The Government is to invest Frw1.5 billion in rural telecommunication development this year. This is intended to increase the rate of telecommunication penetration in Rwanda and bridge the telecommunication gap.
Col. Eugène Mudenge, managing director of Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA), said the funds come from two per cent of the total turnover collected from Rwandatel and MTN Rwandacell last year.
Every year, the country’s two giant telecommunication companies are required by law to pay two per cent of their total turnover as license charges.
Government decided to channel this money to New Artel, a company which provides both Very Small Aperture Terminal (Vsat) and fiber optic cable internet connectivity.
The money will allow New Artel to provide telecommunication services in rural areas where MTN Rwandacell and Rwandatel do not cover.
According to Françis Karemera, New Artel chief executive officer, the company has now connected government agencies in rural areas to their servers.
He continued that as Artel plans to increase internet supply capacity due to the increasing demand, it will also raise more internet access in rural areas this year.
Economic policy research network created
Rwanda has formed a national economic research network as a platform linking research with public policy.
Dr. Louis Munyakazi, the National Institute of Statistics Director General, said the move is to foster for economic growth and social development in Rwanda.
“It is paramount to generate knowledge based on strong evidence that allows policy makers to make informed decisions. It [the network] would also monitor and evaluate the impact of the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG),” he explained.
Dr. Munyakazi was announcing the new policy analysis and research network under the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR-Rwanda).
IPAR is a public domain institution that aims to support the formulation and implementation of sound public policies through objective research and analysis, while promoting public discourse on policy issues by providing forums for all stake holders such as government, academia, private sector interests, civil society and development partners to engage in public dialogue on critical policy issues.
Antonia Mutoro, IPAR-Rwanda executive director, said the establishment of IPAR was necessary because of the weaknesses in the policy research environment in Rwanda. He cited that policy research only takes place in large institutions while a significant portion is done by international consultants.
Embrace customer care for expansion — BRD Director
The Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) Director General, Théogène Turatsinze, has called upon finance institutions to embrace customer care for expansion. He said that in order to sell a product, there is need to maintain a reputable position by keeping customers happy.
Turatsinze cited lack of training as part of the causes for poor customer care in the country. He was talking to about 60 employees of BRD during a customer care training session by a consultancy firm, Optimising Human Resource (Opty-RH) at Hotel Novotel Umbano.
K. Ezechiel Ouedraogo, Optimising Human Resource Deputy Manager, was one of the trainers who taught BRD department heads and customer service representatives how to be successful at customer care.
Twitchers head to UK
Rwanda Office of Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN) will travel to Rutland, England to promote the country as a birdwatching tourism site.
ORTPN’s booth will be at the British Birdwatching Fair which will take place from August 15-17.
“This will help the industry grow and have a positive economic impact on the whole country, rather than just specific pocket in gorillas,” explained Jeremy Kahn, an associate with OTF Group, an American consultancy firm affiliated to the government.
Kahn continued that Avitourism was identified as one of the best ways to diversify the product portfolio. He added that top birders in the world have no idea that birding in Rwanda is good.
There are more than 670 different types of birds in Rwanda, of which many are endemic to the country. The country will compete with countries such as South Africa and Uganda, which already have an established avitourism industry.
Kahn estimates that Rwanda’s avitourism could reach $11 million (Frw6 billion) per year when it is fully up and running.
Soda prices hiked
Retailers around Kigali City increased soda prices claiming the supply for the products is inadequate. In some places, a bottle of soda has increased by Frw100 from its normal price.
They alleged that the price increase was because Bralirwa, the only soft drink manufacturer in Rwanda, has failed to avail enough sodas.
However, Door Plantenga, Bralirwa’s managing director, refuted the allegations saying: “There has not been any shortage in the supply but rather an 18 per cent increase in soda demand.”
“Consumption has increased from 16.4 million litres last year to 20 million litres this year.”
Plantenga also explained that the shortage could have been due to the hot weather which makes people more likely to opt for cold sodas.
She explained that there has not been any change in production and supply, and that their recommended retail price of Frw175 has not changed.
Uganda Clays coming to Rwanda
Uganda Clays Limited, a leading manufacturer of construction materials, is set to open a factory in Rwanda.
This follows its joint venture deal worth $15 million (Frw8.1 billion) with Rwanda Investment Enterprise Cooperation (RIEC), a Rwandan company manufacturing the same products.
John Wafula, Uganda Clays chief executive officer, said that there is demand for construction in Rwanda but the current single supplier cannot meet the demand. He added that they have completed feasibility studies and have chosen the site in Kinyinya for the factory.
When opened, the factory will produce products that Rwanda has been importaing from Uganda such as; roofing tiles.