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IMF sees “stronger growth” as Rwanda debuts $450m bond

These beans which grow upwards and grow three times more than bush beans, have helped increase bean production in Rwanda massively

These beans which grow upwards and grow three times more than bush beans, have helped increase bean production in Rwanda massively

Despite slow growth in Rwanda’s previously booming construction sector, the International Monetary Sector said Tuesday that it will not affect economic growth as other sectors like agriculture are performing well.

“This will be partly offset by stronger growth in agriculture (food crops), for which the first harvest of the year was good, and an acceleration in foreign-financed investment projects,” said the Fund’s review team in Kigali.

“Economic activity has been quite resilient,” added the team in a statement.

The IMF team is in the country since Monday to April 18 to conduct the sixth review under the Policy Supports Instrument (PSI). This is a mechanism under which Rwanda has been progressively reducing IMF direct financing and instead getting technical support to put in place economic structures which will attract finance from the money markets.

“Performance under the IMF-supported program has been broadly satisfactory,” said the Fund. “Most quantitative indicators for end-December 2012 were met and good progress was achieved on the structural reform agenda.”

Rwanda plans to issue a euro bond in the coming days in the amount of US$400 million, announced the IMF. The Rwanda government has hired two leading global financial institutions – France’s BNP Paribus and U.S. Citi Group to handle the bond debut expected in July.

The road show was announced today in the Irish Stock Exchange and will be launched on April 18 in markets across Europe, Asia and the Americas.

The IMF says the international bond, expected to fetch some $450m, will be “used exclusively to retire short-term debt and complete strategic investment projects as planned”.

Source: Rwanda News

April 18, 2013   No Comments

Rwanda to issue $400 mln debut Eurobond in “coming days”: IMF

* Investors have shown strong appetite for African debt

* Kenya plans to issue $1 bln after peaceful election

* BNP Paribas and Citi will arrange Rwanda’s issue

Rwanda will issue a debut $400 million debut Eurobond in the days ahead to raise funds for the retirement of short-term debt and complete strategic investments, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday.

Investors have lapped up sovereign bonds by African countries in recent years, thanks to fairly attractive yields and robust economic growth prospects at a time European economies struggle to shake off a persistent debt crisis.

Rwanda will be the first country in east Africa to issue a Eurobond. Kenya planned to borrow from the international market but postponed it repeatedly due to worries over the prospects of violence in polls held last month.

Officials in Nairobi say the government will issue the $1 billion bond this year after the election passed peacefully in contrast with last election five years ago that resulted in deadly post-election violence.

Rwanda had initially indicated that it would borrow $350 million.

The country’s ministry of finance confirmed on Twitter that it had mandated BNP Paribas and Citi to arrange the issue, with road shows set to start on April 18.

Fitch Ratings assigned the issue ‘B(EXP)’ rating in line with the country’s ‘B’ Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default rating with a stable outlook.

“Rwanda’s rating is supported by solid economic policies and a track record of structural reforms, macroeconomic stability and low government debt,” the ratings agency said.

“Rwanda will continue to attract significant budget support flows, reflecting its strong track record in poverty reduction and control of corruption.”

The country had a debt to GDP ratio of 23.3 percent last year, Fitch said. The IMF said in a statement it expected the economy to expand 7.5 percent this year, barely changed from its previous forecast of 7.6 percent.

Source: The New Times

April 18, 2013   No Comments

Rwanda’s roadside typists fear writing may be on the wall for their jobs

Word on the street: women typists in Kigali, Rwanda

Word on the street: women typists in Kigali, Rwanda

Sitting on a wooden bench in one of the busiest bus stations in Rwanda’s capital, three women are typing furiously, seemingly oblivious to the passing commuter traffic.

The trio belong to an endangered army of “typewriter typists” who provide an essential service in Rwanda, producing CVs, business proposals and love letters for those with no access to printers or computers.

For Aurelie Mukankwiro, a 37-year-old mother of three, it is a great way to earn a living. “I like meeting different people every day and getting to learn a little bit about their lives,” she said. “This is the best spot for us to be. It’s the centre of everything and people come into here on buses from all over the country.”

The three women, who trained at a church typing school in 1995, worked in local government offices but lost their jobs when computers were introduced and they did not know how to use them. So they set up their own small business in the bus station, charging between 200 and 300 Rwandan francs (20-30p) for each page. A page takes about two minutes to type and a good day will see them getting about 20 customers each.

Based in a bustling alleyway between the Nyabugogo bus station and the main road outside, they work rain or shine – with a large umbrella sheltering them from either extreme.

“We write all kinds of things,” Mukankwiro said. “The most common things are project proposals, applications for jobs, CVs, judicial letters, that sort of thing. But sometimes we do write love letters for people. It’s usually men who come and they are embarrassed at first but we tell them they need to stop it and just tell us what to write. Then we just get on with it.”

She particularly enjoys typing works of fiction. “I also like it when people ask us to type up the plays they have written. They are always fun to read. I enjoy those a lot.”

Her colleague, Marie Gorette Nimukuze, 35, said the work was strictly private and the typists would never reveal customers’ secrets. “It’s very confidential what we do, we never tell people what we’ve written. When people ask us to write letters there is a trust there and we don’t break it.”

But the march of technology will not leave them in peace. Just behind their office, a computer shop has opened, offering internet and printing services.

“Computers are really taking away our business,” said Nimukuze. “More and more people are learning how to use computers so in the future they won’t need us any more.”

And that’s not the only threat to their way of life. Street vending is illegal in Rwanda and while the Kigali city authorities say the typists are allowed to work because they sit in one place and don’t add to congestion, the women say they are sometimes chased away by police.

“When the police come, we have to run,” said Mukankwiro. “It’s a government policy, they want people to rent houses instead of being on the street. But it’s hard for us to be able to afford to do that with what we are earning. With computers and this law, I don’t think we are going to be here in five years.”

Source: The Guardian

April 18, 2013   No Comments