Friday, 19 January 2018
Saturday, 24 June 2017 16:18

Rwanda eyes Chinese tourism market

Rwanda has taken its push to increase tourist arrivals and income from China. The country was one of the 50 countries that took part in the three-day Beijing International Fair for Trade and Services and Beijing International Tourism Expo 2017 in Beijing, China last week.

Speaking at the event, Virgile Rwanyagatare, the counselor at Rwanda’s mission to China, said the exhibition presented an opportunity to market and open up Rwanda’s tourism sector to the Chinese market. Rwanda and Ivory Coast were the only African countries at the fair.

“Visitors to Rwanda’s stall were impressed by our tourist sites and attractions, as well as products such as crafts, coffee and tea,” Rwanyagatare told The New Times on the sidelines of the expo.

The official added that the exhibition was also a platform for Chinese businessmen who want to invest in Rwanda’s tourism industry to get information and network.

“Rwanda’s tourism sector still needs investment in infrastructure such as roads and airports, hotel facilities and other complementary services,” he said.


Rwanyagatare said many Chinese nationals have expressed willingness to attend this year’s ‘Kwita Izina’ (the gorilla-naming ceremony), which is Rwanda’s flagship tourism activity that takes place every year in September.

He said Rwanda gained valuable tips on how to develop its tourism sector by exchanging ideas with other participating countries.

Bangladeshi firm coming

Meanwhile, Rwanda has been hailed as a “beautiful and peaceful country with hospitable people”.

Dhusor Ahamed, the Managing Director of Bangladesh International Tourism Services, who visited the country in 2014, promised to set up a tour and travel services company in the country.

 “Rwanda is a business friendly country and is corruption free,” Ahamed added.




Published in News & Stories

The Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, which was published on Wednesday September 28, has ranked Rwanda the most improving nation in Sub-saharan Africa.

The report, published by the World Economic Forum, says Rwanda has risen 6 places to 52- closing in on the region’s traditionally most competitive economies; Mauritius and South Africa, despite the two countries registering more modest improvements, climbing to 45 and 47 respectively.

In 2014-2015 report, Rwanda improved its world ranking to 62nd position in the world, up from 66th last year.  In Africa, Rwanda retained 3rd position and number one in the East African Community. This improvement comes particularly from labor market efficiency and institutions pillars where Rwanda ranked 9th and 18th in the world respectively.

Lower down the ranking, Kenya climbs to 96, Ethiopia holds steady at 109 while Nigeria slips three to 127.

Two countries in Latin America and the Caribbean make it into this year’s top 50. Chile, the outlier in the region on 33, climbs two places although the gap is closing with the second highest ranked economy, Panama (up 8 places to 42). Next comes Mexico which performs strongly with a 6-point climb to 51. Argentina and Colombia, the third and fourth largest economies in the region, ranked 104 and 61 respectively.  According to the rankings, Rwanda is followed by Botswana (64), Namibia (84) and Kenya (96).

The report is an annual assessment of the factors driving productivity and prosperity in 138 countries. The degree to which economies are open to international trade in goods and services is directly linked to both economic growth and a nation’s innovative potential.

The trend, which is based on perception data from the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI)’s Executive Opinion Survey, is gradual and attributed mainly to a rise in non-tariff barriers although three other factors are also taken into account; burdensome customs procedures; rules affecting FDI and foreign ownership.

It is most keenly felt in the high and upper middle income economies.

“Declining openness in the global economy is harming competitiveness and making it harder for leaders to drive sustainable, inclusive growth,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.

The report also sheds light on why quantitative easing and other monetary policy measures have been insufficient in reigniting long-term growth for the world’s advanced economies.

The report finds that interventions by economies with comparatively low GCI scores failed to generate the same effect as those performed in economies with high scores, suggesting that strong underlying competitiveness is a key requirement for successful monetary stimulus.

The report offers insight into how priorities may be shifting for nations in earlier stages of development. While basic drivers of competitiveness such as infrastructure, health, education and well-functioning markets will always be important, data in the GCI suggests that a nation’s performance in terms of technological readiness, business sophistication and innovation is now as important in driving competitiveness and growth.

The Global Competitiveness Index in 2016 for the eighth consecutive year, Switzerland ranks as the most competitive economy in the world, narrowly ahead of Singapore and the United States.

Following both countries is Netherlands and then Germany. The latter has climbed four places in two years. The next two countries, Sweden (6) and the United Kingdom (7) both advance three places, with the latter’s GCI score being based on pre-Brexit data.

The remaining three economies in the top ten; Japan (8), Hong Kong Special Administrative Republic (SAR) (9) and Finland (10) all move backwards.

While European economies continue to dominate the top ten, there remains no end in sight for the region’s persisting north-south divide. Spain improves by one point climbing to 32, however Italy drops back one place to 44 and Greece reverses 5 places to 86.

France, the Eurozone’s second largest economy, climbs one place to 21. For all economies in Europe, maintaining and improving prosperity levels will depend heavily on their ability to harness innovation and the talents of their workforces.

There is some sign of convergence in the competitiveness of the world’s largest emerging markets. China, on 28, remains top among the BRICS grouping although another surge by India – which climbs 16 places to 39 – means there is now less of a gap between it and its peers. With both Russia and South Africa moving up two places to 43 and 47 respectively only Brazil is declining, falling six places to 81.

Culled from: News of Rwanda -

Published in Business and Economy

GHANA: The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the policy measures introduced by his government over the last five months have begun yielding the desired effects on the growth of the Ghanaian economy.

According to President Akufo-Addo, his government, upon assuming the reins of office on 7th January, 2017, put before the Ghanaian people the most ambitious programme of social and economic transformation of any government in the history of Ghana’s 4th Republic, aimed at putting the country on the path of progress and prosperity.

This programme, the President said, is hinged on restructuring the institutions of our governance, modernising our agriculture to enhance its productivity, a clear industrial policy, and rationalising the financial sector so that it supports growth in agriculture, and growth in manufacturing and industry.

The policy initiatives put in place to bring relief to and encourage businesses, he said, include measures to stimulate the private sector, a monetary policy that will stabilise the currency and reduce significantly the cost of borrowing, in addition to a raft of tax cuts.

“These interventions are already lowering the cost of doing business, and shifting the focus of our economy from taxation to production,” he said.

The President continued, “We aim also to enhance further the business atmosphere and make Ghana an easier place to conduct business through paperless transactions at our ports, and the removal of all internal customs barriers by the beginning of September.”

In addition to these, President Akufo-Addo noted that his government’s flagship programmes, “One District, One Factory”, and “Planting for Food and Jobs”, have been launched, with the aim of making Ghana’s economy the most business friendly on the continent of Africa, and in the world.

President Akufo-Addo added that this process of economic and industrial transformation is going along with ensuring that the most basic elements of social justice are met – making quality basic education and healthcare accessible to all – to promote a culture of incentives and opportunities.

“We are determined to build a new Ghanaian civilisation, a Ghana beyond Aid. It is a Ghana where we aim to be masters of our own destiny, where we marshal our own resources for the future, breaking the shackles of the “Guggisberg” colonial economy of a producer of raw materials, and a mind-set of dependency, bailouts and extraction.

“It is an economy where we look past commodities to position ourselves in the global marketplace at the high end of the value chain. It is a country where we focus on trade, not aid, a hand-up, not a hand-out. It is a country with a strong private sector. It is a country that recognises the connectedness of its people and economy to those of its neighbours. It is a country that is governed according to the rule of law, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the principles of democratic accountability.”

President Akufo-Addo was speaking on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, at a lunch organised for the Executive Meeting and Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Meeting of the International Democratic Union (IDU), the first time such a meeting is being held in the country of a member party in sub-Saharan Africa.

Fight against terrorism, populism

Touching on the “stormy, adverse winds” buffeting the world such as vicious terrorism, religious extremism, resurgent populism in the Western democracies, potentially devastating climatic and environmental changes, and growing inequality between the North and the South, President Akufo-Addo noted that never has the necessity to organise, mobilise and articulate clearly our values and message been greater.

“I have no doubt that, in doing so, we shall prevail here on this continent and around the world, and create harmony, serenity and progress for our common planet and our common humanity, and, thereby, banish global poverty and hunger,” he added.

It was the expectation of the President that at the end of the IDU meeting, “we share best practices in governance, marketing strategies for winning elections, and refining the tools needed to ensure that we continuously gain and maintain the support of our electorates with each other.”

The political parties making up the membership of the IDU, the President said, are at the helm of some of the biggest and most successful economies and emerging markets in the world, and are having a positive impact on this generation.

“We must ensure that, with the aid of science and technology, the promotion of enterprise, innovation and creativity, and the spread of democratic values, we offer the prospects of a constructing a new era of prosperity in freedom for all the peoples of the world. I am confident that we can work together to achieve this noble goal,” he added.

About the IDU

The International Democrat Union (IDU) is a working association of over 80 Conservative, Christian Democrat and like-minded political parties of the centre and centre right.

Formed in 1983, the IDU provides a forum in which Parties holding similar beliefs can come together and exchange views on matters of policy and organisational interest, so that they can learn from each other, act together, establish contacts and speak with one strong voice to promote democracy and centre-right policies around the globe.

Founder Members of the IDU included Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, then US Vice-President George Bush Sr, Paris Mayor and later President of France Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and many other Party Leaders.

Published in Headliners

Mauricio Pellegrino has been appointed as the new Southampton manager on a three-year deal.

He replaces Claude Puel, who was sacked last week after frustrations behind the scenes and in the stands, despite guiding Saints to eighth in the Premier League and the League Cup final in his first season.

Southampton have acted quickly to name his successor, with former Alaves boss Pellegrino penning a contract at St Mary's less than a month after stepping down as boss of Alaves. 

Pellegrino ensured Alaves had a memorable first season back in La Liga, leading them to a ninth-placed finish -- beating Barcelona, Valencia and Villarreal along the way -- as well as to the Copa del Rey final, where they lost 3-1 to Barca.

"I am really happy to become the new coach of Southampton Football Club," Pellegrino said. "The club has a great reputation for having a strong and stable structure, competing in the Premier League and playing attractive football.

"I think my philosophy and the culture of the club will work well together. We have to be a team on and off the pitch; I want to make the supporters proud of the players and to feel part of the game every week.

"I want to win matches, be successful and develop a team spirit where everyone gives 100 percent and supports each other.

"I am excited and passionate about what the future holds for us and look forward to meeting the players and beginning our preparation for the new season." 

Southampton were looking for a manager who would embark on a long-term project to try and take them into the top six of the Premier League on a regular basis, sources close to the club told ESPN FC earlier this week. 

Saints were keen to avoid a repeat of managerial appointments in recent years when Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman left following successful spells at the helm.

Sources said Pellegrino's experience of English football from his time working alongside Rafael Benitez as an assistant at Liverpool was also viewed as positive.

"We had an impressive list of candidates and went through a comprehensive interview process," said Saints vice chairman Les Reed. "Mauricio impressed us throughout with his depth of knowledge, motivation and ability, communicating this in a professional and passionate way.

"He has an excellent understanding of the Southampton way, and his style of play and aspiration matches the philosophy, culture and ambition of the club.

"We firmly believe Mauricio is the right person to help us take the next steps. He knows our players and believes we have a great squad that with some fine-tuning will be able to deliver continued success.

Pellegrino becomes Southampton's second Argentine manager, with Mauricio Pochettino previously at the helm.

The 45-year-old, a former international defender, will officially join up with the club next week, in time for the start of preseason training.

Pellegrino played for Barcelona, Valencia and Liverpool, while his coaching career has included stints in charge of Valencia, Estudiantes and Independiente.

Published in News & Stories
Saturday, 24 June 2017 03:46

Supreme Court Sacks Taraba Senator

NIGERIA: The Supreme Court has ordered the Senator representing Taraba North Senatorial District, Sani Abubakar Danladi of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to vacate the seat immediately and refund all salaries and allowances he received within 90 days.

The presiding Justice, Justice Amina Augei in the judgement also declared Mr Shuaibu Lau, as the Senator representing Taraba North.

The order was contained in the judgment of the court on the appeal filed by Shuaibu Lau challenging the decision of the court of appeal that had upturned his victory during the primary that he was wrongfully substituted.

The Apex court also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue a fresh certificate to of return to Lau.

The apex court in the unanimous decision of a five member panel held that the “the appellant has the right to participate just like any other candidate in the primary and of he feels his right was infringed upon, as he has the right to approach the court.

“And His substitution at the primary election is null and void since the appellant scored the highest number of votes, the only option is to declare the appellant as the winner of primary,” the court stated.

Published in Politics

Barcelona forward Neymar has said he would be delighted if midfielders Lucas Lima and Marco Verratti joined him at the Camp Nou.

Santos star Lima told ESPN Brasil this week that he would move to Barca on a five-year deal in January when his contract with the Brazilian side expires.

However, there has not yet been confirmation from either club and a pre-contract agreement cannot be signed until July 1.

Neymar was unable to confirm the transfer -- despite Lima being represented by N&N Consultancy, the company run by his father -- but said he hopeful his international teammate would make the switch to La Liga.

"The only person who knows the truth is Lucas and the people he works with," he said at an event for his institute in Sao Paulo. "I hope everything works out. Besides being a good friend of mine, he's a great player.

"If it works out and he joins Barcelona, he'd be received with open arms and I'm sure he'd be able to bring joy to the club. If I could suggest a lot of people, I'd have done by now, but that's not a thing I did.

"There are so many rumours out there. I'm just hoping he joins us [at Barcelona]. If I had actually suggested his name, he'd be already signed," Neymar said with a laugh.

"I'm helping with it [lobbying for the transfer], I am," he said, again with a laugh. "He's a guy we all admire, we all like a lot, a very good friend of mine. I hope he can be happy, even if it's not at Barcelona, though I want it to happen.

"We can make jokes, say things, but actually he's the only who knows the truth, just him and the people who work with him. I'm cheering for him and encouraging him to join Barcelona."

Wagner Ribeiro, agent for both Neymar and Lima, admitted that Lima can determine his future soon.

"He has a contract until Dec. 31, and from July 1 on, we will be able to sign with any side he wants, he'll be free to do whatever he decides -- even to renew his current deal.

"Santos did an amazing offer, one of the best ever done in Brazilian football as they've got this issue with Doyen. Financially speaking, it's not good enough for him, though."

Paris Saint-Germain's Verratti has also been strongly linked with Barca, although the French club French club are reluctant to sell one of their star players.

The Italy international is reported to be one of the players Barcelona director Robert Fernandez was referring to when he said this week that "big-name signings" would be made.

"Of course I would like [Verratti] to come to Barcelona -- I would love it," Neymar said. 

"He's a top player with incredible technical quality. He has the profile and the right qualities to play with us at Barca.

"If we sign Verratti, I'm convinced that the whole team will be delighted to welcome him because he's an amazing player."


Published in Sports

Prosecutors in Spain say they are happy for Lionel Messi's 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud to be replaced with a fine, a spokeswoman confirmed on Friday.

They said they are not opposed to the Barcelona star being fined €400 per day -- a total fine of around €255,500 -- for the duration of the sentence, an option also put forward by the player's defence team.

Messi's father, whose sentence was reduced to 15 months upon appeal, could also see the original punishment exchanged for a fine of around €180,000.

In line with what prosecutors proposed, a judge will now make the final decision.

After learning of the possible changes to Messi's sentence, Barcelona vice president Carles Vilarrubi questioned the timing of the decision in relation to the accusations of tax fraud against Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

He insinuated that Messi's tax case was unfairly dragged out for years but then quickly resolved this week so that La Liga's two star players would not be under investigation at the same time.

"I find it difficult to imagine that this would have happened had there not been a similar problem with another player," he told RAC1, alluding to the Portugal international.

"All of the developments that are taking place right now and that will take place in the coming days are going in a very clear direction: so that Cristiano Ronaldo does not sit in the dock.

"They don't want there to be a photo of Ronaldo in the dock, but Messi did have to go through that."

Messi and his father were both found guilty of three counts of tax fraud totalling €4.7 million last year. In addition to their sentences, they were ordered to pay fines of €2m and €1.5m, respectively.

They were found to have used tax havens in Belize and Uruguay as well as shell companies in the U.K. and Switzerland to avoid paying taxes on earnings from Messi's image rights between 2007 and 2009.

Last week, Spanish prosecutors accused Madrid forward Ronaldo of defrauding Spain's tax office of €14.7m in unpaid taxes by hiding "income generated in Spain from image rights." 

Ronaldo has been called to give evidence in the case against him in court on July 31, but some reports in Spain have said he will strike a deal with prosecutors before then by paying the €14.7m.

However, sources close to the player told ESPN FC on Thursday that there are no plans to pay the money because they feel Ronaldo is innocent.


Published in News & Stories

Monaco midfielder Fabinho says he would be tempted by an offer from Manchester United this summer.

Sources said that United have other midfield targets -- including Tottenham's Eric Dier and Chelsea's Nemanja Matic -- but sources close to Fabinho are saying both United and Manchester City hold an interest in the former Rio Ave man.

Some reports have linked Fabinho with a move to Old Trafford, and the 23-year-old says he would be open to working with Jose Mourinho again after their short time together at Real Madrid.

He told Esporte Interativo: "If Mourinho invites me [to join United], it would be very tempting, but, first of all, I would have to talk with my agent and with Monaco to make the things right.

"But Manchester United is a great team, and I would think about it, for sure."

But despite his interest in United, Fabinho told ESPN Brasil's Antonio Strint that he's currently happy at Monaco.

"I speak every day with my agent, and he always says to me that when an official proposal comes, he will inform me," Fabinho said. "Today I have nothing, I'll be back to Monaco, start the preseason with Monaco. I have contract with Monaco until 2021"

Fabinho played a key role in Monaco's Ligue 1 triumph last season, and their run to the Champions League semifinals.

Monaco have already lost Bernardo Silva to City while midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko and forward Kylian Mbappe have been linked with moves away.

United are close to admitting defeat in their pursuit of Dier with Tottenham adamant they will not sell a player who signed a new five-year contract in September.

There is hope, however, that if Chelsea can secure Bakayoko from Monaco, Antonio Conte could allow Matic to move to Old Trafford to be reunited with Mourinho.

Published in News & Stories

Manchester United are making progress in their pursuit of Alvaro Morata but have yet to agree a fee with Real Madrid, sources have told ESPN FC.

Manager Jose Mourinho has identified Morata as the striker he wants to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

There is still hope a deal could be secured before United head to the United States for their preseason tour on July 9.

Sources have told ESPN FC that agreeing personal terms should be straightforward because of Morata's willingness to move to Old Trafford.

There had been a fear that uncertainty surrounding the future of Cristiano Ronaldo could force Madrid to stall on any deal for the Spain international.

But reports in Spain suggest Ronaldo will now stay at the Bernabeu while Marca, which has close ties to president Florentino Perez, reported that the Spanish champions are set to push on with a bid for Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe.

French newspaper L'Equipe reported on Friday that Zinedine Zidane, once Mbappe's idol, called the striker to convince him to join Madrid said they were ready to sell one of their "BBC" stars to make room for him.

Mbappe's arrival would further limit opportunities for Morata, who made only 14 La Liga starts last season.

The striker, who returned to Real Madrid last summer after two seasons at Juventus, scored 20 goals in 43 appearances last term.

There has been no offer for him from Chelsea, who are also in the market for a striker with Diego Costa set to depart and have been linked with Everton's Romelu Lukaku.

Published in News & Stories

The U.S. State Department has withdrawn its reward offer for Mukhtar Robow, a former leader of the Somali militant group al-Shabab. 

In June 2012, the State Department offered up to $5 million for information on Robow that brought him "to justice." At the time, Robow was still considered a top leader of al-Shabab, having served periods as its spokesman, spiritual leader and military commander.

But soon afterward, Robow exiled himself from the group because of long-running disputes with its emir, Ahmed Abdi Godane. He spent recent years living in his hometown of Abal, south of Huddur, in Somalia's Bakool region.

Robow has his own militias from his own clan in the area.

Godane was killed by a U.S. missile strike in 2014.

Published in News & Stories
Page 41 of 42