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How Rwanda Fixed Land Challenges To Ease Doing Business

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Reforms in Rwanda’s land tenure have propelled the country to become one of the most secure places to own land in the world, according to Prindex survey report published in September.

The World Bank in its Doing Business Report 2020, ranks Rwanda number 3 in the world for having made the most business friendly reforms in registering a property.

Twenty five years ago when Rwanda slipped into the genocide against the Tutsi, the land policy just like other policies, was very discriminative and largely caused constant rifts in communities.

The current government, in 2009, launched its land tenure registration as part of sweeping reforms to fix the land tenure system with objectives of achieving economic viability and social cohesion.

Rwanda is among the most densely populated places on earth with a 12 million people on a total surface area of only 26,338 square kilometers.

About 11.4 million parcels of land have been registered and owners issued with certificates which they can ably present as collateral in banks to obtain loans.

The documents also have helped in phasing out land related disputes.

“We have developed a paperless land registry replacing the physical stamp on land titles with an electronic QR code that can be obtained at the nearest land offices across the country,” says Grace Nishimwe, Head Of Land Administration Department at Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority (RLMUA).

According to Nishimwe, the phasing out of the physical stamp and adoption of QR code is aimed at eradicating forgery of land titles.

“For industrial and commercial properties, we have another reform where notarization of the transfer contract and registration of the transfer are being processed in the same place and thus the investor can get the land title in one day,” Ishimwe explains.

This is important for doing business and its implementation has eased the environment of doing business in Rwanda.

Ishimwe further explains that when “you have land and you can’t prove its ownership, there is definitely no security and the buyer cannot prove that you are the genuine owner. But with the first registration people have secured land rights and have been able to invest.”

For investors, documented land and existence of commercial court system have increased their trust and confidence in the country thus very attractive to doing business.

Finalize registration at the District Land Registry and obtain new deed

Agency : District Land Registry

The seller takes the authenticated sale agreement, the registration receipt and the certificate of good fiscal standing to the Land Registry and files a request of the transfer of property.

The documents to be provided are the following:
(1) Completed form to request the transfer
(2) Original property title
(3) The notarized sale agreement
(4) Copies of identification of the buyer and seller
(5) Proof of payment of transfer and notarial fees equivalent to twenty seven thousand Rwandan Francs paid into the bank account of the district where the land is located.

Once the request is made at the District Land Registry level, the document will be scanned and sent to the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority where it will be approved and the new title signed. The new title will then be sent to the District Level where the new owner will come and pick it up

All the  the processes can be conducted digitally on IREMBO, a portal that facilitates access to and payment for government services. 

“Before the introduction of the digital processes and the issuance of the QR Code to replace our signatures, it was very easy for people to forge our signatures or stamp and illegally acquire other people’s land,” says Esperance Mukamana, the Director General and Chief Registrar of the  Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority (RLMUA).

“It is also not necessary to have hard copies of your documents to process your applications,” she says.

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Business

Malawi Issues 86 Licenses For Cannabis Production

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Malawi’s Cannabis Regulatory Authority said on Friday they had issued 86 licenses to 35 companies and cooperatives to venture into cannabis cultivation for industrial hemp production.

Boniface Kadzamila the Board Chairman of Cannabis Regulatory Authority made the announcement from Lilongwe on Friday afternoon.

He said that a total of 41 companies applied but only 35 of them satisfied the requirements.

According to him the authority has issued licenses for cultivation, processing and storage and has not yet issued any license for export of cannabis.

A recent analysis by Invegrow Limited, one of the firms that conducted research on industrial hemp, found that a kilogram of industrial hemp could fetch U$1,444 on the market that there is potential for direct annual benefit for Malawians in excess of U$ 135,440,973 on 16.5 hectares or U$8,803,663 per five hectares.

The analysis further indicated that the crop has ready markets whose global value chain is worth U$9billion thus giving local Malawi investors a basis to take up cannabis production.

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Business

ex-Nakumatt CEO’s Home Auctioned

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Atul Shah, the former chief executive officer of the collapsed retail giant Nakumatt lost his home to auctioneers over a U$18,609,740 debt.

The auction follows the conclusion of a protracted court battle after the Kenyan High Court dismissed a petition seeking to overturn the forced sale of the high-end property by KCB Group.

Justice Francis Tuiyott dismissed the petition by the administrator of the collapsed Supermarket chain, saying it has no chance of success.

Nakumatt’s court-appointed administrator had opposed the sale on grounds that the auction failed to follow the law, and tagged Mr Shah as an interested party to suit.

The bank, through Leakey Auctioneers, early in the year quietly sold the property, which Mr Shah had used as additional security as Nakumatt’s guarantor to offer comfort to the multiple bank loans.

“This court is not persuaded that the suit, as currently presented, demonstrates a prima facie case with a probability of success. Being unable to surmount that hurdle, it is needless for this court to discuss other aspects raised in the application,” the judge said.

KCB had earlier sold Mr Shah’s prime property in Industrial Area, Nairobi, to Furniture Palace International Ltd for about U$9,677,064 court records show.

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Business

Why Kenya Banned Maize Imports From Neighbours

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Kenya may take long to lift a ban on maize imports from East Africanneighbours following a domestic bumper harvest.

Kenya’s Agricultural and Food Authority (AFA) imposed the ban indicating that Kenya would not import the cereal from Tanzania and Uganda for now.

“Kenya would not need maize imports until June. There is plenty from North Rift,” said the crops inspector of the agency, Calistus Efukho, adding that maize imports from Tanzania and Uganda would not be considered until June.

On March 5 this Agricultural and Food Authority (AFA) banned imports of maize from the two countries, citing Aflatoxin contamination above the safety benchmarks.

However Maize importers in Kenya have protested over this, saying contamination of the maize by the toxic material could be an excuse to lock them out of business.

“Our hearts are bleeding. This is our biggest loss ever in this business,” said Mr Daniel Wainaina, chairman of the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa).

He said during a meeting convened by the East African Business Council (EABC) that they weren’t sure the maize samples taken meant that all the consignments were infected.

AFA insists that maize imports be accompanied with a certificate of conformity which has to comply with a maximum Aflatoxin levels of 10 parts per billion.

Kenya’s Maize production last year was 43.2 million bags against an annual requirement of 47 million bags.

The projection was not achieved, as the country produced 41.5 million bags, resulting in a shortfall of 5.5 million bags.

Reports have it that over 1.4 million Kenyans are at risk of starvation due to a shortage of 5.5 million maize bags.

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