As world trade talks collapse, COMESA trade hub launched

Poor performance Detractors of the famous performance contracts in Rwanda will take heed of President Paul Kagame’s confirmation during his monthly press conference that he ordered the firing of the three most senior police officials in the country recently.
Kagame: Rwanda still committed to Darfur (PPU photo)
Kagame: Rwanda still committed to Darfur (PPU photo)

Poor performance

Detractors of the famous performance contracts in Rwanda will take heed of President Paul Kagame’s confirmation during his monthly press conference that he ordered the firing of the three most senior police officials in the country recently.

Commenting on why Chief Inspector Andrew Rwigamba along with CID boss Costa Habyara and Peter Sano were fired, Kagame said he was not satisfied with their performance.

In Europe and the US currently, the buttons making the word  ‘credit crunch or crisis’ have been pressed more times than any other thanks to even more complex financial headaches about the housing sector that are rocking the two societies.

Experts have said the financial problems are being worsened by the high rate of borrowing for bank clients to purchase houses.

The issue of houses is currently occupying the minds of Rwanda economy planners. The World Bank and government last week inked their commitment to introducing a mortgage lending program to help address the country’s significant housing shortage.

The mortgage scheme will be run through the World Bank investment firm, International Finance Corporation, in partnership with the Rwanda National Housing Bank.

Observers note that the new mortgage thrill in Rwanda is part of the drive to redevelop Kigali city through the recently launched Master Plan.

Finance and trade were big news this week after it emerged that the World Trade Organisation talks - on going for the past seven years - had collapsed once again.

Over 150 experts from all the corners of the world meeting in Switzerland last week failed to agree on any middle ground after the US, China and India disagreed on the movement of goods and labour.

The Rwandan representative at the talks Antoine Ruvebana said the failure of the talks was a ’disaster’ for poor countries. He added that the collapse is ’missed opportunity’ to lift millions out of poverty.

Keep talking
The East African Community last week launched another round of talks to discuss the controversial Economic Partnerships Agreement between the block the European Union.

The agreements which are a set of documents related to trade between Europe and Africa have been dismissed as patronising by other regions of Africa, they are seen as unfair to African economies and benefiting mostly Europe.

Meanwhile in the same week a leading British expert on regional economic integration has called on EAC leaders to adopt a more pragmatic approach to achieving economic benefits for the region not necessarily tied to politics.

The British Peer, David Edward Lea, Lord Lea of Crondall who was this week paying a courtesy call to Juma Mwapachu, the secretary general of the East African Community in Arusha, observed that in spite of its structure of strong political authority and emphasis on sovereignty of the partner states, the EAC was not short of things that could be done outside politics.

Trade is what the newly opened COMESA trade hub in Kampala will deal with, helping formal arrangements and logistical support to regional traders and link inter-country buyer-seller relationship in all COMESA member countries.

Last week, the hub was launched to help traders in East Africa access information regarding opportunities to sell their products in the 11 member COMESA grouping.

Neighbouring disputes
In the spirit of integration, a Ugandan Court of Appeal has issued a judgment withholding the eviction of ethnic Banyarwanda, a Ugandan tribe from their Buliisa environs.

The Kinyarwanda speaking tribesmen were subject to violent eruptions in the Ugandan district of Buliisa; they were accused of grazing their cattle on grounds owned by other tribesmen.

Their appeal has paid off; the court halted the powerful clique of Ugandans that was spearheading the eviction
The Banyarwanda are Rwandans that have been historically linked with Uganda for hundreds of years.

Buliisa District is also home to a highly disputed chunk of land that lies within the prime area close to the speculated abundant oil deposits currently under exploration in that part of Uganda, it is alleged by opinion leaders that African oil politics has already to play itself out in Buliisa.

The UN this week extended the mandate of its 9,000 peace keeping force in Darfur for one more year moments before the existing one was due to expire.

The extension caused a worldwide furore when the International Criminal Court threatened arresting Sudan President Omar Bashir for his role in the Darfur conflict which according to several reports has claimed over 300,000 people and displaced more than two million.

The BCC further reports that UNAMID peacekeepers lack the equipment necessary to keep protect the internally displaced people of Darfur from the attacks of the Janjaweed.

Kagame while addressing the press during the week said Rwanda was still committed to UNAMID and called for more support to the force.