Business round-up

Starbucks stores to sell Rwandan textile productsThe US based Starbucks stores will sell Rwandan-made textile products made by L’Usine Textile du Rwanda (Utexrwa).

Starbucks stores to sell Rwandan textile products
The US based Starbucks stores will sell Rwandan-made textile products made by L’Usine Textile du Rwanda (Utexrwa).

Utexrwa Managing Director, Raj-Rajendran, said that Fair Winds Trading, an artisan promotion company will supply customised cotton bags and other textile products to Starbucks.

The textile products include authentic African fabric tumblers and cotton canvas hand sewn totes.

The developments follow the coffee company CEO’s visit to the factory in June. Howard Schultz visited the country’s only textile industry during his visit to Rwanda, when he also opened up a country office, first on the continent.

Electrogaz phases out post-paid billing metres
Electrogaz is in the process of phasing out the use of conventional billing meter in a bid to reduce losses incurred in uncleared power bills.

Lucien Ruterana, the acting Commercial Director at Electrogaz said that the process of connecting the new system of billing and power distribution which is prepaid (Cash Power) began in 1997 and has now been extensively developed.

“At least 95 percent of meters around Kigali City are now pre-paid. We are no longer connecting conventional meters to new customers,” he said.

Ruterana added that Electrogaz has over 110,000 clients on the pre-paid payment system but intends to have all the “old” meters replaced by the end of the year countrywide.

Economy flexible amidst global recession

Officials of the European Commission say that Rwanda proves to be more resilient to exogenic shocks than her African counterparts as the global economic crisis spills across the world.

David McRae, Head of Delegation European Commission, said that Rwanda may be among the more fortunate ones not affected to the same extent.

“In fact the African Economic Outlook (AEO) places Rwanda on top of the list of countries that are providing resilience against the crisis so far,” he said at the launch of the 2008/2009 AEO.
McRae said that this is measured by the country’s continued high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth estimates.

City garbage to be rehabilitated

A team from Japan will conduct studies on the rehabilitation of the Kigali city garbage in Nyanza Kicukiro district.
Reuben Ahimbisibwe, Director of Infrastructure in Kigali City Council, said the studies will be conducted alongside training of staff on how to implement the design.

The studies will also consider how to control fire generated from methane and oxygen that comes out of the disposed materials. About 70 percent of the dumped materials are organic meaning they decompose and generate fire.

Kigali City Council intends to construct an international landfill site where organic materials will be recycled to produce fertilizers through the central composite plant.

Investments in ICT sector valued at Rwf26b

Rwanda has invested more than Rwf26 billion in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector over four years in order to have a knowledge based economy and a hub for ICT in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Some of the investments include the National ID project, SmartGov, government Internet connectivity, Kalisimbi project, the schoolNet project, the tele-center project and tele-medicine.

According to the document issued during the launch of African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2008 -2009 report, ICT usage had penetrated to 80 percent of government institutions and over 60 percent of the private sector as of 2006.

Finance and Economic Planning Minister, James Musoni said the theme ’Innovation and ICT’ is timely and is at the heart of development agenda in the government policy of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS).

Regional lab experts to combat avian flu spread

Two countries in the Eastern African sub-region have reportedly confirmed cases of Avian Influenza, according to reports from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Rwanda’s country representative of FAO, Elisabeth Balepa revealed that Sudan and Djibouti are part of the eleven African countries currently affected by the disease.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), out of 436 cases reported, 262 cases of HPAI virus have been fatal since the beginning of July this year.

Balepa therefore called upon regional laboratory experts for possible measures to prevent and control the spread of the virus.

The call was made during the meeting of regional veterinary officers and laboratory technicians.

Maize mill gets Dutch initiative

MINIMEX, a local milling factory will benefit from a Dutch initiative in the intensive commercial farming of maize in Bugesera district.

PSOM is a Programme for Cooperation with Emerging Markets to stimulate investments and commercial cooperation between Dutch companies and companies in several developing countries.

The initiative allows a local company to partner with any foreign company. MINIMEX partnered with Heineken International which also mandated Bralirwa, a local brewery company.

Felicien Mutalikanwa, the MINMEX CEO said they are expecting to get support worth Euros 825,000 for the pilot project to grow quality maize in about 200 hectares. The company will also produce maize gritz a raw material for beer that will be supplied to Bralirwa.