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World Bank Approves US$30M To Support COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout In Rwanda

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The World Bank has approved US$30 million in additional financing to Rwanda for the acquisition and deployment of safe and effective COVID-19 (coronavirus) vaccines.

This is the second additional financing for the Rwanda COVID-19 Emergency Response Project, bringing a total of US$45.19 million in World Bank contributions to the country’s national COVID-19 health response and vaccination campaign.

World Bank Rwanda Country Manager, Rolande Pryce, said that since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rwanda has acted swiftly and decisively to save lives and mitigate the economic impact of the crisis with strong results on the ground.

“The World Bank is pleased to support the government, in collaboration with other development partners, to undertake one of the boldest public health campaigns of our times that aims to vaccinate 60 percent of the population by 2022,” she said.

“The vaccination program is a central piece of the government’s comprehensive plan to save lives and facilitate the full reopening of the economy, putting the country back on a path towards more inclusive and sustainable growth. We are privileged to partner in this effort.”

The financing will also enhance development effectiveness by addressing emerging needs, such as improving access to oxygen therapy, screening for underlying chronic conditions and protecting essential health services.

It will also bolster the capacity of the routine immunization system through investments in human resources, vaccine safety, and monitoring as well as outreach activities and communications to sustain vaccine acceptance and uptake.

“The project design is informed by readiness assessments conducted jointly with other partners. The operation builds and leverages on Rwanda’s strong childhood immunization program as well as pioneering work on the HPV and Ebola vaccines. With sustained political commitment, bold vision, and strong donor collaboration, Rwanda is off to a good start,” said Miriam Schneidman, Lead Health Specialist, who led the preparation process.

“Since the arrival of the first vaccines one month ago, it is encouraging to see that the country has vaccinated nearly 3 percent of the population with the first dose.”

The World Bank has also mobilized a US$15 million grant from the Global Financing Facility to support and protect essential health and nutrition services that remain vulnerable to shocks during the ongoing pandemic. Once approved, the grant will complement Rwanda’s ongoing COVID-19 response, and ensure that decades of progress in strengthening the health system will not be undermined by the pandemic.

“Early investments in cold chain equipment has permitted Rwanda to access to all vaccines on the market; use of digital technologies is facilitating monitoring of adverse effects and provision of vaccination certificates, and strong communications will sustain public trust and vaccine acceptance”, said Amparo Gordillo-Tobar, Senior Economist and Task Team Leader of the project.

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CHOGM 2021 Postponed Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

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Paul Kagame and Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC are expected to officially announce the postponement of CHOGM 2021 as a result of the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

President Kagame said in a statement that having reviewed all available evidence and risk assessments, and after close consultation between the Commonwealth Secretariat and Member States, the decision has been made to postpone the CHOGM in Kigali for a second time. 

The decision to postpone CHOGM for a second time has not been taken lightly, the statement said. 

“The health and welfare of all Commonwealth citizens at this critical time must take precedence. We look forward to welcoming the Commonwealth family to Kigali for CHOGM at the appropriate time,” Kagame said.

The Cmmonwealth Secretary-General is queues saying that, “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to have a hugely damaging impact on our member countries, many of whom continue to face huge losses to lives and livelihoods. And while it is with deep disappointment and regret that we cannot bring Commonwealth leaders together at this time to discuss many of these critical issues, we must be mindful of the huge risks large meetings pose to all.

“I want to thank the Government and people of Rwanda for their professionalism, support, patience and their impeccable readiness to hold CHOGM. And I want to thank all our member countries and, in particular, the United Kingdom as our Chair-in-Office and India, who have suffered so grievously in these trying times. I look forward warmly to a time when we can be reunited with the Commonwealth family, face-to-face, in Rwanda when the conditions allow for us to do so safely and securely.”

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Boat Donated By Kagame To Nkombo Islanders Not Operational

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Residents of Nkombo Island will have to wait longer to travel on a boat donated to them by President Paul Kagame.

Nkombo island is located on Lake Kivu in Rusizi district. Residents last saw this boat in October last year when it was officially handed to the district.

According to authorities of Rusizi district, the delay to use this boat is because drivers are still undergoing intensive training until they learn to operate the water vessel.

Currently the boat is docked in Karongi district and will only be available when the drivers have fully completed training.

President Paul Kagame has a special attachment to the people living on Nkombo Island. He donated  the second boat to the islanders on June 29, 2015 while addressing opinion leaders in Rusizi district.

“I am giving you an even bigger vessel, please use it to relate, trade and utilize all the opportunities your district has to offer,” advised Kagame.

In 2010, Kagame donated a passenger boat with a capacity to carry 100 passengers and 40 tons of luggage. The island hosts over 180,000 residents.

For the past regimes, this island was extremely neglected and treated as though it was part of Democratic Republic of Congo formerly Zaire. Previous governments ridiculed and despised Nkombo islanders as backward people and attached them to ‘Bashi’, a Congolese tribe.

With this deep neglect sanctioned by previous regimes, Nkombo islanders invented a language known as ‘Amahavu’ a mixture of two dialects; Congo’s Lingala and Kinyarwanda.

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President Tshisekedi Orders Martial Law Rule In Kivu, Ituri

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President Felix Tshisekedi has ordered rule of martial law in DRCs North Kivu and Ituri provinces effective on Thursday, May 6.

The Congolese President called on the people of the two provinces “to cooperate closely with the military authorities deployed by denouncing enemies of the people and complicity at whatever level” with those perpetrating violence.

The shift in management of this part of the country is aimed at stemming the bloodshed and returning order to the region, the president said in an address on national television Monday.

During the period of martial law, Congo’s security forces will have the right to search homes, seize weapons and prohibit travel, Tshisekedi’s spokesman, Kasongo Mwema Yambab Yamba, said in a separate address.

The military and police authorities will also have the right to ban publications and meetings deemed contrary to public order and to prosecute those suspected of violating the peace, he said.

Eastern Congo with population of 20 million people, borders Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. This region hosts at least 120 armed groups

Violence in eastern Congo includes numerous conflicts over control of land and resources, protection of local communities, and rebellions linked to neighboring countries.

Ituri and North Kivu are rich in metals like gold and coltan and armed groups including alleged criminal networks in the army sometimes profit from their trade.

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