Business round-up

Rwandans assured on food security  The Rwanda Agriculture Development Authority (RADA) has assured Rwandans that they will not go hungry, despite this week’s warning by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) the East African region is bound to have severe food shortages.
Abundant food
Abundant food

Rwandans assured on food security 

The Rwanda Agriculture Development Authority (RADA) has assured Rwandans that they will not go hungry, despite this week’s warning by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) the East African region is bound to have severe food shortages.

FAO, a UN body charged with insuring food security warned that regional countries were all well below average and that prospects for Eritrean crops also are poor.

However RADA have assured the nation that owing to a major improvement in agricultural production the country has a food balance of 6 months from July to December 2009.

Rwanda’s overall agricultural production for the 2009 season between February and June went up by 6.5 percent as compared with the same season in 2008.

Norbert Sendege, the Acting Director General of RADA said that figures on production for the 2009 season show that there is a surplus of food in the country and food scarcity is not a threat. 

The national food balance sheet shows a surplus of 197 metric tonnes excluding imports, food aid and stock.

‘Mountain Tea’ acquires stake in Kitabi at $4m

Rwanda Mountain Tea, owners of the Rubaya and Nyabihu tea factories has acquired the 65 percent government stake in Kitabi tea factory in Nyamagabe district, Southern Province at $4 million (Rwf2.3 billion).

The Director General of Rwanda Tea Authority (Ocir-Thé), Anthony Butera said “The deal was technically finalised on Monday. Ocir-The and Rwanda Development Boards (RDB) finalised the deal with Rwanda Mountain Tea and now the factory is under their management.”

Rwanda Mountain Tea in 2006 also procured government stake in Nyabihu and Rubaya at a combined total amount of $3 million (Rwf1.7 billion), leaving 10 percent shares to local cooperatives.

Kitabi tea factory, which  produced about 1.7 million Kgs of tea in 2008, was one of the two tea factories government put up for sale this year in order facilitate the much needed investment for expansion of the sector.

The other on sale is Gisakura tea factory in Nyamasheke district, Western Province with 45 percent shares.

Madhvani to rollout more investments next year

Madhvani Group, a multi million dollar group of companies is planning to rollout further investments in Rwanda’s ICT and insurance sector within the course of next year, the groups’ Director has revealed.

Jim Mwine Kabeho said that the group’s Software Application firm will start as early as January, 2010. Software Applications Uganda is the channel partner for ‘Systems Union’ and ‘Sun Systems’ that provides business solutions such as accounting, and human resources.

“We are targeting a joint venture with local IT firms but even if there is none to partner with, we will rollout. The insurance firm will then follow within the course of next year,” he said.

The IT investment project alongside tourism and insurance were highlighted during the group’s meeting with President Paul Kagame last year.

The group which also owns Rwanda’s sole sugar factory, Kabuye Sugar Works (KSW) is valued at $200 million (Rwf113 billion) as of April, 2009.

BDS to restructure operations

The Private Sector Federation (PSF) an umbrella body of private businesses will restructure Business Development Services (BDS) in order to focus on being action oriented than playing an advisory role.

The body was established by PSF to help rural business people expand their business 0020knowledge.

Manzi Antoine, the Director Entrepreneurship Development and Business Growth at PSF said that they want to provide wider markets, create accounting systems and provide materials that may be useful to the businesses.

The BDS programme that started with four BDS centres in the country has grown to seventeen centres and the target is to have one centre in every district by 2012.

Rwandair officially opens a sales office in Nairobi

The national carrier, Rwandair officially opened a sales office in Nairobi, Kenya in order to lower and match aviation taxes that encourage air travel, according to the airline’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO.

Gerald Zirimwabagabo said that successful airline operations cannot exist without the active and deliberate involvement of governments.

“These authorities need to lower and harmonise various taxes levied on air travel, I am convinced this will stimulate the much needed air travel for our people,” he added.

Banks reluctant to facilitate the OLPC project

Both the banks and school administration are not willing to take up risks in a move to facilitate parents to purchase computers under the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

Richard Niyonkuru, the OLPC Coordinator in the Ministry of Education said that many parents do not have collaterals to access the loans while the banks wanted schools to take up the responsibility and do follow ups on parents to pay up

“This is a challenge because the move would help us (OLPC) increase the ratio of children with access to the laptop but the ministry is in discussion with BRD to facilitate this,” he said.

OLPC was launched to guarantee every Rwandan primary school student to have access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). One of the excuses given by the school administrators is that parents have failed to meet their pledges.

Only 8,000 laptops have been distributed in 18 schools most of which are located in Kigali and only six outside Kigali.

Ends

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