With the accession of Rwanda to East African Community and the ever growing economy, President Paul Kagame was right to emphasise the need for more funding towards infrastructural development in Rwanda during last week’s Development Partners’ Meeting at Serena Hotel.
The two-day conference brought together Rwanda’s givers and beneficiaries of development aid where they discussed the country’s vision for 2008.
Kagame said, an efficient infrastructural network would increase domestic trade activity and transform revenue from agricultural production and expand the economy.
The meeting also adopted the Economic Development for Poverty Reduction Strategy-EDPRS that Rwanda designed for herself as roadmap towards the targets set out in Vision 2020 and the Millennium Development Goals.
“The EDPRS is an inspiring document that presents a realistic diagnosis along with an ambitious yet credible plan for Rwanda’s development over the medium term.” Said Moustapha Soumare, the UN chief in Rwanda who also spoke on behalf of Development Partners.
Meanwhile, Africa’s version of the Nobel prizes-The Mo Ibrahim Awards were awarded in a colourful Egypt where Joachim Chissano and Nelson Mandela received hefty retirement packages for relinquishing power voluntarily after governing their countries on democratic principles.
Chissano received a cash prize of $5 million promptly and will have an additional $200,000 annually for over 10 years. Chissano, is the former president of Mozambique from 1986 to 2005, today he works as an international statesman.
In his retirement, Chissano has established himself as an “elder statesman” image and is often called upon by bodies like the United Nations to be an envoy or negotiator.
In 2006, the UN called upon him to help negotiate an end to the conflict in Northern Uganda leading to the issue of arrest warrants for the Lords’ Resistance Army top men and the peace negotiations immediately between the rebels and the government of Uganda.
Also, during the recently concluded EU and ACP parliament assembly held in Kigali, African legislators refused to bow to EU pressure by dismissing the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and ACP whose deadline for signing was 31 December. However, in a fairytale twist of events, East African Members immediately flew to Brussels to sign the EPA.
This agreement will allow most products from EAC to be traded duty-free on the EU market, however, considering that EAC countries mostly export agricultural products and yet the EU has stubbornly provided subsidies to their farmers-which ensures their produce are far therefore more superior, it remains to be tested how the EAC will benefit.
Experts however are skeptical about the agreement with Luis Morago, Head of Oxfam International’s EU Office ‘Developing countries have been placed under enormous pressure to sign. Despite concerns raised by many, including the IMF, African civil society, trade unions, and academicians, the Commission has ignored possible alternatives and insisted on the deadline’.
Rwanda’s campaign to qualify for the 2008 edition of the African Cup of Nations to be held in Ghana ended in a very humiliating fashion, the victory against Equatorial Guinea in the last group game at Amahoro Stadium withstanding.
Football administrators immediately sacked Michael Nees and replaced him with Josip Kuze, Ferwafa bosses now hope Kuze will lead the Amavubi to the 2010 version to be held in Angola.
The draws to qualify for Angola were held last week in South Africa and Rwanda was grouped with Morocco, Ethiopia, and Mauritania.
The Amavubi’s appearance in the 2004 Nations Cup finals in Tunisia remains the biggest achievement so far the country’s football has attained.
Rwanda’s entry in the Commonwealth group will have to wait for another two years till the next Chogm meeting to be held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009.
However, the criteria for entry will be reviewed only countries with historic constitutional association with an existing Commonwealth member save in exceptional circumstances. Applications should be considered on a case-by-case basis.’
Rwanda, Madagascar, Yemen, Algeria and Sudan have all applied to join.
The fight against HIV/Aids in Rwanda will soon take an interesting dimension with the latest offer from US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) to encourage and fund massive male circumcision as an alternative to reduce the risks of HIV infections in the world.
PEPFAR officials last week revealed to the press that “We can only release the funds for circumcision to a country which has come up with a clear policy on how it is going to carry out the exercise.”
Recently the World Health Organisation confirmed that male circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infections during sexual intercourse by 63 percent.
Rwanda recently announced a plan to conduct mass male circumcision as one of the ways to reduce risks of acquiring HIV among men.
Dr Kenyon said that Rwanda has registered great success compared to the other PEPFAR’s 15 focus countries.
The fight against HIV/aids in Rwanda is currently increasing efforts to help orphans and vulnerable children with access to education, heath care and conceited efforts in prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/Aids.
Tomorrow Rwanda hosts a two day conference named the third annual national paediatric conference on children infected and affected by HIV/Aids to focus on Decentralisation.
According to The Aids treatment and Research centre figures, it is estimated that Rwanda currently has 27000 children infected with HIV/Aids.
The World Bank has promised to help fund investments in the methane gas project in Lake Kivu, the bank will ensure that the increased electricity production will be put to good use by helping in the extension of Serena Hotel and investing in the banking sector in Rwanda.
This was revealed by Lars Thunnel WB Vice president and CEO of International; Finance Corporation the private arm of the World Bank
343 Somali troops that Rwanda offered to train to help defend the Somali Transitional Federal Government completed their six month training and were passed out by Chief of General Staff, Gen. James Kabarebe.
This comes in the wake of Somali Religious leaders appeal to President Paul Kagame to help in ending the conflict in Somalia through Sheik Rwanda’s Mufti Salleh Habimana.
The Somali TFG is being protected by AU peace keeping troops from Uganda. Rwanda’s contribution according Maj Jill Ruteremera RDF spokesman will go a long way and Rwanda is optimistic that the new Somali contingent from Kigali would add some strength to the country’s military muscle to stabilize the war-torn country.