Airline businesses hit by low ticket sales
Travel agents in Kigali recorded a significant decline in airline ticket sales for the past month.
Operators say that ticket sales are dwindling as the airlines enter into the traditional “low season” that normally runs from January to April.
The low season follows dramatic sales made during the “peak summer season” which starts with August, a popular month for vacationing till December.
“Generally ticket sales went down last year due to the effects of the financial crisis. Compared to the peak season, sales are now going down since we are entering a different season,” an official of the International Travel Agency (IATA) at Union Trade Centre (UTC) building told Business Times. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak on behalf of IATA.
IATA currently handles services of five airlines including; Kenya Airways, SN Brussels, Ethiopian Airlines, South African and the national courier RwandAir.
Officials at another agency, Afab Safaris and Travel Agency on Avenue la Paix also echoed low ticket sales even during the peak season last year.
Government drops the concentrate plant project
Government says it has dropped plans to partner with private investors in the establishment of the $700,000 (Rwf399.9 million) concentrate plant that will help Rwanda’s horticulture products to compete on the international market.
The move to have the concentrate plant came after it was established that Rwanda’s horticulture products have been limited on the international market because of their unprocessed nature.
Agnes Kalibata, the Agriculture Minister said government decided to cancel the partnership in a move geared towards market liberalisation.
“We realised it is better for these local industries to take up the project because they have the capacity. It is government’s wish to liberalise the market,” Kalibata said.
However, she said that government will provide technical support to have the best quality for particular markets.
Information from Rwanda Horticulture Development Authority (RHoDA) states that less than 10 percent of horticulture products from Rwanda are processed.
Bourbon coffee seeks franchise expansion
Bourbon Coffee, Rwanda’s chain Coffee Store has launched franchise plans, saying it is set to grant, to five independent operators, the right to distribute its products, techniques, and trademarks.
Emmanuel Murekezi, Bourbon Coffee’s Operations Manager said the coffee retail conglomerate is weighing up options of franchising Bourbon’s trademark to other private companies in DR Congo, Tanzania, Sweden and Canada.
He also added that franchising is going to be a very profitable venture which will increase the company’s market base.
Bourbon Coffee has seen significant expansion in the last four year with three corporate shops in Rwanda and one unit in the US, Washington D.C.
Murekezi said the company is planning to open two coffee shops in Boston and New York by the end of 2010.
He also revealed that the company is planning to open up more shops in Kigali city.
Administrative statistics still a challenge
The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) said that it has managed to periodically produce national statistical data but still challenged by administrative statistics for particular sectors of the economy.
The national statistics body said on Wednesday that compilation of data, especially in the sectors of infrastructure, education, labour, commerce and trade sectors is still a challenge.
The sectors are regarded as being critical to economic, social and demographic development as well as good governance.
“These are challenging fields, building statistics requires time but we are moving progressively,” Yusufu Murangwa, Acting Director General of the NISR said.
Administrative data consists of information that is critical to the success of the institution as a whole.
Murangwa said they are working closely with line ministries and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to develop and provide updated administrative statistics.
EABS cable to be ready by July 2010
East African Backhaul System (EABS) cable that runs from Mombasa to Dar es Salaam, allowing connectivity to the region’s landlocked countries is set to be ready for service by the end of July, 2010.
The infrastructure (EABS) link runs across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, feeding from cable systems that landed at both Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.
During a recent meeting of the EABS Project Management Team (PMT) in Kigali, the team revealed that the fibre backbone infrastructure is now fully in place in four of the five EAC countries.
The meeting was organised by MTN Rwanda and attracted different regional operators including Onatel, U-Com, Burundi’s Sitec, TTCL, Zantel, MTN Uganda, Uganda Telecom, Telcom Kenya as well as Uganda’s Warid Telecom.
“Currently, the Burundi segment of EABS is under construction, while the Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda segments are in place. Only the Tanzanian link is missing,” the team said in a joint statement.
They also revealed that the Burundi segment will be ready by mid this year.