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Rwanda financial sector to remain sound and stable in 2018 says latest Central Bank report | Coastweek

Part of the upper Nile, the confluence of the Kagera and Ruvubu rivers near Rusumo Falls [left], close to the Rwanda and Tanzania border. Lake and volcano in the Virunga Mountains: General view of northwestern Rwanda [right], where CIAT's climbing beans have been widely adopted.  WIKIPEDIA PHOTOS - STEVE RWANDA AMAKURU AND NEIL PALMER [CIAT]

Rwanda financial sector to remain sound and
stable in 2018 says latest Central Bank report

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda financial sector is expected to remain sound and stable throughout 2018, the central bank said on Wednesday.

Banks and microfinance institutions of Rwanda hold sufficient capital and liquidity buffers above prudential requirement and the solvency and profits of private insurers continue to improve, said National Bank of Rwanda in a statement, citing an assessment by the bank’s Financial Stability Committee.

By the end of September 2018, the total capital adequacy ratio for the banking and microfinance sectors stood at 22.6 percent and 34.8 percent respectively, compared to 15 percent prudential requirement, said the bank.

The liquidity coverage ratio, the main indicator of liquidity position of banks, stood at 306 percent against 100 percent prudential requirement, it said.

On the other hand, the liquidity ratio in the microfinance sector stood at 96.4 percent against the 30 percent prudential requirement, it added.

The insurance sector held sufficient capital relative to risks underwritten, it said.

The aggregate solvency levels of private insurers stood at 155 percent in September 2018 compared to 159 percent level of September 2017, the bank said.


Rwanda launches Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba and the government of Rwanda Wednesday launched Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), which makes Rwanda the first African country that launches this platform.

The eWTP initiative was proposed by Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, in 2016.

It aims to promote public-private dialogue to foster a more effective and efficient policy and business environment to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in cross-border electronic trade.

Ma and Rwandan president Paul Kagame jointly unveiled the plaque of the eWTP at its launching ceremony, which also witnessed the signing of MOUs between the two sides in the areas of e-commerce, tourism, e-payment and capacity building, under the framework of eWTP.

Alibaba will work with Rwanda Development Board to help Rwandan small and medium-sized enterprises sell their products, including coffee and handicrafts, to Chinese consumers through Alibaba’s online marketplaces.

Alibaba’s travel service platform and Rwanda Development Board will also work together to promote Rwanda as a tourist destination through a Rwanda Tourism Store for booking flights, hotels and travel experiences and a Destination Pavilion, where Chinese consumers can learn about Rwanda.

Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial will share expertise in inclusive financial tools, such as mobile payments, to support the Rwandan digital economy.

Alibaba is also committed to providing capacity building to academics, policy makers and entrepreneurs on how to grow a digital economy.

For policy makers, Alibaba will host a three-day workshop at its Hangzhou headquarters to showcase the nature, capabilities and promise of a new digital economy through first-hand experience with digital finance, logistics, e-commerce and big data industries.

A delegation of ministers and government officials responsible for the development of Rwanda’s digital economy will attend a workshop in Hangzhou in January 2019.

Alibaba will also continue to support Rwandan entrepreneurs through programs such as the eFounders Fellowship.

"I hope from today, the eWTP Rwanda can be able to support small businesses, young people and women here in Africa and sell their things to enable them to global buy, global sell, global deliver, global pay and global travel," Ma said at the ceremony.

"If we can make 60 million small businesses in the world, they can do business and change the world.

"We want to ensure eWTP makes 80 percent of small businesses in Africa to be successful," he said.

"Let’s support young people and small businesses to globalize," he added.

The eWTP opens up new frontiers in e-commerce and tourism for Rwanda and will also boost the capacity and competitiveness of Rwandan entrepreneurs and business people, said Kagame.

Rwanda greatly values its growing relationship with the Chinese private sector and Alibaba Group in particular, he said, adding that the launch is a tangible example of that and one that Rwanda intends to build on for mutual benefits.

Wednesday’s launch is a "starting point" for eWTP in Rwanda and Africa, Angel Zhao, President of Alibaba Global Business Group, told a media briefing after the ceremony.

She expressed confidence on eWTP’s success in Africa.

"We are going to build a long-term strategy (for eWTP in Africa)," she added.

Using eWTP is really key and comes at the right time as Rwanda launches its Made-in-Rwanda policy, designed to help boost local industrial contribution to the economic growth while promoting the brand of the Rwandan locally made products at the global stage, Rwandan Minister of Trade and Industry Soraya Hakuziyaremye said at the briefing.

It will help Rwanda’s young entrepreneurs and also local enterprise willing to export outside, she said.

"It (eWTP) is perfectly fit in our development agenda," said Clare Akamanzi, CEO of Rwanda Development Board.

Rwanda’s development priorities, first of all, is to improve the income level of its people and eWTP provides very good opportunities for Rwandan people and entrepreneurs to be able to maximize their incomes from trading and export, said Akamanzi.

The future of Rwanda’s economic development is digital and data driven, CEO of the ICT Chamber of Private Sector Federation of Rwanda Alex Ntare told Xinhua in an interview.

Next drivers of digital transformation of Rwanda is the digital transformation of trade, particularly enabling small and medium-sized enterprises both in formal and informal sectors to boost their customer reach through e-commerce platforms and marketplaces, said Ntare.

E-commerce will help in economic growth of Rwanda in many ways including cross-border trading, time saving, costs reducing, and enhancing convenience, he said.

China’s e-commerce giant passes on experience to Africa, with potential benefits

by Xinhua writer Lyu Tianran KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- A startup hub on the 4th floor of a commercial building in Rwandan capital city Kigali is where Dioscore Shikama incubates his agri-tech e-commerce company.

The 26-year-old set up a target to serve global farmers after participating in a training program for e-commerce business founders provided by China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba in China last November.

Founded in 2016, GO Ltd provides farmers with advisory services via mobile and allow them keeping records of farming costs through its electronic platform AgriGO.

AgriGO also plans to launch a marketplace service next year, where farmers can post their harvests and buyer can select farming products.

Considering the fact that many farmers in Rwanda don’t have smartphones but only have feature phones, AgriGO basically operates based on SMS and USSD, or unstructured supplementary service data, while AgriGO’s partner organizations and companies use AgriGO’s smartphone application to provide information to farmers.

Alibaba’s training program eFounders Fellowship, created to find and empower 1,000 platform builders who can leverage Alibaba’s experience in China, opened his vision, Shikama told Xinhua.

The two-week course provides first-hand exposure to and learning about e-commerce innovations from China and around the world that enabled growth and a more inclusive development model for all.

The program motivates him to "acting locally, but thinking globally," Shikama said.

"When we develop our platform, we consider farmers in Brazil, China and other areas in the world, who were not applied to before I went to China," he added.

The course also helps the young entrepreneur know how to develop a team from a startup to a bigger company and gives him a better understanding of data.

For example, Alibaba’s online payment platform Alipay inspires him to have an idea of a payment solution for farmers, by which buyers can pay through two-dimensional barcodes, or QR code, to farmers bank accounts, he said.

"Alibaba is bringing in experience and skills transfer," he added.

Alibaba not only provides training to business founders but also e-commerce educators.

An e-commerce club to prepare students for online business opportunities and to impact them the knowledge of starting e-business and trade online has been set up at the University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies of Rwanda (UTB), after its three teachers attended Alibaba’s training program for educators.

Jean Baptiste Mbanzabugabo, dean of the Faculty of Business and Information Technology of UTB, together with his two colleagues in August attended Alibaba’s Global eCommerce Talent Program, an intensive learning session for trainers and professors who are looking to develop an e-commerce course in their home country.

After completing the program held in Rwanda, Mbanzabugabo proposed a UTB’s global e-commerce talent program to the management of the university, which seeks to bridge the skills gap of young professionals to meet employability and entrepreneurship needs of Rwandan economies, business and entrepreneurs, while shaping young digital talents and small and medium enterprises to better understand the e-commerce model and ecosystem, as well as operational, business analytical and entrepreneurship skills.

The educator plans to integrate this program into the university’s curricula, as well as set up a standalone certification program to all other entities willing to join the program.

"Alibaba’s training for educators comes at the right time as the world is going high today when electronic (utilization) comes as number one," said Mbanzabugabo.

Trained educators are able to instruct business founders who are not able to afford premises to have an online platform, he said.

They can also impact students with business and IT skills to have entrepreneurship skills of starting an online business, he added.

Both the young e-commerce founder and the educator hold a positive view toward the impact of e-commerce on Rwanda’s economy, a landlocked country located in the heart of Africa.

E-commerce is just getting started in Rwanda, but it will create more jobs for young people, open the market for Rwandan sellers and introduce Rwandan products to the world, said Shikama.

"I’m hoping it will help export, so that it can bridge the gap between import and export," he added.

E-commerce provides people who can’t afford setting up premises and infrastructures for doing business with opportunity to start an online business, said Mbanzabugabo.

It also enables business people to expand their business boundaries and "meet potential customers from all over the world," he said.



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