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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).


Are you free online?


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


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.


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.

Marrakesh: a city where modernity and tradition merge

Snakes charmers at El Djema sqaure

Snakes charmers at El Djema sqaure

Marrakesh, a Moroccan city is one of the top tourists’ destinations in Africa for a number of reasons including its arts, cultural wealth, historical and architectural aspects among others.
Marrakesh attracts visitors from around the world! When in the city there are many things to do and places to visit including museums, monuments and other historical places. The square of Djemaa El-Fna is probably the busiest area in the city center.
Many things happen at place El Djema, visitors are spoilt for choices: at day there are snakes charmers where one can find cobras and other types of snakes. Snakes charmers can even put one on you, if you are not afraid and you just pay few dirhams (Moroccan currency).Taking a picture holding mazing rarely seen creatures also interest visitors.
People with monkeys can also be seen at the place which also interest visitors especially for a photo session. Locals wearing their tradition outfit can also approach you to wear propose to put on their hats and take a photo of yourself with them as a souvenirs.
Another interesting show is an amateur boxing game in which two people fight while the crowds cheer them after betting. If the fighter you cheer wins his fans take away the money and there is a referee who is also an ordinary citizen.
The Koutoubia which is the largest mosque in Marrakesh located beside Djemaa El-Fna sqaure is also another attraction in the city center, with its surrounding large plaza and beautiful gardens.Non-muslims are not allowed to enter inside the mosque.

The Katoubia mosque
As the city is always filled with tourists, local are always welcoming! When one enters a shop they first say welcome or Bienvenue (which translates welcomein french) to Marrakesh then ask your country of origin .It seems most sub-Saharan visitors come from West African people. If shopkeepers see a black person,they ask:” are you from Senegal or Mali?”
A Hotel receptionist told me, most visitors from Sub-Saharan Africa comes from Senegal,Mali and Ivory Cost.
There are also students who benefited from Moroccan government scholarships including Rwandans.
Marrakesh souks
Souks are art streets shops where you can find almost everything: jewels, spices, perfumes, shoes, bags, cloths, hats, art crafts and much more. Sellers accept bargaining but a foreigner may pay the price double. We were told by a local photographer that we should bargain for anything we want to buy.
The official languages in Morocco are French and Arabic but in Marrakesh at hotels, shops and other services English is used, even hawkers speak many languages. A Spanish visitor who speak limited English and French told me she did not face any language barrier while in the city because some locals spoke Spanish
Oussama Hamama is a Moroccan journalist; he said, he thinks Marrakesh is a popular destination for its hot weather. “Tourists want to experience heat- weather totally different from European.” –said Hamama
The climate in Marrakesh is arid but the temperature is extremely rising to a high of 45-50 degrees in August. At hotels and downtown people are almost naked.
Palmeraie is the green vast area of Marrakech. It is a real oasis on the outskirts of the city. La Palmeraie covers 13,000ha and it is said that there are about 150,000 palm trees and hosts high standards hotels. It is the perfect place to escape the town life.
The view from Pullman Marrakesh Palmeraie Resort &spa is palm trees everywhere. On your way from city center you can enjoy seeing the palm trees.
Recently the city has hosted 19th African senior athletics championship 2014.

Business excellence awards to promote youth innovation

A platform for youth innovation and entrepreneurship known as Emerging leaders and Entrepreneurs of Rwanda has inaugurated awards dubbed ‘the Rwandan youth and business excellence awards’ meant to recognize young innovators, promote innovation and creativity among young budding entrepreneurs.
The youth-led platform known for its acronym ELE Rwanda was founded mainly by beneficiaries of Rwanda presidential scholarship program who attended American universities. The platform’s members say, what they hope to accomplish and the impact of business awards is to see an increase in youth- oriented investment and more achievement championed by the youth.
The inaugural awards ceremonies gala was held last week. Nominees were divided in four categories: the most innovative youth project or startup, the Most Desired Workplace, Creativity Award for a creative idea from a group of students, and Innovation Champion for an institution that promotes job creation and entrepreneurship.
Babson -Rwanda entrepreneurship center scooped the Innovation Champion award.Haya Alzaid is the country director .She said, the award is an opportunity to raise more awareness about what they are doing.
“Hopefully to get more support and to get more people, entrepreneurs and youth involved in other programs. Really that’s what it means.” explains Alzaid.
The awards initiators also hope the recognition will inspire others established and budding young entrepreneurs to be innovative.
Yves Iradukunda is the founder .He said: “The essence of this event is to celebrate but when we celebrate we want aspire and encourage for we are recognizing the young innovators because we want them to serve as role models, to help other young people believe that they can accomplish and they can do it.”
Girls in ICT, a youth- led organization that was one of the nominees in the most innovative project category for Miss Geek competition.Akaliza Gara is a co-founder, she explained how their project is innovative:” We find that many young women and girls grew up thinking that they can only be celebrated for their beauty, so we wanted to show them that they can be celebrated for their intelligence and skills and those are also very valuable quality in a woman.”
” I think as innovative as they [youth] want to be, it’s all in the mindset change. It’s making sure that you say to yourself: I can be as innovative as I want to be. “Commented Ms. Alzaid
Jean Niyotwagira is the founder of Torque Ltd. , a tech start- up that creates softwares for SMEs .He emerged the winner of the most innovative youth start-up. He said:” What this means to me is that I am actually getting there, people are starting to recognize and not just recognizing what I do as a person but publicly,”.
Niyotwagira added:” so, I take this chance to apply more hard work to produce something even better.”Niyotwagira said, next time he wants something bigger like beyond what he has already been able to achieve.
Dr. Mike O’Neal, Chancellor of the University of Rwanda graced the awards functions .He told the audience, innovation is not only about ICT and science. “Those of you who happen to be artists, or happen to be linguists, or happen to be medical people or happen to be in any field so there is room for creativity, there is the room for innovation everywhere.”
Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Operating Officer of RDB was the key note speaker at the awards ceremonies. In her speech ,she reminded the participants, the country’s vision is to become a knowledge- based economy and is very much going to be led by how quickly the citizens can innovate and how entrepreneurs they can become and produce more commercial ideas.
Akamanzi said: “The innovation and creativity that we see is really going to come from you young people, and so seeing the initiatives that you take, I think it is very crucial and very timely,”
School of Entrepreneurship is a youth organization that supports entrepreneurship and innovation in high schools through business ideas competition and debates. It won the creativity award. Patrice Habinshuti , its founder said:” The award shows that what we are doing is valuable and we are contributing to the growth of this country,”
ELE Rwanda was given the Creativity Award in 2013 by The Journal record- an American publication.
The business awards’ nominations were open to the public from June 1-10 July 2014, and they will be held annually.


South by Southwest festival 2012 wraps up

Photo:SXSW Facebook page


One of the world’s largest festivals, known as South by Southwest, took place in Austin, Texas March 9 until March 18.

This significant festival had three categories: interactive media from March 9-13, film from March 9-17, and music from March 13-18.

According to South by Southwest (SXSW, Inc.), a private company based in Austin Texas, the conferences and festivals “offer the unique convergence of original music, independent film, and emerging technologies.” The organizers add: “Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for discovery.”

This year, SXSW interactive media conference guest speakers included Jill Abramson, editor-in-chief of The New York Times daily, who talked about the future of the newspaper on the American east coast, face to face with Evan Smith, editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune. DJ Patil, current chief data scientist of Greylock Partners and formerly of LinkedIn and eBay, was also a panelist.

Drew Houston, co-founder of DropBox, was also there. DropBox is a start-up company that helps its users store their data and content online and share it with other users on other sites. He talked about his experience before cofounding his company.

Some of the film events included the SXSW Film Intermission Party, formerly known as the film closing party.

One of the artists who graced the SXSW music festival was Mike Rocket. He was performing at SXSW for the first time. Mike Rocket has played in the New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia areas for over 10 years as a solo artist and with his band Mike Rocket and the Stars.

The first South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival was held in 1987 in Austin, Texas. Although Austin was not a Top 20 major market at the time, its background and spirit made it the best place for the conference.

Since then, the event has been a starting point for new talent. New media and Internet-based projects, presentations, music concerts, and film screenings give exposure for creators and entertainment for audiences from different parts of the world. Conference panel talks provide a learning opportunity, and business blooms at the SXSW Trade Show. The trade fair for creative industries provides networking opportunities for professionals, entrepreneurs, students, and aspiring artists.

Discover Rwanda’s beauties with Akilah Adventures

For everyone who wishes to discover the beauty of Rwanda by visiting all the country’s major attractions, Akilah Adventures offers an exceptional opportunity to embark on this unforgettable experience.

Akilah Adventures was initiated by the Akilah Institute for Women Students. The institute offers a diploma in hospitality and tourism management. According to Akilah adventures managers, visitors get to see all of Rwanda’s attractions with the help of courageous women who are at the forefront of the country’s blossoming tourism industry.

Tours are planned and guided by students, which is supposed to provide them with a platform to learn and understand what it means to be an entrepreneur in the hospitality and tourism industry, while gaining practical experience in management.

“Tours are planned to fit the exact needs of visitors,” says Mary Powell, the program manager.” We arrange trips to Rwanda’s natural attractions such as mountain gorilla trekking, Akagera Park, Nyungwe Forest and Lake Kivu. Visitors can also get a close look of some of the important health, education, sustainable agriculture and entrepreneurship efforts that are taking place around the country,” adds Ms. Powell.

The program manager says that in addition to the incredible experience that Akilah Adventures provides, visitors can rest assured that they are making a difference in the lives of Rwanda’s young women. “All tour fees go directly towards supporting the education of Akilah’s talented students!” explains the tours manager.

The managers say that Akilah Adventures offers an exceptional service in the land of a thousand hills

2011 in world news

To end the year in style I have selected for you top stories that made world news headlines in 2011 includes events that were most posted on social media and talked about in mainstream media

Arab spring

The Arab spring that swept the North Africa and some other Arab countries in 2011 surprised the world and a number of Arab regimes that enjoyed absolute power decades found themselves a t a receiving end of deep- seated public anger and frustration. These revolutions were sparked by a self-immolation of a young Tunisian Muhammad Bu Azizi whose desperate act embodied the frustration of Arab citizens across the region who decided enough was enough. No longer would they be afraid of autocratic and corrupt regimes and the decades of oppression culminated in an unrelenting rage that saw the departure of the Tunisian, Egyptian, Yemeni leaders and Muhammad Gaddafi killed by his own people.

Walk- to –work protest

Ugandan opposition leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, President Yoweri Museveni’s closest rival in February elections, led thousands of Ugandans to protest against rising food and fuel prices. Protesters claimed that their aim was to pressure government to do something about the food and transport cost. Ugandan policed used several times tear gas to disperse protesters.Kizza Besigye was repeatedly arrested and released.

Post elections crisis in Ivory cost

After a months-long elections dispute over results of a run-off presidential election between Alassane Ouattara and Incumbent Laurent  Gbagbo,the latter refusing to leave power claiming that he is the winner while the independent electoral commission declared Ouattra the winner,Gbagbo was removed from power by new forces rebels loyal to Ouattra allegedly supported by Lincoln French forces.

Osama Bin Laden death

After a 10-year manhunt, the most wanted man on earth and Leader of the Al Qaeda movement was killed by U.S Special Forces in Pakistan and his body buried at sea. Osama death was announced by U.S president Barack Obama on an American television.

President Paul Kagame Visits France for reconciliation

This year H.E Paul Kagame visited France  since 1994 genocide against Tutsis, looking to mend fences despite controversy over Paris’ role in his country tragic past. Rwandan government has accused France of supporting the regime that committed genocide but France has strongly rejected accusations though it admitted political mistakes in past.

Amy Winehouse passing away

Amy Winehouse dead at 27 was a top 11 stories that made world news headlines for July 2011.(Gibson)Amy Winehouse  was found dead in her London Home.Winehouse rose to worldwide fame with her 2006 album Back to Black which won 5 Grammy awards, including Best Album and best pop vocal Album.One of her most loved song is entitled” Rehab”wich took home three Grammies.Winehouse personal  troubles was well-documented over the last few years.

DSK Affair

Dominique Strauss Khan, former IMF Mnaging Director was arrested in May by New York police on a plane bound to Paris after being accused by Nafissatou Diallo a Sofitel Hotel chambermaid of trying  to rape her.Months later charges were dropped by prosecutors after learning that Diallo had lied about her background and other things.This scandal ruined Mr Strauss Khan political ambitions as he intended to run in next year France presidential elections.

South Sudan Independence

South Sudan Africa’s 54th nation was born in July, many people were celebrating independence! Sudan was devastated by a war that started in 1950s.It finally ended in 2005 by a peace agreement. After six-year disengagement, in January South Sudanese people voted overwhelmingly for separation with the North. South Sudan became independent officially on Saturday 9 July 2011.

Patrick Makao breaks World records

Patrick Makao of Kenya crossed the finish line to win 38thBerlin with a record- breaking time of 2 hours 3minutes 38 seconds.Makau aged 26 said that a new generation is coming that is running very well.

UK Royal wedding

Royal wedding of Prince William with commoner Kate Middleton in April also rocked the world. The event was viewed by millions on TV Viewers from around the globe, it was blogged, tweeted and most talked about on other social media platforms.



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