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Rwanda Signs Deal With African Management Institute To Train 2,500 Small Enterprises

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The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the African Management Institute (AMI) have signed a cooperation agreement to support AMI in providing 2,500 MSMEs with free business recovery and growth tools to help them bounce back from the impact of COVID-19. The new partnership will contribute to Rwanda’s economic recovery strategy of investing in micro, small and medium sized enterprises.

Businesses from across the country are invited to apply for the virtual business development programmes, which will be delivered in Kinyarwanda and English. AMI will offer both its popular one-month Business Survival Bootcamp programme and a longer six-month Survive to Thrive programme.

This opportunity has been made possible thanks to financial support from Mastercard Foundation’s Covid-19 Response and Resilience Programme.

RDB Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi, said that Rwandan businesses of all sizes have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

“We have seen many innovative responses that have led us to become more self-reliant and put an added focus on practical skills and tools to help businesses get back on their feet, adapt and prepare for growth in the future. Most importantly, businesses don’t need to wait to start making changes,” she said.

Akamanzi added that, the skills and tools business owners gain can be applied immediately through AMI’s virtual expert-driven learning experience, online platform and Android mobile app.  “We encourage businesses across Rwanda to take advantage of this free programme.”

Through the agreement with the Rwanda Development Board and with support from the Mastercard Foundation, AMI’s virtual Business Survival Bootcamp and Survive to Thrive programmes will be offered on an ongoing basis from November 2020 to April 2022.

Diederik Wokke, Rwanda Country Manager for AMI, said that since 2014, AMI’s programmes across Africa have created an average of 3.1 jobs per SME and boosted revenue by an average of 19%. With proven results, AMI is well placed to work with Rwandan businesses during this critical time of economic recovery.

“We’re excited to work with business owners and entrepreneurs to help their businesses thrive, and we encourage them to take advantage of this opportunity by applying today.”

AMI’s Business Survival Bootcamp is a one-month course designed to help businesses make it through the current crisis with access to interactive online workshops, digital tools and guidance, and the opportunity to connect with other businesses. The more in-depth Survive to Thrive programme is a six-month course which enables businesses to innovate, prepare for the future and grow again.

The programmes aim to increase the number of businesses that recover strongly from the current crisis, while retaining staff and creating additional jobs, especially for women and young people.

The first Business Survival Bootcamp will begin on 24 November and the first Survive to Thrive courses kick-off at the start of 2021. All programmes will be fully virtual to fit around the schedules of busy business owners and ensure the health and well-being of participants.

“The African Management Institute really helped by connecting us with other entrepreneurs. AMI understood the difficulties we face and shared ideas on how we can survive. We really appreciate the programme,” said Elia Mugume, CEO at TASS Gateway and Travels and past Business Survival Bootcamp participant.

Applications are now open for both the Survival Bootcamp and the Survive to Thrive programmes, and AMI encourages applications and enquiries from Rwandan business owners in all sectors.

Businesses and entrepreneurs can apply for the programmes at www.africanmanagers.org/rwanda or by sending their email to +250 787 339 435 via SMS or WhatsApp.

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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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