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Rwanda Fisheries Sector Much Ignored

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November 21, is the annual World Fisheries Day aimed at drawing attention to the importance of healthy oceans ecosystems and to guarantee sustainable stocks of fisheries in the world.

This year’s theme is a mixture of the fishing industry, nature and environment, and a greater focus on biodiversity.

The first World Fisheries Day was celebrated on November 21, 2015.

Rwanda has dozens of lakes but Lake Kivu makes up 75 percent of Rwanda’s lake water. However, this country is not a fishing one.

Fourty fish species are found in Rwandan waters of which only four, Limnothrissa miodon (locally called Isambaza), the Nile tilapia, the African catfish, and chala are of economic importance.

The most consumed type of fish in Rwanda is the small, sardine-like sambaza mostly found in the 2,700 sq km-Lake Kivu deep waters. Sambaza is believed to have been introduced in lake Kivu in 1950s from lake Tanganyika.

Sambaza are deep-fried and served in big platefuls, with some kind of sauce – mayonnaise and a squeeze of lemon, peanut or hot pepper or sometimes the famous akabanga pepper drops.

Sambaza fish, small and sardine-like, dry on wire mesh racks in the sun

According to semi official data, Rwanda fishing is mostly done on Lake Kivu and the rest of the fish comes from smaller lakes such as Lake Muhazi, Lake Mugesera, rivers and swamps. The national fish production is estimated at 13,000 tons of which capture fisheries contribute 9,000 tons and aquaculture 4,000 tons.

In Rwanda, the methods of harvesting fish include; Hooking, gill nesting, Lampara method, spearing and shooting method, scoop net method and the cast net method.

The fisheries sub-sector contributes a meager 0.3% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This low contribution of the fisheries sector is due to inadequate replenishing of fish in the lakes and a resultant low output.

However, commonwealth country profile  on Rwanda indicates that all the Rwandan lakes apart from those within the National Parks have been subjected to damaging fishing practices for a long time including use of under size mesh nets, use of chemical attractants, poison fishing, and beach seining.

Sambaza are often shared before the main meal

Lack of a central fisheries management agency and limited private sector investment has led to severe destruction of the resource to levels which are less than 10% of the estimated production potential.

In 2012, the Rwandan government began a fish restocking exercise whereby 3,500 Nile tilapia fish fingerlings (or young fish) were purchased intended to restock the depleted inland water bodies.

The government intends to restock the 17 inland water bodies in Rwanda depleted through over- fishing and pollution.

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EAC ‘Tembea Nyumbani’ Campaign to Stimulate intra-regional Travel

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Tembea Nyumbani’, is a new campaign deal propped up by the East African Community aimed at promoting national and regional tourism products and services.

The campaign is set to run for three weeks, from 1st December, 2021. It is part of implementation of the EAC Tourism Marketing Strategy and EAC Recovery Plan supported by German Development Agency, GIZ.

According to architects of this campaign, it seeks to entice East Africans to travel in their specific countries and around the region, in an effort to revive domestic and regional tourism across the region, amid the pandemic.

EAC Secretary General Dr. Peter Mathuki has urged tourism private sector players to extend affordable packages to East Africans so as to entice them into taking advantage of the holiday offers available during the upcoming festive season.

“With preferential entry fees and rates now extended to EAC citizens, it is timely for East Africans to explore the diverse cultures, take on adventure safaris and visit exotic beaches among other opportunities the region has to offer,” he said.

Tourism contributes significantly to the economies of EAC Partner States and pre-pandemic, contributed 10% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 17% export earnings and 7% in jobs creation.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw the sector affected negatively with international tourism arrivals in East Africa dropping by about 67.7%, to an estimated 2.25 million arrivals in 2020 compared to 6.98 million in 2019.

The Tembea Nyumbani campaign is being undertaken by the EAC in collaboration with the East African Tourism Platform that represents the tourism businesses across the region.

Through the campaign, hoteliers and other tourism service providers are being encouraged to promote affordable packages to the EAC citizens.

Jean Baptiste Havugimana EAC Director in charge of Productive Sectors said, “The Sectoral Council on Tourism and Wildlife Management during their Extra-ordinary meeting held on 15th July 2021 recommended that the Secretariat to convene a multisectoral meeting comprising key sectors such as Tourism and Wildlife, Immigration and Security to develop a framework for introduction of the Single Tourist Visa by all the Partner States.”

Havugimana noted that the meeting will be convened early 2022, adding that once fully adopted the Visa will ease travel by foreign tourists across the entire region.

Simon Kiarie EAC Principal Tourism Officer noted that the region will be able to receive about 4 million tourists in 2022, “The tourism sector’s recovery has been on an upward trajectory and we expect that by the year 2024, we will receive about 7 million tourists compared to 2.25 million tourists recorded in 2020.“

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S. Sudan Senior Officials In Rwanda For Post-conflict Peacebuilding Course

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Senior Government and security officials including Ministers, Senior military officials (Maj Gen – Lt Gen), Members of Parliament and representatives of political parties from the Republic of South Sudan are in Rwanda to participate in the Senior Leadership Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, Reconstruction and Stabilisation Course in Musanze District that will run from 29 Nov to 3rd Dec 21.

The five-day course is run by Rwanda Peace Academy in partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC).

During his opening remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Vincent Biruta said that this course is an essential component of the process to achieve sustainable peace and reconciliation in nations that have been affected by traumatic violence.

“Rwanda and South Sudan share a lot of similarities in their history including a tragic past of violent conflicts but also the capacity to overcome these tragedies and build resilient societies whose communities can live together in peace and prosper for the generations to come. In Rwanda, reconciliation and peacebuilding processes have played a crucial role in resolving political and perceived ethnic differences.” said Dr Biruta.

In his statement, the South Sudan Minister of Cabinet Affairs Martin Elia Lomuro said that this course means a lot to them as they are implementing an agreement which requires that they stabilize their country in terms of achieving sustainable peace, reconstruction and institutional development.

“We think that the work done by Rwandans to achieve what you have achieved in terms of peace, community integration and institutional building, is what we need; and we think that Rwanda being a close country to us is better example for us to learn from than to be anywhere else,” said Minister Lomuro.

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Africa Should Invest in Skills To Exploit Resources- Kagame

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Africa should exploit its abundant resources to transform the lives of people on the continent but this will require skills development to trigger industrialization.

“Africa’s vast resources give us a comparative advantage but we need to see more tangible results for our people, from this immense wealth. That means above all, investing in people and in the skills that drive industrialisation,” President Paul Kagame says.

President Kagame made the remarks on November 29th during his presentation at the 19th edition of UNIDO general conference. UNIDO is the United Nations Industrial Development Organization works to reduce poverty through inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

The General Conference is the highest policy-making organ of UNIDO. In particular, this nineteenth session of the Conference kicked off today 29 November to 3 December 2021. It is hosted in the UNIDO headquarters in Vienna as a hybrid event, involving both in-person and virtual participation.

This conference takes place at a critical juncture following the Secretary-General’s call for a “Decade of Action” and in light of the prolonged economic recovery in store for countries all over the world.

Kagame has observed that despite Africa’s solid economic performance in recent decades, the covid-19 pandemic has reversed some of our gains. “The crisis has shown the importance of industrialization, both for getting our economies back on track and driving growth and development generally.”

According to the Rwandan leader, if the continental free trade area (ACFTA) is successfully implemented, the manufacturing sector is expected to double in size in the next decade, creating over 14 million jobs.

President Kagame has also called for use of digital technologies to raise productivity and facilitate cross-border trade. he also mulled for clean and green strategies that should be at the forefront of our industrial policy, reflecting the urgency of the climate crisis.

What is being discussed in the general conference?

  • Women as levers of change for a sustainable industry during COVID-19 and beyond: UNIDO Gender Equality Mobilization Award.
  • UNIDO’s contribution to the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021.
  • New forms of investments as drivers for a sustained post-COVID-19 recovery.
  • The post-pandemic world will be digital: implications of 4IR for developing countries.
  • Revival of industrial policy – prospects for establishing a global industrial policy forum for multilateral policy learning and knowledge sharing.
  • Launch of the Industrial Development Report 2022.
  • Accelerating climate impact for Member States through inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID).
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