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Kagame Joins Giants Club To Boost Investment In Wildlife Economy

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President Paul Kagame is now the sixth African Head of State to join the Giants Club after signing the forum’s declaration, further strengthening Rwanda’s commitment to protect wildlife habitat while unlocking greater value from nature-based businesses.

President Kagame also held a meeting on Saturday, February 27, 2021, with Lord Evgeny Lebedev, followed by the signing ceremony alongside Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants, marking Rwanda’s official membership in the Giants Club, an initiative to promote responsible conservation.

The Giants Club is an initiative of the international conservation organisation, Space for Giants, that connects leaders of African states with significant large mammal populations to financiers, conservationists, scientists, and well-known supporters.

Lord Lebedev is the patron of Space for Giants and of the Giants Club.

Together, these individuals combine their political muscle, extensive financial resources, pioneering scientific expertise, and global reach and influence to fulfill the Club’s goal to protect Africa’s remaining populations of large animals and their habitats.

Its primary path to achieving this is to support governments as they build their ‘nature economies’, linking them to renewed investment in conservation that boosts sustainable businesses and brings jobs as well as protects environments.

President Kagame joins President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana, President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who are all joint leaders of the Giants Club. Botswana’s former President Ian Khama acts as President Emeritus.

Rwanda’s growing populations of endangered mountain gorillas have made the country world-famous, both for protecting the species but also for using the proceeds of gorilla tourism for wider national social benefit.

Dr. Graham said that, “Rwanda under President Kagame’s leadership has become a beacon for how a country can build conservation into a national economic sector to benefit all.”

He said that resonates very strongly with the Giants Club, which promotes best practices in getting things done in conservation that delivers those wide rewards from protecting natural landscapes and their species. “We are incredibly proud and excited that President Kagame has joined the Giants Club,” he added.

Lord Lebedev believes that it is increasingly clear that the health of the natural world is not separate from the health of humanity.

“President Kagame has led the way in committing Rwanda to a path of sustainable development. I am proud to work with such a visionary leader on this vital cause,” he said after the signing.

Rwanda is now increasing its focus on restoring a network of national parks, including Akagera, which hosts the ‘Big Five’: elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhino. Again the focus is on using proceeds from bothlocal and international tourism to fund national development.

That ethos runs through all the Giants Club countries. Together they are home to more than half of Africa’s 415,000 remaining elephants. Botswana hosts herds up to 150,000 strong, mostly centered on the Okavango Delta in its north. Gabon has more than half of the continent’s remaining forest elephants, a distinct species, as well as lowland gorillas.

Elephants are keystone species: if their populations are healthy and their habitats protected, all other species with which they share their range can thrive too. This biodiversity in natural landscapes is what draws investors and visitors, boosting national economies.

The Giants Club Declaration describes the support that the Club will offer its Presidents as they commit their governments to significant international conservation measures.

As well as agreeing to support and endorse the Giants Club, President Kagame pledged to promote domestic and international investment in responsible conservation and tourism enterprises to create new revenue from wildlife for the benefit of Rwanda.

He also thinks this initiative promotes private-public sector partnerships to achieve effective management of natural ecosystems and direct investments in protected area landscapes.

Kagame also committed to working towards combating the illegal wildlife trade in Rwanda and its neighbours as well as reducing the problem of human-wildlife conflict.

The Giants Club membership is dedicated to supporting its Presidents to achieve their domestic conservation agendas, funding Space for Giants to give technical guidance, or delivering active conservation programmes.

 

Examples of Giants Club projects already underway include strengthening judicial systems in Uganda and Kenya to enhance wildlife crime investigations, prosecutions, and convictions

Constructing electrified fences to keep elephants away from farmers’ fields and reduce human-elephant conflict in Gabon, Kenya, and Uganda

Launching international conservation investment mechanisms to bring new finance to protected area networks, in Uganda and Gabon

About the Giants Club and Space for Giants

The Giants Club is an initiative of the international conservation organisation, Space for Giants. Space for Giants operates in nine African countries, dedicated to protecting Africa’s elephants and their landscapes forever.

The Giants Club helps achieve that mission: it unites visionary leaders of African elephant range states, enlightened heads of major businesses operating in Africa, global philanthropists, key influencers, and leading wildlife protection experts.

Together, these individuals provide the very highest levels of political action, financial investment, global influence, and technical capacity that are needed to protect Africa’s remaining elephant populations from poaching, habitat loss, and human-elephant conflict.

The Club convenes the biennial Giants Club Summit, where new innovations to protect Africa’s elephants and their landscapes are presented, adopted, funded, and launched.

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  1. wepea.com

    March 1, 2021 at 6:10 pm

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Hundreds Of Passengers Miss Flight In Uganda Due To Delayed COVID-19 Tests

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Hundreds of Ugandans have been left stranded at Entebbe International Airport by the Emirates Airways after the laboratory where they had taken their Covid-19 results delayed to return them on time.

In a Snapchat post by Ugandan socialite Sheila Gashumba, she ranted, ‘’When I tell Ugandans that Covid in Uganda is a business they say I have ‘kajanja’.

Now all Emirates passengers have missed their flights because Safari Lab sent Covid results at 2:45pm and Emirates closed its gate at 3pm.

The hospital said it couldn’t work on everyone in the short time.

Around 300 passengers missed their flight yet Safari Lab had made a total of UgSh75m since everyone had paid UGX 250,000 for the test.

In the video where all passengers were visibly angry and frustrated, they can be heard asking for what the solution is and who is going to pay for the tickets again now that those that they had paid for can no longer be used anymore.

Passengers expressed their frustration at the rot in the service.

“I experienced such thing in March as the officers in charge claimed that the gates were close at 1pm as the flight was at 3pm,” one twitter user said.

Some made jokes out of it and asked, if this was because of the US$10 tax that is in the process of being introduced and will be paid by anyone that leaves the country using the Entebbe International Airport.

Another twitter user @kasoxialex2000 asked, ‘’@UgandaCAA (Uganda Civil Aviation Authority), but seriously you guys when you move to some airports don’t you copy something? Why are we ever backwards??? Stop embarrassing us. Who will save Uganda’’
By press time there was no official communication from the Civil Aviation Authority, Safari Lab nor Emirates Airways.

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Kagame Tells Bankers, Banking Can’t Just Be “Service For Elites”

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Banking can’t just be a service for elites, President Paul Kagame has said.  He made the remarks while speaking at the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference in Nigeria that he attended virtually.

Running under the theme, ‘’Economic Recovery, Inclusion and Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance’’, the two-day conference will aim at the need to reposition the Finance and Banking sector as a catalyst for Economic recovery, transformation and inclusive growth.

In his remarks, he noted how the Covid pandemic has affected every aspect of Africa’s economies but at the same time also presents an opportunity for African banks to play a leading role in making societies more resilient and more responsive to the needs of Africans.

‘’Whatever affects business, affects banking. Financial services are the engine of private sector development. Banks are crucial for allocating capital wisely and productively,’’ he further added.

President Kagame noted that, in order to stay competitive, there is need to keep integrating new technology into banking to increase financial inclusion and access as banking can’t just be a service of elites.

He also went ahead to reemphasize what he has always said when it comes to African states always depending on the West and other countries for support. ‘’Indeed, Africa has the resources to fund its own economic growth and reduce dependence on external resources,’’ he said.

Kagame also noted that the African Continental Free Trade Area is creating new opportunities for Pan African Trade and investment. ‘’Banks with continental reach, like several of the institutions represented here can lead the way in cementing economic integration.’’

As he concluded, he stated how the banking sector, more than any other, understands the importance of integrity and good customer service. ‘’Banking is ultimately about trust. We look to you to set the pace in this regard. Our role as governments is to maintain good enabling environments, protecting both shareholders and customers while allowing for innovation. We expect you to keep challenging us on this,’’ he said.

In attendance at the same conference was the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Edwin Emefiele who made a huge announcement.  He said, ‘’Central Bank, will, in the next twelve months be establishing the Nigerian International Financial Centre (NIFC). The NIFC will act as an international gateway for capital and investments, driven by technology and payment system infrastructure.’’

In Rwanda, current statistics show that even though there are still various challenges that continue to put women behind men when it comes to financial inclusion, the number of women who are currently banked have risen from 24% in 2016 to 34% in 2021.

This is according to a FinScope 2020 Gender thematic report on the state of women financial inclusion in Rwanda that was supported by Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR).

In one of the Focus Notes from Access to Finance Rwanda, farmers reported that women and men enjoy equal rights and treatment at specified two Financial institutions in the Focus note and therefore no special gender based treatment yet the outcomes of each groups are not equal.

At both Financial Institutions, women and youths are more likely to use loans to hire land farm as they lack access to land and they have been assisted by addressing some of the barriers that women and youth face in accessing loans.

The conference will therefore focus on how banking can be a service enjoyed by all Africans regardless of their financial strengths through making access to finance for development is an easy and smooth process.

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400K Coffee Farmers To Adopt Cashless System

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About 400,000 coffee farmers in Rwanda are being targeted to embrace a cashless payment system facilitated by Bank of Kigali.

On Friday, Bank of Kigali through IKOFI integration with Smart Kungahara System (SKS) said it expected to serve more than 300 coffee washing stations, with a target market size of more than 400,000 coffee farmers.

“Through our partnership with RWACOF, we enabled coffee farmers to embrace cashless means of payment. We believe in digital transformation for everybody including farmers. These telephones will significantly help famers to adopt a more digital lifestyle,”said ⁦⁦Diane Karusisi the CEO Bank of Kigali.

According to BK, currently, 1,767 agro dealers and 263,691 farmers are active IKOFI wallet users benefiting from the service by digitally paying for their agro-inputs through mobile phones, conveniently paying for other services such as Irembo, RRA, WASAC, all done through *334*2#.

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