Morrocan pharmaceutical to construct a plant in Rwanda

Cooper Pharma will open its plant in 2019 , which will occupy about 10,000 square meters.

It will produce beta-lactam antibiotics in light of improving access to high- quality medicines affordable for every Rwandan.

The current South-South cooperation promoted by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, May Allah glorify and assist him, represents the roadmap that has led Cooper Pharma to settle in Rwanda.

On October 19, as part of the Royal visit in East Africa, Cooper Pharma limited and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the purpose of building the first pharmaceutical industry that will operate in early 2019.

The MOU is the second of its kind, following the first MOU signed in Abidjan. The first Moroccan laboratory in East Africa, Cooper Pharma is committed to strengthening its industrial operations on the continent.

On the land covering an area of 10,000 square meters, Cooper Pharma will produce beta-lactam antibiotics in a dedicated industrial zone, and will also produce in the second zone non beta-lactam antibiotics drugs depending on local market demand and GMP standards, like other seven units in Morocco, Africa and Middle East.

Through this new plant, Cooper Pharma will continue to accomplish its mission of improving patient access to medical services across Africa. Cooper Pharma is also planning to share its expertise and train Rwandan workforce  as well as health professionals in the region.

Officials say the project of Cooper Pharma in Rwanda is in coherence with the Rwandan Government policies, which aims to encourage local production and the promotion of foreign direct investments. This will facilitate Cooper Pharma to access the market of six nations that make up East Africa Community (EAC).

African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) officially open for business in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe

 
 
NAIROBI, Kenya. At a press conference, the CEO of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) (www.ATI-aca.org), George Otieno, along with H.E. Dina Mufti, the Ethiopian Ambassador and Gabriel Negatu, Regional Director, African Development Bank announced today that it is ready to begin covering transactions in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. After a year-long process that was supported with funds from the African Development Bank, both countries are now members.

The announcement will give investors crucial comfort to start or continue doing business in these countries.

ATI was established in 2001 by African governments and a range of other shareholders to ease the concerns of investors by providing a range of investment and political risk insurance products.

In the case of Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, ATI will help the country maintain its status as one of Africa’s biggest success stories.

The $66 billion economy has been expanding as much as 10.3 percent annually over recent years, according to the International Monetary Fund, with a dip to 6.5 percent last year due to drought. Ethiopia has also been successful in attracting large manufacturers such as Unilever NV, Diageo Plc and Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) and has taken the lead in export of agricultural products.

For Zimbabwe, membership in ATI would give a boost to the country’s quest to attract foreign direct investments.

“I have no doubt that our membership will contribute to Zimbabwe’s current efforts to reduce the cost of doing business by making political risk and credit insurance, as well as non-payment and FDI cover readily available to exporters, importers and investors,” noted Industry & Commerce Minister Mike Bimha.

He also noted that his office had been inundated with inquiries from the private sector and potential investors on how they could access ATI’s insurance services.

“The African Development Bank is pleased to have financed Ethiopia and Zimbabwe’s membership into ATI. The affiliation with ATI will attract prospective investors with additional guarantees to participate in the priority areas of powering & lighting, feeding, industrializing and integrating both countries. It will also help improve the livelihood of millions of Ethiopians and Zimbabweans,” noted Gabriel Negatu, African Development Bank’s Regional Director.

In both countries, ATI has a current project pipeline estimated at over one billion USD, which is expected to double in the short-term based on existing demand for its products. Prospective projects include a 400 MW solar energy plant in Ethiopia that would contribute to the country’s carbon neutral growth plan to improve the living conditions of its citizens. And in Zimbabwe, ATI is considering a line of credit targeting commercial banks that will allow them to increase their lending volumes.

“I believe our entry into Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, particularly at this time, sends a powerful message to investors. Our presence signals that both countries are open for business because we are standing beside them as a credible and internationally-respected insurer with an ‘A’ rating from S&P. This should be positive news to anyone interested in doing business in the either country,” noted Mr. Otieno, ATI’s Chief Executive Officer.

ATI provides political, investment and trade credit risk insurance and surety bonds to clients doing business in its member countries. The products are created to help countries attract more investments and to promote domestic trade by providing insurance that mitigates against sovereign risks and specifically, currency inconvertibility and exchange transfer, expropriation, trade embargoes, non-honouring of contracts and payment default risks among others.

Are you free online?

forum-on-internet-freedom-in-africa-2016-panelists-667x340_c

Photo:Forum poster.Credits:CIPESA

Despite the potential of social media and Internet in general to promote good governance in Africa, there is still a long way to go as many governments are increasingly stifling citizens’ digital rights.

The just concluded Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa  held in Kampala, Uganda was a great opportunity for human rights defenders, governments and other concerned citizens to exchange ideas and look at ways to deal with rising threats to online freedom.

From different panels I followed and my interactions with participants; I learned that Internet shutdowns, online violence against women, surveillance, and lack of digital security are some key factors that hinder Internet rights.

Internet Shutdown has become a strategy that is used by many governments on the continent to silence critics during protests or elections.

While security concerns raised by authorities may be valid, many political leaders use it as an excuse to deny citizens their rights to access information, and promote their narrative which is often propaganda.
I personally, I have never experienced Internet shutdown but a testimony by Arsene Tungali who has experience in Internet governance and human rights issues in The Democratic Republic of Congo was disturbing.

“Imagine waking up you find you don’t have access to any social network platforms, whatsapp,sms and Internet,” he said at one of the panels.

However, there are other sides of the Internet shut down issue. It looks like every one suffers when Internet is shutdown.

Governments make losses as many ICT enabled services such as e-health relies on Internet, big or small companies also count losses.

But a new aspect was the fact that politicians, opposition and ordinary citizens suffer during shutdowns which often happens at key political moments.

For instance in Uganda both supporters of ruling party ,opposition and common citizens suffered as they all use mobile money for many transactions nowadays.
Violence against women is also on the rise in the digital era. The panel about the issue was enriching.

It seems some Internet users commit online violence unknowingly or knowingly.
“As a woman, what would your first reaction to cyber violence be? Reply for reasons if you can? ” read one tweet short survey

I was shocked by a video mentioned by one of the panelist. It was about a man beating a woman which was trending on Internet.

“Silence is acceptance. When you see a woman being abused online, jump in,”, read another tweet on the issue.

Going forward, there is still a lot to be done in the fight for Internet freedom as 2016 Internet Freedom in Africa report highlights many tactics that are used by governments to control information online.
Civil society, media must keep on pushing for digital rights; while governments should listen because it is in the country’s interests when citizens are free to access information online and to voice their frustration.

As a result, democracy grows and businesses that are increasingly depending on Internet flourish.

Everyone knows that telecom companies, ISPs play a big part in many African economies.
To end I would wish more government involvement in next forums on Internet freedom to understand citizens voices on the matter and contribute to a balanced debate.

Rwanda launches campaign to boost domestic tourism

shores-of-lake-kivu-viewed-from-lochel-resort-a-very-beautiful-area-witha-a-beach-where-visitors-play-volley

Photo:shores of lake Kivu, one of Rwanda’s attractions- a view from a guest house in western Rwanda.

The Rwanda Development Board  has announced the launch of the Tembera U Rwanda campaign, aimed at motivating Rwandans to explore their own country and put the spotlight on domestic travel. The launch will take place on Friday, 30th September to 1st October, 2016 with a tour through the cultural heritage corridor with stop overs at different sites from Kigali to Huye District.

On the itinerary of the launch, several activities will be organized along the cultural corridor to give participants a glimpse into Rwanda’s rich cultural history. These include storytelling at Ijuru rya Kamonyi in Kamonyi District, Kankazi site, Urutare rwa Kamegeri in Ruhango District, historic tours of Nyagakecuru and Ibisi bya Huye. The tour will conclude with live cultural entertainment by the renowned all-female drumming troupe Ingoma Nshya atop Mount Huye.

Speaking at the press conference, the Chief Tourism Officer of RDB, Belise Kariza said; “The domestic tourism campaign is our call to residents to be active participants in the growth of the tourism sector by consuming local products and most importantly by contributing to the country’s brand. I appeal to the private sector to provide both tour packages and special accommodation rates for the domestic market especially at this time.”

Tembera U Rwanda phase 2, will take place for a period of 3 months from October to December, 2016. This campaign is characterized by bus trips for lucky trivia winners who will have a chance to travel free of charge to attraction sites around Rwanda. For the general public, participation will be on a first come, first served basis and registration will be done through the tourism reservations and sales offices around the country.

Kariza added that; “Rwanda is one of the most acclaimed destinations in Africa and it should be appreciated by its residents. With reduced rates for Rwandans and road access to every tourism destination, we invite Rwandans to bear witness to the remarkable experience we sell to the international market.”

She concluded that domestic tourism is a worthwhile investment without regret and the opportunity to discover the country as a tourist is one that should be accessible to all. This supports the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day ‘Tourism for All: Promoting Universal Accessibility’; a day observed annually on 27 September in recognition of tourism’s contribution towards economic growth. Rwanda will commemorate the holiday in tandem with the launch of the domestic tourism campaign.

The Rwanda Development Board acknowledged support from partners namely the Southern Province, Kamonyi, Ruhango, Muhanga, Nyanza and Huye Districts; the Mountain Climbers Club, the Tourism Chamber, the Guides Association, local tour operators and transport companies that are partnering in this initiative.

Coffee exports rise in Rwanda

Statistics released by the National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) show, Rwanda exported 17.3 million kilogrammes of coffee between January and November of last year, a rise of 14 percent compared to the same time period in 2014.

However, despite the healthy growth in exports, revenues only increased by 0.58 percent. The sale of coffee brought in $56.3 million to the country’s economy last year, up slightly from the $56 million gained two years ago.

NAEB  has  attributed this modest rise to the poor state of the global coffee market that has  experienced  low prices  in recent months.

Nairobi to host African e-health accelerator

A new tech accelerator that will be established early next year in Nairobi is expected to provide mentorship and investment opportunities to promising African e-health care start-ups, boost digital health innovations across the continent.
Ampion, an organization that supports African tech start-ups in partnership with Merck, a pharmaceutical company hope to boost innovation in Health care sector across Africa by opening a specialized Tech health accelerator.
“It’s really about finding start-ups in healthcare space that have two goals: on the one hand to generate profits, on the other hand touch the lives of at least 100 million people,” told The East African recently Fabian Carlos Guhl, founder of Ampion
In Africa, technology is being used to develop mobile and web apps that have the potential to revolutionize healthcare sector, by using technological innovation to address public health gaps such as doctors’ shortage and lack of health facilities.
Medroid is an e-Health platform used in rural Tanzania that enables patients to connect to professional health care providers from wherever they are by combining Micro-phone lens hardware and a mobile application to provide medical solutions.
The app could make healthcare accessible in rural areas, where there are few medical practitioners.
Medroid features include clinical diagnosis service which targets physicians with a working knowledge. It’s a quick diagnosis service that that provides practical, expert, as well as immediate access to patients’ diagnosis results.
Successful Start-ups that are already generating revenues, have a prototype and need money to grow faster will join the initial program in the tech hub. They will receive USD 25.000, USD 50.000 investment and mentoring.
Thirty-one sub-Saharan, African countries have 10 or less medical doctors per 100,000 people. This means mobile technology can be used to increase access to health practitioners.
App development and deployment requires funds and skills to get ideas off ground, scale up innovations generate revenues.
According to Guhl, financial resources, human capital, markets that still need to be developed are the main challenges app developers face.
M-Tiba, is an early stage start up that hope to close medical gap through mobile technologies.
Its healthcare app will be used to help people with least access to health care to get “easy access” to doctor’s consultation via a web platform in Rwanda, Tanzania and Nigeria.
“Our solutions is an online platform to collect patients data, anyone who feels ill will go to an online platform talk to doctors who will be available, “explained Thibault Mutabazi,the co-founder ,” as he keeps using the application he[patient] will have medical history online,”
The app is still at development stage.
In East Africa Ampion program dubbed” Bus Venture” has generated 20 start-ups, but only 2 are currently running.
Muvidaba , one of them based in Kisumu and Nairobi currently developing a mobile app that is directory of medicine..
There are business opportunities for innovators in health care sector in Africa. Aaron Fun, managing partner at Nest ,a venture capital company that invests in early stage startups, says Health Tech is a particularly attractive sector in Africa with a large underserved population.
“There is strong opportunity to develop Health Tech that brings access to basic healthcare, emergency services, pharmaceuticals to geographically dispersed populations. “ He said
M –Pharma is another e-health app startup co-founded by Gregory Rockson, a Ghanaian entrepreneur, the app connects patients, clinicians and pharmacists to find quality medicines at real time and where they are needed most in Ivory Coast and Zambia.
According to Rockston, 1000 patients received their prescriptions through the application in Zambia.
The data generated anonymously by application users is analyzed and collected to build the comprehensive pharmaceutical data platform which can be used in other countries.
Nairobi has become one of large Tech hubs in Africa, known for its incubators and accelerators that provide space for innovators.
Mr. Guhly revealed the upcoming health tech accelerator recently at the end of East African Venture bus tour a tech hub in Kigali.
Experts say Apps that are scalable have the potential to attract investments.
According to Fu, African app developers can attract investments the same way the rest of the world do.
“By building a strong team with relevant experience to execute, a precisely defined CVP (revenue equation where Profits = Sales – Variable Costs – Fixed Costs) and a thought-through and comprehensive go to market strategy,” explained the managing Partner, Vest Africa

Airtel Rwanda unveils Freebasics.Com to University students

Airtel Rwanda partnered with Tecno to bring the latest mobile devices and services to the students of University of Rwanda, Huye Campus.
The event which saw Airtel Rwanda unveiling Freebasics.com, an internet service that allows Rwandans on the Airtel network to access various websites at no cost. At the unveiling of Freebasics.com, Airtel also provided free customer services to the university students.
Tecno, the mobile phone provider of Tecno phones, was offering the students the latest mobile devices at affordable prices. Devices such as; Tecno J8, Tecno C8, Phantom 8 among other devices.
The day which was later capped off with entertainment from Airtel Rwanda brand ambassadors King James and Ama G, who thrilled the young revelers as they sang along to the artists’ songs.
Commenting on the day’s activities, Airtel Rwanda’s Brand & Communications Manager, Clementine Nyampinga said, “We are delighted to have been part of today’s funfair. We believe that the students will take advantage of the Freebasics.com service and use it to gain more knowledge as they advance academically.”
Speaking to one of the students, Jean-Pierre said; “It was a great day and some of us were able to get to know more about the Airtel services and we shall be able to use the Freebasics.com service because it is free and has many websites with the information we might need.”
Through Free Basics by Facebook, Rwandans are now able to access various websites through the Airtel network at no cost. Customers can access a set of free services in categories of health, education, communication, sports, jobs, and local information.
Free Basics by Facebook is available as a mobile browser version for feature phone users on the web address http://www.freebasics.com. Smartphone users can also download the Free Basics app on Android devices through the Google Play store.
Among the free websites to be accessed on Free Basics while using the Airtel network include: Facebook, BBC Africa, Inyarwanda.com, Wikipedia, BabyCenter & MAMA, Dictionary.com, SuperSport, Bing search engine, and several others.

TIPS ON HOW TO EAT SMART

By Natacha Uwase

We all have issues controlling what we eat in our life or what is good for our health. We got you covered with different ways of eating in a smart way.

Control you breakfast: Having a solid breakfast will ensure you get at least one quality meal in each day. Go for the veggie omelet, oatmeal, fruit, and lox. Have some tea and hydrate. Skip the sofa pizza.

Prepare more of your own meals: Cooking more meals at home can help you take charge of what you’re eating and better monitor exactly what goes into your food.

Focus on how you feel after eating: This will help foster healthy new habits and tastes. The more healthy food you eat, the better you’ll feel after a meal. The more junk food you eat, the more likely you are to feel uncomfortable, nauseous, or drained of energy.

Drink plenty of water: Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.

Snacks: Although snacks are part of a healthy diet, they can become a source of extra calories.Moderation is key. The goal for snacking is to limit snacks to 150 to 200 calories. Always include the three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrate and understand the ingredients, avoiding anything artificial or refined. Small meals consumed approximately every three hours can contribute to stable blood sugars throughout the day. Choose treats that are high in fiber (5 grams or more per serving) such as bean dips, fruits and vegetables with peanut butter or hummus, and low-fat dairy.

Whether you’re eating for physique, function, or both, you can find the balance between continued success toward your health and fitness goals and still enjoying life to full extent. Balance is best, and by making the extra effort to ensure you’re meeting the needs of your nutritional program the majority of the time, you will be on track to not only enjoy, but to feel good about the progress you’ve made despite the added challenge.

The writer is a PR officer for Hello Food , an online food ordering and delivery platform in Africa.

Rwanda bans BBC indefinitely

Rwanda has banned The BBC Great Lakes indefinitely following a 7 months suspension over a controversial TV documentary.
Last Friday RURA, a government utility regulatory agency announced the BBC Great Lakes ban, but said other programmes namely French, English and Kiswahili will be allowed the transmission.

BBC Great Lakes airs in Kinyarwanda and Kirundi.

The documentary titled ‘Rwanda: The Untold Story’ investigates the role of Rwanda’s president H.E Paul Kagame in the events surrounding the genocide against Tutsis and questions the veracity of the official account of the genocide.

Rwandan government and some scholars have vehemently criticized BBC over the film; saying it is a genocide denial.

BBC rejected the accusations and denies any part of the documentary denies the genocide. Its investigations found that the film meets its production standards.

Rwanda through its utility regulation agency suspended the BBC and set up a committee to examine the BBC story content .The committee recommended the ban of BBC Great Lakes, the review of all agreements between Rwanda and the International broadcaster.

Speaking at the opening functions of The Genocide Commemoration Week in last April, Kagame said some people have made a film that presents Genocide victims as perpetrators. He did n’t cite The BBC story though.

Following the documentary airing, there has been a series of demonstrations in Rwanda to denounce the film. However Rwanda Media Commission, a media self-regulation body criticized the decision to suspend BBC Great Lakes.

Reacting to the BBC Great Lakes’ suspension ‘Committee to Protect Journalists’, an international media watchdog qualified the suspension as ‘illegal and illogical’.

The BBC programme,’My World’ that aired the controversial documentary is not viewed in the great lakes country.

BBC Great Lakes a service was launched in the aftermath of The 1994 Genocide to link families that were displaced in the region. Some of its Programs were arguably the most popular Radio programmes in Rwanda.

Cost of Living rises in Rwanda as Consumer Prices Index go up

In recent months the cost of living has risen as reflected in the last Consumer Price Index released National Institute of Statistics.
According to Rwanda’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), main measure of inflation; prices have risen to 0.9 percent year on year in April 2015, up from 0.8 percent in March 2015.
The publican focuses on urban Consumer price Index calculated based on approximately 1022 products in twelve urban centers from Rwanda. The CPI is released in the wake of an increase of oil prices announced by Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The urban CPI increased by 0, 9 percent on annual basis and increase by 0,8 percent on a monthly basis. The annual average rate between April 2015 and April 2014 is 1.1 percent.
According to Minicom, statement the current price of oil is Frw 840 per litre.Minicom says the increase is attributed to global oil prices increase observed since February.Minicom adds that since then the prices have increased 40%.
Jean-Baptiste Habyarimana,an economist analyst and authors of publications on price volatility and market analysis says ,the CPI increase is somehow strong and will likely go up as fuel prices have increased again.
According to National Institute of Statistics, the price increase is mainly attributed to rising prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages 2,5 percent , housing ,water ,electricity and other fuel prices 2,9 percent.
The biggest negative contribution to CPI increase came from ‘Transport’0,7 percent.Habyarimana says the slight change on global oil prices will likely affect price of imported fuel.
“The transport cost increase caused by global oil prices fluctuations affect many others product prices since our economy depend on imports,” explain Habyarimana
As Rwandan economy depends largely on import,Habyarimana says prices will continue to go up since local currency is weak against US Dollars. “The BNR can’t intervene on exchange rates.”
Jean-Christian Hahirwa, a resident of Kigali, says if prices continue to rise, life will become hard and will seek others ways of generating income in addition to his monthly salary.
According to Habyarimana, CPI rise will impact national economy negatively on saving reduction as more consumers will reduce saving, thus will reduce local investment.
The increase of food prices in recent months was attributed to bad weather.
One of monetary policies BNR adopt to curb inflation is raising interests’ rates to commercial banks so as to reduce the quantity of money in circulation.
Urban CPI is very useful to measure cost of living and inflation since most products are consumed in urban areas.
The weakening Rwandese franc against US Dollars also explains CPI increases since national economy depends largely on imports. Explained Habyarimana
“My purchasing power will reduce as my salary will remain constant despite price increases of commodities and products I consume.” added Hahirwa“I will change my spending habit by reducing expenses but there are still certain needs I have to satisfy “.
The urban CPI increased by 0.9 percent in April 2015 compared to the same month previous year.
“I may also work extra hours to increase my income.” the Kigali resident said
CPI reads in April 2015, ‘Food and non-alcoholic beverages’ 2.5 percent and ‘Housing water, electricity, gas and other fuels’ 2.9 percent while transport decreased by 3.8 percent.
Figures also show the “local goods” increased by 1.5 percent on annual change and increased by 1.0 percent on a monthly basis, while prices of the “imported products” decreased by 0.3 percent on annual basis and was stable on a monthly basis.
The monthly change in CPI is 0,8 percent compared to March 2015.’Food and non- alcoholic beverages increased by 2.8 percent.
The prices of the “fresh products” decreased by 0.1 percent between April 2015 and April 2014. While the overall Rwanda CPI increased by 1.2 on annual bases, and increased by 2.0 percent on a monthly basis.
“The consumer bears all costs, for instance policymakers can’t intervene on salaries of consumers by increasing them when prices go up,” commented the economic analyst told Rwanda

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