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Cablegate: Rwanda Monthly Economic Review

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INFO RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 1063
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RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 0185
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SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/C
DEPARTMENT PASS USTDA: EEBONG
DEPARTMENT PASS USTR: WJACKSON
DEPARTMENT PASS COMMERCE: RTELCHIN
DEPARTMENT PASS OPIC: BCAMERON
ADDIS FOR LISA BRODEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIN ECON PGOV EINV ENRG ETRD EPET BTIO RW
SUBJECT: RWANDA MONTHLY ECONOMIC REVIEW


TECHNOLOGY NEWS
-----------------------------
1. IT Summit: Rwanda hosted the African Heads of State Connect
Africa Summit October 29 and 30. Six African presidents and
corporate executives attended. The summit's goal was to accelerate
broadband and wireless connectivity in Africa. Dr. Hamadoun Tour,
Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union,

SIPDIS
declared that this conference would be a "yard stick for rolling out
indispensable activities" to connect Africa (septel will detail the
program and results of the summit).

2. More IT Expansion: The Rwanda Information Technology Agency
(RITA) awarded the South African company Allied Technologies
(Altech), through its Rwandan subsidiary Altech Stream Rwanda, a
license to deliver broadband internet access services in Rwanda.
Altech expects its network to be operational in Rwanda by early
2008. RITA also awarded Altech the right to install its own
satellite earth-station for direct connection to the Web.

3. Libyan Firm Wins Rwandatel Bid: LapGreen Networks won a tender
for USD 100 million for 80percent of Rwandatel, the national-owned
fixed line, mobile phone, and internet provider. LapGreen, a Libyan
company, edged out Vodacom Group of South Africa (whose bid was USD
80 million) as well as Celtel of Uganda and the Democratic Republic
of Congo, V-Tel holdings of Jordan, Bit Map Limited of Singapore,
and Rwanda's R-com (whose bids ranged between USD 50 and 60
million). The Social Security Fund of Rwanda owns the remaining 20
percent of Rwandatel's shares. LapGreen committed to invest USD 317
million over the next 15 years, including USD 87 million its first
year of operation. The company intends to initiate a borderless
service between Rwanda and Uganda without roaming charges; it
acquired Uganda Telecom last year.

4. One Laptop Per Child: During a meeting in New York on the
margins of the United Nations General Assembly Meeting, Nicholas
Negroponte, chairman and founder of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)
Group and President Kagame announced the GOR will buy laptops from
the new sales promotion scheme 'Get 1 and Get 1.' In fact, Kagame
committed Rwanda to buy two laptops instead of the required one to
receive one for free from OLPC.

NEW LOANS
-----------------
5. New Power Loan: The World Bank provided the Government of Rwanda
(GOR) with a USD 25.4 million loan for increased generation of
electricity. The projects to be funded include installation of
three heavy fuel generators in the outskirts of Kigali expected to
produce 20 megawatts (MW) of electricity and light up five (out of
30 total) districts by the end of 2008.

NEW INVESTMENT
--------------------------
6. Brussels Air Adds Flight: The Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority
granted Brussels Airline (SN) an additional flight between Kigali
and Brussels, increasing the airline's weekly flights to three
(Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). SN remains the only carrier
offering direct flights to Rwanda, with no immediate prospects for
other carriers to begin service to Kigali. The new flight, which
will go into service in December, also reflects the growing demand
for direct access to international air connections to Europe.


7. Dubai World Comes to Rwanda: Dubai World, a major holding
company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), signed on
Memorandum of Understanding with State Minister for Commerce Vincent
Karega on October 15. The MOU commits Dubai World to invest USD 230
million in luxury hotels and residential estates in Kigali, near
Ruhengeri, and Nyungwe, making it one of the largest foreign
investors in the country. Construction is scheduled to begin
mid-2008 and be completed by 2010.

8. Bio-gas Powered Beer Production: Biomas Renewable Energy Rwanda
(BRER), a privately held Rwandan company announced plans to develop
a USD 3 million bio-gas plant to power Rwanda's largest brewery,
BRALIRWA. Owners Michael Munyaneza and Andrew Kanyanya licensed
technology from German firm BMK in Kampala. BRALIRWA, which
produces alcohol and carbonated beverages, signed an agreement with
BRER for the construction of a one MW bio-gas plant at its brewery
site in the western province. According to the agreement, BRALIRWA
will consume both electricity and gas generated from the plant.
Rwanda's utility company, Electrogaz, also expressed interest in
purchasing energy from BRER. The plant will also provide organic
manure to be used as fertilizers at nearby farms.

MACROECONOMIC INDICATORS
--------------------------------------------- -
9. Drop in Poverty Rate: Since 1994, Rwanda's GDP has grown at a
steady 6 percent and its household poverty rate has dropped from 70
percent to 57 percent. Last week, the Ibrahim Index, a new scale
that measures African governments on security, transparency, human
rights and economic opportunity named Rwanda the most improved
sub-Saharan country over the past five years. The Ibrahim Index is
a project of Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese business mogul. The survey was
carried out by Harvard University academics using data from sources
such as the United Nations Development Program and Transparency
International.

ARIETTI

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