27 March 2011

Rwanda: Business Round Up

Gov't, development partners discuss aid effectiveness

During the 7th development partners retreat in Rubavu District, Government, development partners and the private sector agreed there should be more effective utilisation of aid.

John Rwangombwa, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said it requires all concerned parties to embrace aid effectiveness agenda, to reduce unnecessary implementation costs through the use of country systems, and making aid more predictable in line with mutual accountability.

It was also revealed that government is seeking to create a single treasury account in order to effectively manage funds from different donor accounts. It was noted that since there is no such set up, there is less effectiveness of aid.

The retreat is an annual forum through which government and development partners review achievements while planning ahead by exchanging ideas, seeking innovative solutions to development challenges and jointly agree on practical ways of addressing them.

Rwandan companies exhibit at French fair

Rwandan companies including The New Times Publication SARL, RwandAir, and the Rwanda High Commission in Uganda were among companies that participated in celebrating the Francophone Day in Kampala.

The day which is annually celebrated in March is internationally recognized under the theme 'Solidarity'.

Simon Kayitana, The New Times Country Manager in Uganda, said the exhibition was a "grand opportunity" for the paper to showcase the immense growth registered.

He said that, at the paper's exhibition stand, many visitors appreciated the well-balanced and researched analytical information the newspaper provides to its readers.

Tigo launches dual SIM phone

Tigo Rwanda introduced a dual SIM handset to save its subscribers from moving with two phones.

The phone which accommodates two sim cards costs Rwf 24,700.

With one slot fixed for a Tigo SIM card, the other is open for any other SIM card. It also has a video camera, still camera, FM radio, Internet, MP3 player, Bluetooth, a memory card slot and a colour screen.

The Marketing Manager of Tigo Rwanda, Nina Ndabaneze, said the company was pleased to offer its subscribers with an affordable mobile phone that will allow them use any other SIM card while keeping their Main Tigo SIM card.

He also said this makes the company the first to provide its clients with a phone type with such a service.

Geothermal project needs US$935m

It was reported that Rwanda needs US$935 million to extract 310MW of electricity from geothermal energy in the next seven years.

Collette Ruhamya, State minister in charge of energy, said that as government's effort to attract private investment into the project, plans are under way to install geothermal drilling infrastructure in August this year.

Ruhamya noted that as soon as drilling is complete, donors, partners and the private sector will realise the project's potential that will drive them into investing in it.

The Ministry statement indicated that areas including Gisenyi, Karisimbi Volcano and Bugarama are high geothermal sources.

Ruhamya said that government will assume the risks involved in the drilling process as a prerogative to attract investors who have been reluctant to invest in the project.

Kenya currently leads Africa in geothermal power production with over 210 MW of projects completed.

Nakumatt to expand in Kigali

The management of Nakumatt Rwanda, a subsidiary of Nakumatt Holdings, said that it will be opening another outlet in Kigali.

The new outlet expected to open in August this year will be at Kigali City Towers and twice bigger than the current one at Union Trade Center (UTC).

Nakumatt Holdings Managing Director, Atul Shah, said the move is to bring services near customers to avoid moving all the way across the town.

The Director said total investment outlay in the project is estimated at of -2.5m (Rwf2.1b) adding that it is one of the company's wider expansion plans in the region.

Nakumatt Rwanda Country Manager, Adan Ramata, said expansion had not been possible for the last three years due to the global economic crisis.

He also said a suitable location for expansion had not been secured. The new branch is estimated to employee 100 workers just like the current branch.

Private sector lauds development partners' dialogue

The Private Sector Federation (PSF), the umbrella organisation of the business community has supported the idea of the development partners' dialogue with government and the private sector.

Antoine Manzi, the Director of Employment at PSF said that as the government seeks to have a private sector led economy, it was important to engage PSF since the private sector is a pillar in economic development.

Manzi was speaking during the annual development partners' retreat at Lake Kivu Serena hotel in Rubavu district in which government asses its achievements as it plans a head by exchanging ideas, seek innovative solutions to development challenges and jointly agree on practical solutions.

He said PSF uses the forum to do advocacy work for businesses, especially in areas where they encounter challenges.

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