Business round-up

ISP firms prepare for high speed Internet connectionsInternet Service Providers (ISPs) in Rwanda are preparing for the submarine fibre optic cable connection that stretch from the East African coast to different interior destinations of the region.
Digging trenches for fibre optic cables in Rwanda
Digging trenches for fibre optic cables in Rwanda

ISP firms prepare for high speed Internet connections
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Rwanda are preparing for the submarine fibre optic cable connection that stretch from the East African coast to different interior destinations of the region.

New Artel said that it is in talks with SEACOM, the company that owns and operates a submarine fibre-optic cable connecting communication carriers in south and East Africa about the possibility of being connected to the cable.

“We are negotiating on the possibility of getting connected once the cables reach Kigali but while examining other alternatives as well,” said Francis Karemera, New Artel CEO.
Internet Service Provider for Africa (ISPA) Director, Yvon Kaningu said that they are also negotiating for connection and the service will be available to clients once a contract is signed.

Khaled Makkawi, the CEO of MTN-Rwanda said that the Nyarutama-based telecommunication company will be able to tap from the cables once connections reach the border of Gatuna.

The current status of play means that only two of the ten ISP licensed companies are in advanced stages of getting connected to the fibre optic cable.

Altech Stream Rwanda is closing in on having interim connections while Rwandatel expects to be connected by the end of this month through its sister company, Uganda Telecom (UTL).

RHODA targets increased exports

The Rwanda Horticulture Development Authority (RHODA) hopes to increase its exports as government proposes to merge with the Rwanda Tea Authority (Ocir-the) and Rwanda Coffee Development Authority (Ocir-cafe).

According to RHODA, the merger of the three agencies will ensure one strategy for exporting products and market Rwanda as one country.

“Both the cabinet and the parliament have endorsed the merger of the three agencies, which will harmonise the operations and strategy of the new body,” said Peter Muvara, the Chairperson of RHODA.

The merger is also expected to improve efficiency, coordination of activities and investment promotion in the sector hence promoting high productivity.

The horticulture sector projects that by 2010 at least $12 million of export receipts would have been attained, though it remains under-developed. Currently the industry’s attracts $1.5 million.

Although the exports are likely to increase, there are not yet any new projections made for horticulture under the new strategy according to the chairperson of RHODA.

60,000 KCB shares traded since cross-listing

Over 62,000 Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) shares have been traded on the Rwanda over the Counter (OTC) market since the bank cross listed in Rwanda.

Olivier Kamanzi, the Executive Director of the Capital Markets Advisory Council (CMAC) that the share prices on the OTC market have ranged between Rwf67-68, which is a positive response from the public.

However, on regional stock exchanges, KCB shares have been registering slow performances with the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) suffering a 25 percent drop.

Both the Uganda Stock Exchange (USE) and the Dar-el-salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) are also reportedly responding slowly to KCB share listing. The CMAC official, attributing information to KCB’s financial report, said that that the situation has started improving.

Private sector wants BNR’s cash withdraw limits reserved
Members of the private sector have called for the removal of central Bank’s condition of withdrawing a maximum of Rwf5 million from commercial banks in order to meet their working capital needs.

This follows the National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) advising commercial banks to limit their daily maximum cash withdrawals by individuals and companies to Rwf5 million.

Central Bank said the move was aimed at controlling cash movement in the economy as well as encouraging electronic and cheque transaction.

However, the business community say that the new arrangement could encourage keeping large sums of cash at home, thus limiting national banking activities.

However, François Kanimba governor of the National Bank of Rwanda said that the issue is poorly expressed by commercial banks and that Central Bank did not totally cap depositors withdrawals at Rwf5 million.

EAC plans joint annual regional expo

The East African Community (EAC) is planning to hold a regional exhibition of goods, products and services manufactured within the bloc, Rwanda’s Minister of Trade and Industry said.

Monique Nsanzabaganwa said that as the partner states continue to foster the integration process, there is a proposal to have a region expo.

“This is a proposal we are considering as a region to strengthen trade. We have discussed it as Trade Ministers and a decision is yet to be reached,” she explained.The expo will be held on a rational basis.

KCB goes upcountry

The Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Rwanda has opened up two upcountry branches in a bid to consolidate itself presences in the country.

The two branches are located in Huye district in the southern province and Rubavu district in the western province of Rwanda.

Maurice K. Toroitich, the Managing Director of KCB Rwanda said that the branches offer all services like those offered at the main branch while more are expected to open soon.

The bank plans two more branches in Remera and Kimironko to supplement the main branch located in the city centre.

The development comes a few months after the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) approved the Kenya bank giants to open four branches simultaneously.

Rwanda tea prices rise at Mombasa auction

Rwanda tea prices at the weekly Mombasa auction market rose smoothly this week compared to last week due to high demand that resulted from low supplies.

The Rwanda Tea Authority (Ocir—The) said that tea prices from all factories averaged $2.96 (Rwf1,337) per Kilogram in the auction held on August 11, to $3.13 (Rwf1,766) per Kilogram in the August 18 auction.

“The average increase is attributed to the low supply while there is a high demand at the international market and also production has fallen following an unfavourable weather condition in the country,” said Francis Twagirayezu, Ocir- Thé Representative at the Mombasa auction market.

Rwanda offered 109,932 Kilograms for auctioning this week but only 7,776 Kilograms were not sold.