News of Rwanda (Kigali)

Rwanda: Kagame Tells Critics Rwanda Not Exporting DR Congo Minerals

President Paul Kagame on Monday told the nation that rising revenue from minerals exports was a result of minerals mined inside Rwanda - as he moved to dismiss long standing accusations that the country was benefiting from the mineral wealth of its neighbor DR Congo.

Speaking at Parliament in the 2013 State of the Nation address, Kagame said in the first six months of this year Rwf 30billion has been obtained from minerals. This amount, the President said, is way above compared to Rwf 39billion ($136.6m) earned for the whole of 2012.

"And mind you all these minerals being exported are from within Rwanda, not from anywhere else as has been suggested," said Kagame, amid laughter from the packed joint session of parliament. He did not name any country, but said "our neighbours".

"You can imagine what the figure would be if the minerals perceived to be from our neighbours would be included," said Kagame.

"Rwanda is making good use of its mineral wealth, and we would actually like to see even our neighbours benefiting more from theirs," added the President.

In the 40-min address, Kagame spoke about all the sectors of the country - telling lawmakers that the country was on the right track.

He said more than 86% women are giving birth in hospital, while child mortality of under-fives dropped tremendously. To date, 95% of children have been immunized against the 12 major diseases. "We want to decrease malaria deaths from 5.5% to zero within five years," said Kagame.

On education, the President said the number of students going to school increased by 7% in primary school, and 6% for secondary school. As for university - the figure expanded by 10 percent, from 76,629 students last year to 84,448 this year.

As for vocational training, which is being emphasized by to deal with unemployment, the President said the government has put more resources in TVET - with budget allocation increasing from Rwf 10.5 billion to Rwf 30.5 billion this year.

On security, President Kagame informed the nation that the entire territory of Rwanda was extremely secure - a situation that had been highlighted by even international bodies. The President was referring to a Gallup research which said Rwanda was one of the safest places and much more when it came to security for women.

"All Rwandans and foreigners can conduct their businesses day and night without any incidence," said the Head of State.

On social protection programs, the President said more programs are in the works to support the poorest. For the One Cow per Family (Gina Inka), the President said it continues to lift Rwandans out of poverty with 184,000 cows given this year. This is compared to the total of 300,000 cattle which were distributed the all the previous years combined.

Despite expressing satisfaction with the state of affairs in other sectors, the President openly told energy sector technocrats of his unhappiness with the current situation. The country is producing about 110MW of power - which has seen daily power cuts in the past weeks.

"I believe those responsible are listening," said Kagame. "We want electricity quickly, quickly - there is no way we can meet all our ambitious development targets without electricity."

The Head of State directed all government departments to ensure that the 20th genocide commemoration due in April and the 20th Liberation anniversary for July, be give the importance they deserve. All necessary efforts must be put in place to make sure Rwandans from all walks of life feel involved because these two events mark significant steps in the country's development, said Kagame.

The President ended his annual address with the "Ndi Umunyarwanda" national program under which individual Rwandans are being encouraged to open up to others. The concept has seen people from the "Hutu" and "Tutsi" communities asking for forgiveness for what befell the country in 1994.

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