Rwanda, PSG celebrate three years of success, extend partnership

Following the successful first three years of working together, Paris Saint-Germain – one of the world’s top football clubs and sports brands – and Visit Rwanda, the tourism-focused arm of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), have renewed their partnership through to 2025. As announced on Wednesday, May 10, the agreement will see Visit Rwanda continue its partnership with the French club with the goal of showcasing Rwanda as a top tourism and investment destination on the African continent, developing cultural, and creative synergies, and promoting Rwandan coffee and tea.

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Rwanda, Volkswagen sign MoU to start GenFarm project

Volkswagen has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Rwanda to establish a modern farm with electric tractors. The objective of the GenFarm Project in Rwanda is to make positive sustainable socio-economic and environmental impact on the community by creating a carbon neutral business ecosystem

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Rwanda, Seychelles waive visas, ink five pacts to deepen relations

The bilateral agreements signed aim at fostering cooperation in the field of defense and security, law enforcement, agriculture, health, and tourism. "Building on our strong bilateral ties, we intend to deepen our cooperation across strategic areas of mutual benefits. For Seychelles and Rwanda, tourism is a key driver of economic growth. Collectively, there is a lot we can do to make the sector more sustainable and resilient. Tourism creates enormous opportunities for air connectivity and commercial links bringing businesses from Seychelles and Rwanda closer together”.

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Djibouti and Rwanda foreign ministers sign cooperation agreements

The Foreign Ministries of Djibouti and Rwanda signed three agreements to strengthen cooperation in diplomatic training, agriculture and tourism. On the agreements signed, both foreign ministers agreed on the need for them to be dynamic and bring results in transforming the lives of both peoples as soon as possible.

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Rwanda to invest $28m to use landfill gas for cooking and lighting

Landfill gas utilization will contribute to creation of revenue generation opportunities for stakeholders in the waste management process chain, improved quality of water, soil and local atmosphere, increased access to electricity and reduced dependency on traditional biomass energy.

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Google partner Deimos plans Rwanda, Zambia, North Africa expansion

Google’s biggest cloud partner in Africa Deimos is planning to expand into new African countries including Rwanda and Zambia, Deimos CEO Andrew Mori tells The Africa Report. Rwanda is top agenda with entry planned for next year.

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MoU signed to strengthen collaboration between Somalia and Rwanda

The last three decades have been particularly difficult for Somalia. Since the 2012 establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia, a number of structural reforms have been put in place to boost domestic business and foreign direct investments in Somalia. The Somalia Investment Promotion Office and the Rwanda Development Board just signed an MoU to strengthen investment cooperation between Rwanda and Somalia. Mohamed Dubo, the Director of Somalia Investment Promotion Office shares more on the MoU and the work being done to make Somalia an investment destination in this exclusive interview with CNBC Africa. 

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Rwandan startup listed among World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers of 2022

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has unveiled a list of 100 innovative tech startups for its 2022 Technology Pioneers cohort which include a Rwandan firm, Ampersand.

According to WEF, the Technology Pioneers’ list is an assemblage of leading “early-to growth-stage companies from around the world that are pioneering new technologies and innovations.”

These startups are at the forefront of their industries, leading change and solving some of the world’s most pressing problems including climate change, food security, cybersecurity, etc.

This year’s cohort consists of 100 startups from across the world, including these six from Africa —Okra, Access Afya, Sendy, Pula Advisors, Ejara and Ampersand.

Following their unveiling, the technology pioneers will now join an alumni community that comprise some of the world’s most valuable tech companies, including Google, Twitter, Spotify, Wikipedia and Mozilla, etc.

“By joining this community, Technology Pioneers begin a two-year journey where they are part of the World Economic Forum’s initiatives, activities and events, bringing their cutting-edge insight and fresh thinking to critical global discussions. Technology Pioneers are an integral part of the Forum’s Global Innovators community, which is an invitation-only group of the world’s most promising start-ups and scale-ups that are at the forefront of technological and business model innovation,” said a statement by WEF.

The African startups

Okra: Okra is a Nigerian API/fintech startup that specialises in digitalising financial services across the continent. The company does this by making it possible for fintechs and even banks to easily access customers’ financial information/data.

Access Afya: This Kenyan startup specialises in the provision of quality and affordable healthcare for the global mass market. Using technology, the healthtech startup leverages available “patient data to facilitate efficient diagnostic, operational and follow-up care pathways.”

Sendy: This is also a Kenyan startup and it specialises in building Africa’s ecommerce fulfilment infrastructure for consumer brands. In other words, the company makes “trading in Africa easier and more beneficial to more people” according to information available on its website.

Pula Advisors: This Kenyan startup doubles as an insurance and technology company, designing innovative insurance and other digital products for farmers. The goal is to de-risk all agricultural investments and guarantee profit.

Ampersand: This Rwandan startup has been described as the leading battery-swap energy network for light vehicles. Information available on its website says: “We offer East Africa’s five million taxi motorcyclists a commercial electric motorcycle that is cheaper from day one, provides better overall user experience and requires minimal customer behaviour change.”

Ejara: This Cameroonian startup specialises in helping Africans at home and in the diaspora to invest in different forms of investments including equities, cryptos, commodities, etc.

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Rwanda and Alibaba launch the first Electronic World Trade Platform hub in Africa

The government of Rwanda and Alibaba have come together to establish the first Electronic World trade Platform hub in Africa. The agreement will strengthen economic development and digital economy of Rwanda. It also ensures trading of Rwandan products and will facilitate tourism in Rwanda.

The trading of products in China will ensure the improvement in the quality of products and productivity. Several brands of Rwandan single origin coffee are already getting a good response in the world’s largest online product selling platform. This agreement will ensure that Rwandan products will reach to more than half a billion consumers of Alibaba.

The reach to a large number of people will result in the increase in profit which will encourage entrepreneurs and business companies to work harder and attract more people to invest. This will eventually accelerate the economic development of Rwanda. Alibaba’s online travel platform Figgy and Rwandan Development board will work together to promote Rwanda tourism to Chinese customers.

Alibaba will also continue supporting Rwandan entrepreneurs through eFounders Fellowship program. UNCTAD and Alibaba are training 1,000 entrepreneurs and two hundred of them will be from Africa. Five Rwandan entrepreneurs have already graduated.

Alibaba has also organized Global E-commerce Talent Program (GET) which is a five-day course and 50 university lecturers across Rwanda have joined there to deepen their knowledge in e-commerce. This course will help them to train digital talents and future entrepreneurs to compete in the global economy. Rwanda’s economic development is surely on the right path.

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KCB opens new subsidiary in Rwanda after merger

KCB Group is banking on its new subsidiary BPR Bank Plc Rwanda to more than double its regional business in the next two years and support economic expansion in the East African country.

KCB said scaling its regional business was critical for the future, adding that it will bolster its investments in Rwanda. The lender is currently eyeing the newest member of the East African Community – the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This, said KCB Group CEO Joshua Oigara, will also see the bank invest significantly to support the key economic sectors like housing, agriculture, and hospitality.

The lender merged KCB Bank Rwanda with its newly acquired Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR) to form BPR Bank Rwanda Plc last month.

“We are delighted with the possibilities that lay ahead, as this integration has enabled us to buttress our leadership position, giving us a stronger edge to play a bigger role in driving the financial inclusion agenda in East Africa, while building a robust and financially sustainable organisation,” said Mr Oigara during the unveiling of BPR Bank in Kigali on Wednesday.

BPR is now the second-largest lender in Rwanda, following the merger, giving KCB a stronger edge in deepening its corporate and retail banking in the country.

“We want to revolutionise the way we do business, guaranteeing ultimate satisfaction to our esteemed customers, as they interact with us,” Mr Oigara added.

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge said central banks across the region are in the process of harmonising critical policies to facilitate the attainment of a single currency by 2024.

This process, he said, is ongoing and will lead to convergence of regulatory frameworks across the region with a view to reducing transaction costs and allowing seamless transactions across the region.

“As a Central Bank, our vision is to build an industry that works for all East Africans. As such, the new entity BPR Rwanda is a step in the right direction,” he said.

He challenged regional banks to commit more resources to the regional integration agenda which has huge financing needs.

“A lot more needs to be done to meet financing needs in the region such as infrastructure, manufacturing, and greening our economy. This can only be enhanced by integration (financial) and consolidation…” Dr Njoroge said.

BPR Bank will have a range of debit and credit cards to simplify payments for its customers, a service it launched in Kigali on Wednesday.

BPR Bank Rwanda has an asset base of Rwf648 billion ($632 million) and a network of 154 branches, after Bank of Kigali, the biggest local bank.

Figures by the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), the country’s central bank, show the banking sector remains profitable with earnings increasing by 53.6 percent to Rwf125.5 billion ($122 million) in 2021.

The banking sector assets grew by 17.5 percent to Rwf5,064 billion ($4.9 billion) last year, mainly driven by the growth of deposits, capital injections, and profits.

The country’s financial sector, however, remains highly concentrated as banks account for about 67.2 percent of total financial services assets, according to figures by the central bank.

Foreign-owned banks in Rwanda hold 46.7 percent of total banking sector assets.

Analysts say the merger will stimulate stiff competition in Rwanda’s banking sector as the existing banks fight to retain and expand their market share.

“We are excited to see this milestone come through. These two organisations have the right synergies to come together and succeed, especially in this market where there is a need to provide various products and services to our young population to foster not only economic development but also improve quality of life for the population,” said Dr Édouard Ngirente, Rwanda Prime Minister, while officiating the event.

KCB has subsidiaries in Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi as well as a representative office in Ethiopia.

KCB Group’s net profit for 2021 jumped 74 percent to Ksh34.2 billion ($300 million) from Ksh19.6 billion ($171.92 million) in 2020, driven by higher revenues from trading operations and by over 50 percent reduction in loan loss provisions.

The KCB subsidiaries, including the National Bank of Kenya which was acquired by KCB in 2019, doubled their total contribution to the Group’s net profit to $47.32 million from $24.1 million, for the full year ending December 31, 2021.

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