Rwanda’s tourism sector is rapidly establishing itself as an important player in the economy; with Frw176.5 billion contribution to GDP it was the biggest sector in 2007. Tourism is also winning Rwanda good publicity after scooping first position in Africa in the recent annual International Tourism Festival held in German – the second time in doing so when it came first in 2007, and second in 2006.
The 2008 edition attracted 11,147 exhibitors from 186 countries.
Finance minister James Musoni was talking figures last week as he revealed that the February 4 earthquake which damaged property worth Frw5 billion and led to the death of over 44 people while displacing thousands, will further affect the national budget projections.
Musoni, who was signing an aid pact between the government of Rwanda and the World Bank for a $70 million dollar package to help in poverty alleviation, said that the recent election violence in Kenya also led to unexpected expenditure, and so the government would review the budget to adjust to the two realities.
To cover the increased budgetary expenditure government will need more sources of revenue, and it is committed to getting it. It was reported last week that Rwanda Revenue Authority will reward tax compliant businessmen (who have cleared all their tax files in time without RRA prompting) with VIP treatment at official terminals in the country.
Rwandans use fewer condoms in the region
Don’t mention this when US President George Bush just left town recently, but HIV/Aids activists will be happy to hear that annual condom sales have hit a record 14 million, at a time when HIV/Aids prevalence in the country is only about 3 percent.
George Bush, the most generous president in the fight against HIV\Aids in the world is also one of the most vocal campaigners against the use of condoms to help reduce the prevalence of sexually infectious diseases, HIV inclusive.
Now Population Services International (PSI), an American organisation that markets condoms to many parts of Africa who are also the main sponsors of the Witegereza campaign, last week stated that Rwandans use 14 million condoms annually.
For a population of 10 million people (65 percent of whom are teenagers) perhaps that could help explain why Rwanda’s HIV/Aids prevalence is still at a manageable 3 percent.
Witegereza (loosely translated as don’t’ wait to discuss with your children about sex) is a national massive awareness campaign that targets teenagers especially to abstain from sexual intercourse; and it is done through the use of mass media like radio, posters along main transport routes across the country.
Unfortunately, even with 14 million condoms imported every year for a population of 10 million, Rwanda has the lowest rate of condom use in the region, mostly because of stigma and its unavailability in remote areas.
This information comes at a time when the National Aids Treatment and Control Centre-TRAC have won international recognition and awards for their efficiency in treating infected people.
The national Aids Commission (CNLS) have been challenged to increase efforts in reaching out across the country so that condoms are available for everybody; 14 million is little! Researchers at the highly influential School of Finance and Banking are considering delving into details to find out the average use of condoms for sexually active Rwandans daily.
The academicians say they will then find out the average sex life up to a second. Murigande gets dream debut in Cabinet Affairs
The recent cabinet reshuffle which by now should be put in the history cabin popped up once more midweek, this time with the three former high profile ministers dropped out of office were again reappointed to various commissions in the country. The commissions themselves were a creation of the first cabinet meeting of the new central government which convened at Village Urugwiro midweek.
Prof. Manasseh Nshuti formerly of Public Service, Angelina Muganza Skills Development, Joseph Murekeraho Primary education and Dr Innocent Nyaruhirira Health state minister, were returned to government offices created by the cabinet meeting.
Nshuti was appointed the new Senior Economic Advisor to the President, Muganza is the Executive Secretary of the newly established Public Service Commission. Joseph Murekeraho is the Executive Chairman of UMWALIMU SACCO, a new fund set up to extend affordable loans to teachers, while Dr Innocent Nyaruhirira is now the Executive Chairman of King Faysal Hospital.
Dr Charles Murigande, who is now the Minister for the new portfolio of Cabinet Affairs, had the sweetest possible debut in office. His first task was to give appointment letters to some of his former cabinet colleagues that were left out of the cabinet reshaping. His other task was to announce Nyamata as the venue for this year’s 14 memorial anniversary for the over one million people killed in the 1994 Genocide.
APR FC are Rwanda’s most successful football club, but recently the Primus league defending champions have been pressing the ‘panic button’ too much. The Kigali giants won last league’s championship on the last day after drawing with a consistently improving Rayon Sport FC.
Towards the end of last season they fired their history-making squad members, chief among them legendary Jimmy Gatete. Last week Andy Mfutilla, the Congolese tactician who had come to identify with APR’s grit and ruthlessness, was fired midway this season. Club officials say they fired Mfutilla but they also add that they simply did not extend his contract which had expired on 14 January 2008. APR had earlier said they were extending Mfutilla’s contract by one year.