Category Archives: Africa’s Politics

Rwandans giving to Kenya approx. $80 Million through Banking.

Kenya Ripping Benefits of East African Community membership.

A few years ago, EAC ( East African Community) made it easy for business to expand beyond borders; Kenyan banking titans seem to have taken the opportunity with both hands. The East African reports that “Rwanda is now the most profitable market for Kenyan bank subsidiaries in the region, overtaking Tanzania where the lenders face a challenging business environment.” It further reports that 29% of all the banking profits from abroad comes from Rwanda; that is a significant ROI given the relative small size of the population in Rwanda compared to neighboring countries like Uganda and Tanzania.

The kenyan banks that have branches in Rwanda include but not limited to Equity Bank, KCB Group, I&M,  and  CBA. The later is owned Uhuru Kenyatta. The family spend nearly $10 million to acquire Crane Bank Rwanda.

Rwanda overtakes Tanzania — which was the best performing market in 2016. It is understood that Rwanda has 55 subsidiaries of Kenyan banks.

Theme in Africa: Don’t oppose your dictator president. Music Legend Bobi Wine Charged with Treason

A Ugandan pop star-turned-politician who opposes the country’s longtime president was charged with treason in a civilian court on Thursday, minutes after a military court dropped weapons charges.

The new charge was expected to bring fresh outrage from Ugandans and global musicians after Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known as Bobi Wine, alleged he had been severely beaten while in detention. The government denies the claim.

Mr Ssentamu has emerged as an influential critic of president Yoweri Museveni, especially among youth, after winning a parliament seat last year.

The 36-year-old had been charged last week with illegal possession of firearms for his alleged role in an incident in which Mr Museveni’s motorcade was pelted with stones.

A military court freed him on Thursday but the politician was re-arrested by police and taken to a magistrates’ court.

Mr Ssentamu limped during his appearance in military court and appeared to cry as he rubbed his eyes. A colleague wrapped the national flag about his shoulders. He sat in the dock in magistrates’ court as his lawyers said he was unable to stand on his own.

bobi-wine.jpg

The pop star-turned-politician, centre, leaves shortly after being sworn in as a member of parliament in Kampala (AP)

Lawyers for Mr Ssentamu asked the magistrate to order his remand to a health facility. The magistrate ruled that Mr Ssentamu should be allowed access to his own doctors. He was remanded until 30 August.

 

He had been arrested with four other opposition politicians, three of whom also face treason charges. A fifth has been hospitalised with injures allegedly sustained during detention.

Mr Ssentamu’s appearance on Thursday was the first time he had been seen in public since his detention. He clenched his fists and greeted supporters.

In recent days Uganda’s government has faced mounting pressure at home and abroad to free him. Security forces have violently put down street protests demanding his release.

On Thursday, other opposition figures expressed concern about being targeted by security forces. “Every way out of my home is barricaded since very early today,” Kizza Besigye, a four-time presidential challenger who has been jailed many times, tweeted.

Protesters set a bonfire on a street to demand the release of Bobi Wine

Police spokesman Emilian Kayima later said Mr Besigye was arrested when he tried to force his way out.

Police were also deployed, under what the spokesman called “preventive arrest,” at the homes of certain Ugandans after receiving intelligence that some “wanted to engage in criminal activities”.

An Attempt to Allay the Americans’ Obsession with the Ebola Outbreak.

When I was a little lad, Ebola was a few miles from home, just across the border, in Kabare, one of the largest slum in Uganda. This suburb in South of Uganda, a country in East Africa, had several cases of Ebola, but at the time, the disease never crossed the border to Rwanda, my birth country. Uganda embarked on embargoes that stopped the outbreak. Few will deny that this time around is different, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the worst in History. Ascertaining possible measures to avert the Ebola from spreading around the world, and especially to keep it out of here home, in the USA, should be a priority, but I disagree with people that are reinforcing the fears and paranoia driving America’s quasi-apocalyptic political mood. I disagree with people who think that every person coming from the African continent is contaminated. The general public fear doesn’t disappoint, what disappoint the most is that pundits and political figures are the ones causing  worry and anxiety so many of us are feeling these days.

Image: Africa without Ebola Map by the Washington Post

Image: Africa without Ebola Map by the Washington Post

Image: Africa without Ebola Map by the Washington Post

The big problem is ignorance and misinformation with Ebola. It is not acceptable to see a clueless Kentucky school causing the resignation of a teacher because she spent time in Kenya. And that idiocy leads to fear which leads to people like Chris Christie implementing nonsensical anti-science quarantine restrictions, and most recently seeing Governor LePage of Maine hunting down a nurse who was initially screened and found free of Ebola a few weeks ago. This is not blind optimism, but I shall state that the recent Ebola scare that kept two children who had moved from Rwanda to New Jersey from attending school, despite the fact the East African country is Ebola-free (and further from West Africa than New Jersey is to Texas) is an absolute bêtise. In fact, Africa is a co and Westerners often have trouble understanding its geography. Earlier this year, The Washington Post ran an online quiz that asked their readers to name African nations, most cannot locate a single country of Africa on a blank map.

The Ebola outbreak is not a new story. In 2000, Ebola occurred in Gulu, Masindi, and Mbarara districts of Uganda, just a few miles from my home district in Rwanda. The three greatest risks were associated with people attending funerals of case-patients, having contact with case-patients in one’s family, and providing medical care to case-patients without using adequate personal protective measures. (Okware et al) A few years later, Uganda was struck again by Ebola; this time around it occurred in Bundibugyo District in western Uganda between December 2007 and January 2008. It is not surprising that the disease disappeared again. (Towner et al)What is surprising the most is that Uganda did little to stop it. They did not have advanced medical technologies like Western countries do.

Despite today’s outbreak being the largest in history, so far the problem remains largely limited to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Two other countries, Nigeria and Senegal, have had cases, yet are now Ebola-free. The Democratic Republic of Congo had an outbreak of a different strain of Ebola that now looks like it might be contained. Despite clear geographical limits to the Ebola outbreak, many Americans seem confused. On August 1st, 2014, Donald J. Trump, an American magnate businessman, and politic shaker said in his tweet, “The US cannot allow Ebola infected people back. People that go far way places to help out are great—but must suffer the consequences.

With the allusion to the general public opinions in the aftermath of the first death caused by Ebola in the United States, my friends and I were having a debate about how people perceive Ebola. Everyone in my DC Circuits class seemed to understand Ebola, and its scope of expansion, but still everyone seemed unaware of exactly how many Ebola patients are in Africa. The epidemic is at a critical turning point. It has infected 8,400 people so far, but it is spreading very quickly and projections suggest it could infect 1 million people or more over the next several months if not addressed. Ebola needs to get under control in the near term so that it doesn’t spread further and become a long term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio.

The bottom line is that people should not act in fear, but they should heroically take measures that keep them away of the danger. While the use of survivor’s blood is not a proven therapy against Ebola, the World Health Organization urged in September it be used as an experimental treatment. Survivors develop antibodies that recognize the virus and, in theory, donating some to a sick patient may help fight the disease. One of the things people can do is to support the Center for Disease Prevention (CDC). Donations to the CDC Foundation helps CDC in its real-time response to the epidemic while enhancing disease surveillance and response in these countries going forward. Just two weeks after Kent Brantly, the first person to be treated on U.S. soil for Ebola, walked out of Emory University Hospital cured of the deadly virus, he received a call that another doctor, Rick Sacra, was infected and he was asked if he would he be willing to donate some of his blood. He said, ‘I would give Rick Sacra my right arm if it would help him,’” Brantly told reporters at an event in North Carolina. This paranoia that causing us all to fear as if the biblical apocalypse has arrived should stop. People should research a little bit more about where the Ebola cases are, before segregating everyone coming from Africa. And while some western African regions are becoming Ebola epicenters, let’s not forget that medical technologies are being developed, and that the international community has already put in places strategies to stop this deadly disease.

 

  1. Towner, J. S.; Sealy, T. K.; Khristova, M. L.; Albariño, C. S. G.; Conlan, S.; Reeder, S. A.; Quan, P. L.; Lipkin, W. I.; Downing, R.; Tappero, J. W.; Okware, S.; Lutwama, J.; Bakamutumaho, B.; Kayiwa, J.; Comer, J. A.; Rollin, P. E.; Ksiazek, T. G.; Nichol, S. T. (2008). Basler, Christopher F., ed.“Newly Discovered Ebola Virus Associated with Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak in Uganda”(Full free text). PLoS Pathogens 4(11): e1000212. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000212.PMC 2581435
  2. Okware, S. I.; Omaswa, F. G.; Zaramba, S.; Opio, A.; Lutwama, J. J.; Kamugisha, J.; Rwaguma, E. B.; Kagwa, P.; Lamunu, M. (2002). “An outbreak of Ebola in Uganda”. Tropical medicine & international health : TM & IH 7 (12): 1068–1075.doi:10.1046/j.1365-3156.2002.00944.xPMID 12460399edit

 

Can Rwanda be more Than a Pretend Economic Power?

THE VISIT to one of the smallest nations in the heart of Africa dusts off an old bromide: Rwanda has a great future–and always will. This lash, green, county-size country seemingly made enormous strides after going through a disastrous political dégringolade that led to Genocide in 1994, and all the crisis to follow in the aftermath. Inflation was halted, and antibusiness regulations were eased. Combined with the global trade boom of the last decade, these measures sent Rwanda’s economy roaring ahead, and the country’s GDP exponentially climbing over the last few decades. It looks as though Rwanda has made the leap to developing status and is, in terms of the size of its economy growth, ready to surge past neighboring countries as Burundi and DRC. It is been proved that Rwanda is showing positive signs of competing in the global market.

rwanda GDP

 

Source: World Bank

As I have recently spoken in an assay about Foreign aid to Africa, nations that change their mentality of waiting for aid, but focus on growing markets and trade eventually start to grow their economies. Rwanda is now the most competitive place to do business in East Africa and 3rd in Africa.  Rwanda is now politically stable with well-functioning institutions, rule of law and zero tolerance for corruption.  It has an 8% average year-on-year GDP growth, stable inflation and exchange rate. These impressive achievements by Rwanda are driven by a clear vision for growth through private investment set out by President Kagame. He has held incentive meetings around the world calling for investments in Rwanda, and he’s adopted a culture of cutting foreign aids little by little with a goal of making Rwanda self-sufficient.

President Kagame, assumed office on 24 March 2000, largely prevailed compared to other candidates to win a second term. The big question was whether he’d turn away from the statist policies that have long plagued and crippled Rwanda’s economy or place his country firmly on the road to the perdition of likes of Burundi and DRC, where stagnation, shrinking political freedom, populist demagoguery and corruption were the norm.

If some wants Rwanda to become a global economic powerhouse rather than an oversize backwater, that person is Paul Kagame. When you online to the World Bank’s annual study and ranking of 189 economies, Doing Business, which measures “the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it.” Rwanda rates excellently, with an overall ranking of 3rd on the African continent. Four categories stand out in which Rwanda wins.

 

– Starting a business.

Starting a business has never been simpler or faster. To register a local enterprise or a foreign subsidiary, the Rwandan Development Board (RDB) provides a quick and efficient registration service allowing to have a business incorporated within 6 hours. The process involves simultaneously obtaining the certificate of incorporation (business registration), Tax Identification Number (tax registration) and the Social Security registration for employee pension submission.

– Dealing with construction permits.

Thanks to Kigali’s new online Construction Permit Management Information System (MIS)—implemented with the support of the World Bank Group’s Rwanda Investment Climate Program in partnership with Investment Climate Facility for Africa. The technology makes acquisition of construction permits faster, simpler, and easier by automating the procedures for application processing and review. In addition, it improves the management information provided to the Kigali’s construction one stop center and Department of Urban Planning.

– Registering property.

– Paying taxes.

Of course, one should mention the socio-economic changes that are apparent due to the acculturation. The globalization of our planet has seen Rwandan kids going to schools abroad and for instance the Huffington post recently said, “Rwanda Could Be The Next Silicon Valley: But it Needs Youth to Help it Get There”. There’s power in youth of Rwanda. Tech Startups, nonprofit foundations and nationwide economic projects are being risen by the Rwandan Youth.

 

I Consider Being Gay Among the Greatest Gifts God Has Given Me.

Tim cook is the current CEO of Apple

Tim cook is the current CEO of Apple

The current CEO of Apple inc, famous for its iphones and touch technologies, has told Bloomberg Business Week that being gay has given him an opportunity to understand the challenges that people in other minorities face every day. It has helped him to living a life full of empathy, which has led to a richer life. “It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.” He said.

Speaking about the word “gay”, he has mentioned that it has changed so much since when he was a little boy.  America didn’t disappoint, it has also changed the way it perceives the word. Today, America is passing laws across the states that equalize marriage, and one should mention that stars, political figures, and other public figures that have come out lionhearted have helped to alter the way people’s perceptions of gays and made the culture more tolerant. Cook also mentioned that just people are still fired, others evicted from their apartments, denied to visit visitors just because there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow to do so based on their sexual orientation.

Team cook said, ‘“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.”’

While things seem to take a whole new level in the United States, let’s not forget that closer to home, in Uganda, a law against gay rights was signed by his excellence President Museveni a year ago. Few will deny that this has something to do with the culture, but if you look back it never was easy in the United States too. Cook admits that this wasn’t an easy choice especially because privacy remains important to him. He is emphasized that this won’t stop him from striving to become the best CEO he can be. He also gave credit to social progress that now understands that a person is not defined only by one’s sexuality, race, or gender.

“I’m an engineer, an uncle, a nature lover, a fitness nut, a son of the South, a sports fanatic, and many other things.” He said.

He hopes that people will continue to respect his desire to focus on things that interest him the most. Apple has long advocated for human rights and equality for all and that includes gay rights. Apple has strongly supported the workplace equality bill before Congress, and has done so for marriage equality in the state of California.

Skyscraper Boom in the African Cleanest City is Mouthwatering

Kigali Skyscrapers

Kigali’s Skyscrapers in construction

 

Africa’s cleanest city, Kigali, is seeing its skyline being transformed at the fastest pace ever by Asian developers building governmental towers. Despite concerns that too many are going up, there are excitements among the citizens about the future of the capital of Rwanda

Companies including The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Gasabo Investment Company and Fair Construction Limited have flocked to build high-rises in Kigali as lifestyles change and the nation moves towards a sustainable economic raise. Several buildings taller than 20 meters are being planned or built, the most on record, according to the Government.

The level of building is unprecedented.

Overseas developers are responding to a shift away from the great Rwandese dream of a life centered on backyards and tall brick fence. They’re also reacting to ever-increasing demand for new, centrally located apartments from buyers seeking to escape their own faltering housing market and improve their quality of life.

About 30,000 apartments are in planning or construction across all of Kigali by Gasabo Investment Company, according to the official website of the enterprise.

Kigali is Irresistible.

The City’s master plan shows how the skylines will be implemented in the City. Apartments will have the greatest views, and the population will not resist to shift from the rural area to the capital.

 

IT’S NO LONGER A DREAM!! INTERNET IS FREE IN TANZANIA

Mark Zuckerberg Post on Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg Post on Facebook

In a post decorated with excitement, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Inc’s Founder just announced via Facebook that they have just launched an internet.org app in Tanzania. “We just launched the Internet.org app in Tanzania, providing free data access to a set of basic internet services.” He Said.

As he stated, Tanzanian citizens can now use the internet for free to run job searches and posting jobs. They also can access health resources and use services like Facebook and BBC News to stay connected and informed. This is a turning point in the internet era. It obviously marks the start of free internet to all.

This same app had been introduced in Zambia, and its socio-economic impact was inspiring.

Here are a few things that can be accessed for free:

  • Healthcare: For example, an expectant mother using the internet to prepare for her pregnancy.
  • Education: A student using Wikipedia to study for her exams. A man living far from the library being able to download books online.
  • Social website: Facebook
  • News: BBC

Facebook keeps moving towards its goal of connecting every single one of us humans. In a post on Facebook, Zuckerberg said, “When people are connected, we can achieve extraordinary things. Today is another small step on our path to connecting the world and making the opportunities of the internet available to everyone.”

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