protection Support Unit) in Central African Republic (CAR), as well as three other FPU contingents in South Sudan.

This is the second time this exercise is being conducted in Rwanda after the successful Exercise Shared Accord 18 that took place in August last year.

Participants are from Belgium, Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Egypt, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, USA, Eswatini, Italy, Lesotho and Zambia.

The Express News

Rwanda and Brazil Sign Bilateral Air Service Agreement

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The government of republic of Rwanda and the government of the federative republic of brazil, have signed a bilateral Air Service Agreement.

The agreement was signed Wednesday between the ministry of infrastructure, Ambassador Claver Gatete and the Brazilian Ambassador of Rwanda with residence in Kenya, His excellency Fernando Estelita lins de salvo Coimbra, at the premises of the Ministry of the Infrastructure, Kigali.

The agreement comes on the backdrop of the MoU signed and initializing of the BASA in December 2017 in Sri Lanka during ICAN-ICAO Air services negotiations events that takes place annually.

“The signing of this agreement will enhance connectivity between both countries and facilitate the private sectors of both countries to realize and tap into the economic and social benefits,” Minister Gatete said.

The signing of the BASA with Federative Republic of Brazil and with the opening of more routes by RwandaAir, will continue to provide Rwanda’s private sector with enormous opportunities in an economically vibrant and large market of more than 340 million people.

Brazil has population of over 210 million people, against the 130 million population of the East African Community presenting Rwanda with larger market of opportunities.

The Express News

Modern Facility To Host Cancer Patients

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Rwanda has unveiled a new and magnificent facility at the Butaro Cancer Treatment Centre located in Burera district in Northern Rwanda about 90Km away from the capital, Kigali.

On Wednesday afternoon, a symbolic ribbon was cut to officially let the modern facility that will host cancer patients as they undergo treatment at the centre.

This hospital unveiled in 2011, also hosts a modern laboratory which is the center of cancer treatment services including; screening, chemotherapy, diagnosis, surgery, patient follow-up, and palliative care.

The $5.8 million Butaro hospital was built in partnership with US-based Havard Medical School and Partners in Health (PIH). It has so far treated more than 6000 cancer patients.

Butaro Hospital Cancer Centre has 3 main sections; Children’s ward, women ward and men’s ward.

The Express News

Rwandan Tea Sets Record At Mombasa Auction

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Kitabi Tea produced under Rwandan Mountain Tea from Nyamagabe district has scooped a record price during an auction at the EATTA in Mbobasa city, Kenya.

This brand of tasty tea, fetched a whopping $6.06 for its Black Broken Pekoe 1(BP1) according to details from the auction.

“Kitabi, one of the tea marks sold under Rwanda Mountain Tea at the EATTA in Mombasa scooped the unprecedented price of $6.06 for its best BP1 invoices,” the Rwandan based tea grower announced on Wednesday.

Experts who closely watch auction trends at the Mombasa platform explain that this is a record price never reached in the history of EATTA auction since it’s initiation in 1956.

The East Africa Tea Trade Association is ISO 9001:2008 certified.

From the calm and gentle hills of Kitabi Tea plantations workers carefully pick green tea leaves that have since become one of the best 5 tea marks in the world.

Kitabi Tea Company Ltd (KTC) is one of the tea companies that was yielded to Rwanda Mountain Tea limited (RMT) in 2009 under the privatization program which aim was to release shares in tea gardens to private investors and tea grower cooperatives in order to improve efficiency of the tea sector.

Facts About Kitabi Tea

Kitabi Tea Factory won the best overall black tea quality tea award at the 2nd East Africa Tea Convention and Exhibition that was held in Kigali in August 2013.

It also received a prize for best black CTC category Dust1 tea grade and best BP1 tea grade at this competition.

In 2015, Kitabi scooped the best BP1at the 6th North American Tea Cupping Event held in San Antonio, Texas.

Most recently in 2017 Kitabi won the best Dust 1 award at the 3rd East African Tea Convention and Exhibition held in Nairobi, and was awarded in September 2017 the Supplier of the Year 2017 prize from Taylors of Harrogate, one among the most consistent private buyers of Kitabi tea.

The Express News

President Kagame Meets With 3000 Youth

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President Paul Kagame is holding a conversation with over 3000 youths at Intare Conference Arena in the outskirts of Kigali city

This conversation being held under the auspice of #MeetThePresident includes young Rwandans living in the country and in the Rwandan community abroad. The event theme is “The Promise of a Generation”.

In setting the tone for the conversation, President Kagame told the enthusiastic youth, “Today, let’s just challenge ourselves, challenge each other. The best thing is that at the end of the day, we’ll be a step ahead of where we were when we came to meet here this morning.”

The president considers today’s meeting as a give and take conversation, “That is why today, I want to begin by listening to you the youth.” He noted that when you meet with others, you should not be the only one to speak. Others must have the chance to speak.”

“I want to encourage every speaker to relax, breathe. We are all in this together, we have the same goal. Speak freely. If you know how to sing and feel like it, feel free. Take it easy.”

The platform aims to engage Rwanda’s young Generation on National aspirations for the next 25 years inspired by vision 2050 and encourage them to be self-driven to ensure sustainability and continuity for Rwanda’s socio-economic progress attained to date.

The Express News

Rwanda Day In German Postponed

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Members of the Rwanda Diaspora have to wait for another date to know when Rwanda Day event will take place, the Foreign Affairs ministry announced early Wednesday.

“Rwanda Day, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday 24th August 2019, is postponed due to unforeseen circumstances,” the Ministry said in a communiqué signed by Amb. Oliveir JP Nduhungirehe the Minister of State in charge of East African Community.
According to the Ministry, a new date will be communicated in due course. “We regret any inconvenience that this postponement may cause.”

The event is one of the biggest calendar events for Rwanda and usually held abroad attracting thousands of Rwandan diaspora- it had been scheduled for Bonn – Germany.

At the beginning this month, Amba. Nduhungirehe had estimated that this particular Rwanda Day would attract 1200 people and would be the first such event in German. The Netherlands, Belgium, The Netherlands, UK, Canada, USA and others have hosted this event before.

Since the first Rwanda Day was held in Belgium, more than 40,000 Rwandans in Diaspora have been mobilized to take part in nation building.
For Every Rwanda Day, President Paul Kagame is the chief guest and is always accompanied by members of the government and representatives of hundreds of businesses.

The gathering usually serves as platform for Diaspora todirectly interact with government, learn about the Rwanda of today and be an integral part of defining Rwanda’s future.

During a similar event in 2015 in the Netherlands, President Kagame explained the Philosophy behind Rwanda Day.
“This is an opportunity for us to join our hands in building our country and change the bad history and memories of our past; this requires for everybody’s contribution, for everyone to play a role.”

The Express News

20 girls selected for Miss Supranational Rwanda

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A number of 20 girls was selected in the three auditions that will be scrutinized in search of a beauty pageant who will represent Rwanda at the Miss Supranational 2019, scheduled to take in Poland.

The event is organized by KS Ltd and Innovations Ltd.

The final selections were held on August 11th, at Century Park Hotel, Nyarutarama.

In general, 48 girls registered to compete in the first edition of Miss Supranational Rwanda, but only 24 met the requirements set by the beauty pageant organizers and were picked to audition.

After the auditions, all the 20 contestants, who qualified to the next stage, were immediately given numbers, which the public will use to vote their favorite contestants. Only SMS voting will be allowed for the public.

Contestants had to first undergo a makeover before the interview.

The top 20 include former Miss Rwanda contestants include Rose Umutoniwase, Divine Umulisa, Anipha Umufite, Benedicta Nyaki, Nina Neema, Bella Umwali, Rosine Uwababyeyi, Laetitia Akanyana Nsabayeze, Yvette Magambo, Alda Gihozo, Sandrine Umwari, Paulette Ndekwe Igiraneza, Queen Peace Mutoni, Aisha Uwase, Karen Umuhoza, Grace Ingabire, Anastasie Umutoniwase, Shanitah Umunyana, Clemence Umukundwa, Cynthia Muzirankoni.

SMS voting starts on Thursday, August 15, and will run until August 31.

The first 15 contestants, who will receive the highest number of votes will head to the boot camp slated for September 3-8 at Nobleza Hotel, Kicukiro, where they will get lectures on cultural values, project presentation and runway skills.

The grand finale is slated for September 7 at Century Park Hotel where the winner will pocket a cash prize of Rwf 1, 000, 000, and an automatic qualification to represent Rwanda at Miss Supranational international in Poland.

The first runner-up will receive Rwf500, 000, while the second runner-up will bag Rwf300, 000, and many other prizes from various sponsors.

The Express News

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