Business round-up

Brussels Airlines increases free baggage allowance, flightsBrussels Airlines, the largest Belgian airline has increased check-in baggage for passengers and its weekly flights from Belgium to Kigali.
Brussles Airlines,
Brussles Airlines,

Brussels Airlines increases free baggage allowance, flights
Brussels Airlines, the largest Belgian airline has increased check-in baggage for passengers and its weekly flights from Belgium to Kigali.

Passengers to all destinations aboard the plane can now carry 50 percent extra free luggage. Meaning that people in the economy class can take 46 kg instead of 30 kg, and those in the business class can carry 64 kg rather than the 40kg officially allowed before.

Brussels Airlines has also offered an extra flight to Kigali for the summer season. With this extra seasonal summer flight, there will be four weekly flights between Brussels and Kigali.

The extra flights will be operational for passengers, from 7 June until 27 September. According to a statement from the company management, this followed an increasing demand a better product offering.

“It was found out that approximately 80 percent of the passengers wanted to take more luggages,” the statement reads.

Adding that because the airline wants to offer a great service, it followed the wishes of its passengers as it aim is to constantly improve its service. The increase in the free baggage policy is expected to attract new passengers on the flights between Kigali and Brussels.

ADB commits Rwf178m for food security project

African Development Bank (ADB) committed Rwf178m ($316, 050) to finance a study in Bugesera district that will contribute to the improvement of food security in the region.

Bugesera is considered among the most dry areas with severe food insecurity due to lengthy and recurrent droughts caused by a deficit in rainfall.

The project is a Regional Integrated Rural Development (RIRD) project between Rwanda and Burundi. It is aimed at concerted and rational exploitation of the two countries’ common water resources, for the well being of their respective peoples. 

It is to increase agricultural production by ensuring better control of water use, for durable socio-economic development of the area. Currently six international firms have been selected to conduct the study which is expected to take about nine months.

After the research the project is expected to take off in March 2010, financed under a $44m (Rwf24.9 billion) grant that will be approved by ADB in September this year.

The first batch of funds will support technical studies. Poorer countries are short of $700 billion for 2009.

Developing countries face a financing shortfall of $270-700 billion this year, as private sector creditors shun emerging markets, and only one quarter of the most vulnerable countries have the resources to prevent a rise in poverty, the World Bank (WB) said.

In a paper for the meeting of the group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors, the WB said that international financial institutions cannot by themselves currently cover the shortfall which includes public and private debt and trade deficits, for these 129 countries, even at the lower end of the range.

A solution will require governments, multilateral institutions, and the private sector. Only one quarter of vulnerable developing countries have the ability to finance measures to blunt the economic downturn, such as job-creation or safety net programs.

WB Group President, Robert B. Zoellick, said that there is need to react in real time to a growing crisis that is hurting people in developing countries.

The global economy is likely to shrink this year for the first time since World War Two, with growth at least 5 percentage points below potential.

WB forecasts show that global industrial production by the middle of 2009 could be as much as 15 percent lower than levels in 2008.

Plant law ratified to improve trade
Rwanda has ratified the International Plant Protection Convention to allow an increase in the trade of plant products. The treaty ratified recently proposed a plant health law to control pests and diseases across borders.

Rwanda as an exporting country would have found it difficult to attract international traders because plant products did not comply with international standards.

Apart from engaging with international trade partners, Rwanda will benefit from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) technical assistance programmes.

With agriculture sector contributing 15 percent growth to Rwanda’s economy, the country will also have legal basis to set up international standards on import controls, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS).

The law will give powers to inspect border posts like international airports, land crossings, and waterways, eradication and containment of introduced pests, post-entry quarantine of articles subject to investigation for security and experimental work on organisms otherwise prohibited.

It was a requirement since the existing law was outdated (1975) and did not provide for plant inspection nor did it give powers of search in case one is suspected to possess harmful organisms.

Rwanda is obliged to ratify the treaty if it has to carry out her numerous initiatives like increasing agriculture exports. For effective and efficient implementation of the law, Rwanda Agriculture Development Authority RADA will take on the task along with Rwanda Horticulture Development Authority and Rwanda Bureau of Standards.