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Rwanda to hold first ever presidential election live TV debate

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwandan presidential candidates will for the first time in the history of the Rwanda elections appear in a live television debate ahead of August 4 polls, said the National Electoral commission (NEC) of the country on Wednesday.

The three candidates, incumbent President Paul Kagame of the ruling party Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent candidate, will face off next week, in the much anticipated television debate, NEC’s executive secretary Charles Munyaneza told Xinhua on a telephone interview.

He said the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency and NEC are currently organizing the live presidential debate.

“We are organizing the live presidential debate for aspiring candidates which will take place sometime next week. We shall confirm the day, time and venue in the due course. The event will give voters an easy platform to listen to the presidential candidates and then judge for themselves ahead of the polls,” he said.

He also said that more than 1,000 election observers from European Union, East African Community (EAC), African Union, members of the diplomatic missions accredited to Rwanda, and Rwanda civil society organizations, among others, have already been confirmed to participate in the August presidential election.

EAC is set to send a team of 27 election observers, headed by former Kenyan Vice President Moody Awori, to monitor presidential elections in Rwanda due on August 4, EAC’s Deputy Secretary General in Charge of Political Federation Charles Njoroge told journalists in Kigali on Wednesday.

Njoroge who was in Rwanda for a previous election said the election mood is conducive compared to other countries where electoral period is marred with violence.

About 6.8 million will participate in the election from 5.7 million who participated in 2010 presidential elections, according to NEC.



World Bank gives Rwanda 120 mln USD credit for skills development

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- The World Bank announced Monday 120 million U.S. dollars credit to support Rwanda’s skills development.

The World Bank’s country manager to Rwanda Yasser El-Gammal said the credit facility was expected to help in the implementation of programs under Rwanda’s development blueprint, the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS2).

“It will also help Rwanda achieve its target of creating more than 200,000 off-farm jobs as prescribed in the EDPRS2 blueprint,” he said at the signing ceremony of the financing deal in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.

The 38-year concessional loan will be allocated toward priority sectors including manufacturing, energy, transport and logistics, said Rwanda’s finance minister Claver Gatete.

The programs that the loan will support including a 3-year Priority Skills Program for Growth project, which will focus on high priority economic sectors such as energy, transport and logistics, and manufacturing with a focus on “Made in Rwanda” products.

The program will ensure provision of quality training program with market relevance, and expand opportunities for continuous upgrading of job-relevant skills for sustained employability.

This is the second line of credit extended to Rwanda in the recent past.

Last week, the World Bank Group announced 50 million U.S. dollars towards Rwanda’s power connectivity through off-grid solutions.


Rwanda hosts Africa summit on youth entrepreneurship, skills development

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- The inaugural of YouthConnekt Africa Summit scheduled for Wednesday in the Rwandan Capital, Kigali, will focus on promoting job creation through entrepreneurship and skills development among young people, according to organizers.

The conference that will gather about 2,500 participants including more than 100 youth entrepreneurs’ exhibitions is organized by the government of Rwanda, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Rwandan minister of youth and ICT Jean Philbert Nsengimana told reporters on Tuesday the event will primarily dwell on motivating and supporting young people in Africa to address unemployment through entrepreneurship and skills development.

“We are looking at empowering African youth to be entrepreneurs and participate in advocacy and become role models in their communities. The summit will also encourage economic development and transformation among young people,” he added.

Rwanda will host the YouthConnekt Africa Summit from July 19-21 dubbed: “Realizing Africa’s Youth Potential” and will bring together government officials, the youth, entrepreneurs, investors, multinationals and start-ups shaping the African technological ecosystem to interact and discuss on the methods of using technology to drive Africa economic growth.

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, one of the world’s leading entrepreneurs, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group is expected to be among key guest speakers the event, alongside, Rwanda President Paul Kagame, secretary general of UNCTAD Mukhisa Kituyi and UNDP assistant administrator Abdoulaye Mar Diye.

According Abdoulaye Mar Diye, this is the time for young people across Africa to take part in increasing Africa’s competitiveness in the global economy through entrepreneurship and job creation.

“Creating opportunities, providing entrepreneurial development, access to financial technology, and leadership programs will shape the future of our youth in Africa,” he said.

YouthConnekt Africa is a result of a highly successful initiative launched in 2012 by the government of Rwanda and UNDP.

The YouthConnekt initiative is a multi-faceted program that engages youth in national dialogue, and works with them to find or create their own employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.

It’s designed to realize the demographic dividend by combining elements of skills development, entrepreneurship, access to jobs and finance, awareness raising on issues related to youth development, and promotion of youth citizenship. 


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