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Taking Stock Of AU-EU Ministerial Meeting in Kigali

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The second edition of European Union and the African Union Ministerial meeting ended on Tuesday in Rwanda’s capital Kigali at the Kigali Convention Centre.

Priority areas of this meeting included; Investing in people: education, science, technology & skills development. This meeting also explored Strengthening Resilience, Peace, Security & Governance . Migration & Mobility  The meeting also discussed; Mobilising Investments for African structural sustainable transformation.

This meeting drew about 500 participants, including over 60 foreign affairs ministers.

On the sidelines of this meeting,  Rwanda and Senegal signed an agreement with the European Investment Bank facilitating the establishment of a vaccine manufacturing plant in the two countries.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame welcomed Rwanda’s leadership role in Africa and solid EU-Rwanda relations. President Kagame had earlier on Monday met with Josep Borrell Fontelles High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of EU Commission.

The two leaders exchanged on situations in Mozambique, Central African Republic, Ethiopia and Sudan, and agreed to strengthen their security and defence cooperation.

However, as AU-EU ministerial meeting was ongoing in Kigali,  the military in Sudan overthrew the government in a bloody coup.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and his wife, as well as multiple government ministers and officials, were detained on Monday.

“The EU strongly condemns the military coup and the unlawful detention of the Prime Ministers, ministers and other representatives; they must be released immediately,” the EU said.

Since 2019 Sudan had been ruled by an uneasy alliance between the military and civilian groups.

Sudan’s top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said that the agreement with civilian members of the country’s transitional sovereign council “became a conflict” over the past two years, “threatening peace and unity” in Sudan. Several articles of the constitution have been suspended and state governors removed, Burhan also said.

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National

President Kagame Opens AU Civil Aviation Plenary

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President Paul Kagame has just opened the 33rd Plenary session of the African Civil Aviation Commission convened at Kigali Convention Centre.

The gathering attended by delegates from the 55 African Union member states kicked off Wednesday and will conclude on December 3rd with recommendations.

The devastating effects of Covid-19 pandemic forced to ground most of the continent’s airlines but customers have turned to private aviation to fill the gaps.

However, there are many challenges to private aviation companies in Africa. Permit sourcing, money movement, maintenance resources, sourcing reliable and current information, access to reliable ground handling, services and catering and fuel price instability can cause issues for clients when traveling. These and more are some of the issues expected to be tackled during this gathering.

After the progress made in the last 12 months, it’s important that companies in Africa have a plan to maintain momentum to ensure the industry reaches its full potential post-pandemic.

In Africa the pandemic has had a positive effect on business aviation as governments, legislators, regulators, the business community, and even the commercial airlines have realized the real value and benefits of business aviation in terms of efficiency, convenience, and flexibility.

Throughout the ongoing pandemic business aviation in Africa has supported cargo flights, medevacs, repatriations, diplomatic flights, as well as moving crew and technical teams around, and more recently reintroduced international business flights.

Business aviation is a small but essential transport pillar in Africa, supporting a basic level of mobility and stability.

African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) is a specialized agency of the African Union responsible for Civil Aviation matters in Africa.

With its headquarters in Dakar, Senegal AFCAC’s purpose is to develop and regulate civil aviation in Africa.

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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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