Both cargo and passenger airlines are on the list to participate in the conference. Airline CEOs like Astral Aviation’s Sanjeev Gadhia and Capt. Valentine Tongo from Nigeria’s Allied Air will cover the freight challenges while Philippe Bohn director general of Air Senegal and Marie Joseph Male CEO of Air Austral and the Vanilla Alliance will talk about the Francophile connections.
Regional Airlines will play a vital part in Africa’s air transport development and three CEOs, Miles van der Molen from South Africa’s CemAir, Rene Decurey from Air Cote d’Ivoire, Marc Gaffajoli from Gabon’s Afrijet and Andreas Kaiafas from Equatorial Guinea’s Cronos Airlines will talk about how to grow from a start-up to an established stable regional carrier.
The Major airlines like Ethiopian, Kenyan and Egypt are also expected to participate.
RwandAir’s CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo will give her take on the opportunity to develop links across Africa and share the plans for the host airline’s hub as well as discussing the issues of retention, recruitment, diversity and culture, while H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways will bring a different perspective to the floor. He will be interviewed in a one-to-one with journalist, broadcaster and conference chairman Alan Peaford MBE about the view from non-African airlines of Africa’s potential; of the challenges of dealing with political issues beyond an airline’s control; about alliances and whether they work in today’s climate and about his own role as chairman of IATA – the international airlines group.
The head of Africa’s airlines association AFRAA will update the audience on Africa’s changing position in the world market and address how African airlines are changing perceptions on issues such as safety.
The Summit will be attended by heads of state, government ministers and director generals of civil aviation from participating African countries and with keynotes from IATA as well, then the issues of protectionism, high taxation and airport costs are likely to be addressed.
The Summit will be the first ‘silent conference’ in Africa. The central location in the exhibition hall – featuring more than 110 companies – will see delegates having special headsets allowing them to focus on the speakers in both English and French.
Speakers, VIP delegations, delegates and exhibitors will all be together in the exhibition hall during breaks. “This is recognised as a great networking event,” says event organiser Mark Brown from TIMES Aerospace. “There are big name speakers addressing serious subjects, global exhibitors and African companies showing what is now available for the growing African market – and most of all there are decision makers from African governments. Aviation Africa has unrivalled networking opportunities and we think Rwanda will not disappoint.”Read More
Kathryn Gemmell is a former student of International Studies at Edinburg University in Scotland. When she first came to Rwanda eight weeks ago to do research for her master’s degree dissertation, the first thing that impressed her was the way rural women in Nyakinama village, Musanze district, supported each other to make sense of their lives.
“I did International Studies at Edinburg University and when the time came to write my dissertation, I chose Rwanda since I had heard so much about the country and how the government takes care of women.
Gemmell says when she interviewed 72 different Rwandan women for her research, she realised is that most of them were proud of themselves despite the daily challenges they faced.
“The women work very hard to surmount their problems. Unlike my country Scotland where people are ashamed of being poor or appearing to be poor, these people are proud of themselves and are they are always looking for resourceful ways to solve their problems. It’s a big lesson to the world,” she says.
As a volunteer at Red Rocks Cultural Centre, Gemmell says working with local co-operatives has offered her an opportunity to not only give back to the community that has hosted her, but also to make new friends and gain confidence in working with something that is meaningful to others.
She says that from volunteering, she has been able to gain enough experience in her field of study, explore other areas of interest, and develop significant skills in leadership, problem-solving, communication and cultural awareness, among other things.
Gemmell notes that for the eight weeks she has been volunteering at Red Rocks Cultural Centre, what she has come to admire is how local women, through their co-operatives, are always there to support each other and how they have confidence in themselves to overcome the daily challenges they face.
Gemmell says she first came to Rwanda at the end of April this year and returned eight weeks ago because she naturally fell in love with the country.
She adds that she also likes Rwanda because it’s clean and green, adding that the efforts the government is making to conserve the environment is something that should be admired and replicated worldwide.
During her stay in the country, Gemmell has not been able to visit many attractions because of her busy schedule save for Mgahinga National Park in Uganda where she went to trek the critically endangered mountain gorillas. She has also visited Gisenyi, particularly Lake Kivu, and also the Akagera National Park to see the wildlife, particularly the big Five.
And before she goes back to Scotland, “I want to visit Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre to see how the (dark) past of Rwanda is documented before I go back to Scotland. I have heard and read so much about the genocide against the Tutsi and it can be a disservice to myself if I go back without seeing this part of the country’s history preserved in Gisozi,” she says.
Gemmell came to know about Rwanda through Greg Bakunzi, the founder of Red Rocks Cultural Centre, who has previously worked with Edinburg University to promote their tourism, conservation and community development programmes.
“I don’t regret my decision to come to the country seeing that it has offered me enough experience to make positive changes in other peoples’ lives,” says Gemmell.Read More
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Rwanda’s tourism industry regulator, has today revealed the Kwita Izina activity roadmap for 2018 at a press conference in Kigali.
The theme of this year’s event, which is slated for September 7, is ‘Conservation is Life’.
Kwita Izina, a baby gorilla naming ceremony that is uniquely Rwandan, was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness of conservation efforts for the endangered mountain gorilla. 23 infant mountain gorillas will be named this year.
Activities within Kwita Izina 2018
Community projects in Kitabi Sector, Nyamagabe District and Ndego Sector, Kayonza District will be launched on 27, July and 5, September respectively. In Kitabi Sector RDB has constructed ten houses for area residents who had formerly lived in the Nyungwe National Park buffer-zone. In Ndego Sector, residents of Karambi and Sangano villages will receive a mobile clinic, solar lighting systems and solar water pumps.
These community projects are part of the RDB Revenue Share Programme. This programme, initiated in 2005 by the Government of Rwanda, aims to guide investment in the areas surrounding the various national parks in Rwanda by ensuring that ten percent of all park revenues.
Over $1.28 million has been distributed by the Rwanda Development Board to more than 158 community-based projects. These projects have availed clean drinking water, health centers, classrooms and housing to members of the communities living around the three national parks: Akagera National Park, Nyungwe National Park and Volcanoes National Park.
Conversation on Conservation returns
On the 4th and 5th September 2018, the ‘Conversation on Conservation’ (CoC) forum will take place alongside an exhibition focused on conservation trends and practices.
The Conservation Exhibition will bring together tourism and conservation partners from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to showcase conservation efforts and avail educational materials to the general public.
The CoC will bring together global conservation leaders, providing a unique platform linking conservation with sustainable tourism by embracing all layers of the value chain.
Celebrating conservation success
As a result of conservation efforts such as Kwita Izina, the population of the endangered mountain gorilla has increased to 604 in 2016 in the Virunga Massif compared to 480 in 2010.
The Virunga Massif is comprised Mikeno Sector of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Mountain gorilla numbers in the entire area had fallen as low as 242 in 1981.
Speaking to the gathered media, the RDB Chief Tourism Officer, Belise Kariza, said;
“The increasing number of mountain gorilla in the Volcanoes National Park is proof of the strides that we have made in gorilla conservation. This could have not happened without the support and collaboration of our conservation partners as well as the cooperation of the members of the community surrounding the park.
Initiatives such as the ‘Kwita Izina’ gorilla naming ceremony, transboundary cooperation and local community education and engagement have all played a major role in conserving gorillas.
Through the contribution of tourism and tourism revenues, we have not only been able to invest in the gorilla experience for our visitors we have also been able increase the amount of support we have given to the local communities through the revenue sharing programme”, she added.
The increase in the mountain gorilla population led the Government of Rwanda to institute a preliminary study on the possibility of expanding the Volcanoes National Park to ensure adequate habitat for the mountain gorilla. Today the park is 16,027.8 hectares.
“The plan is a major step in the consolidation of Rwanda’s conservation gains for the benefit of communities today and future generations. Through gorilla conservation and tourism, we are directly benefitting from these wonderful species. Over the last nine years, revenues from mountain gorilla conservation and the resulting tourism has brought $ USD 107 million to the national coffers”, Kariza noted.
“Earlier this year RDB received a 27-hectare land donation from the African Wildlife Foundation, adding to the 160,000 hectares that had formerly comprised the park. This park expansion will ensure not only the adequate habitat of the endangered mountain gorilla but it will also improve both socio-economic opportunities for more than 18,000 people and the tourism experience in Volcanoes National Park.” Chief Tourism Officer Kariza concluded.Read More
Rwanda is blessed to have the shelter of the highest population of birds in the world; it’s also ranked among the best 5 destinations in the entire world for tourists searching for the best birding tour in Rwanda. Rwanda is geographically a small land locked nation perched in the Albertine Rift valley with its dense forested and mountainous nature that avail great and long lasting memorable wildlife experiences anyone wouldn’t want to miss in life.
Rwanda with its small size has a staggering 700 bird species that quench the thirst of anyone looking for great birding safaris and experiences in Africa.
Rwanda has 7 favorite important bird watching areas, which include 3 national parks, – Volcanoes national park, Akagera national park, Nyungwe National Park, Rugezi swamp, Akagera swamps, Nyabarongo and Cyamudongo forest. These birds include Grey crowned crane, papyrus Gonoleck, Kungwe apalis, Bennettis wood pecker, stripe breasted tit, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Cinnynis, white-tailed blue fly catcher, shoebill stork, tropical Boubou, regular sunrise bird, bronzy sun bird, among others.
Birding At Lake Ihema, Akagera National Park
Akagera national park is a small piece of paradise perched on the Rwanda-Tanzania that provides wildlife safaris in Rwanda that travellers long for. The Park stands as Rwanda’s most spectacular site for birders as it habours several endemic as well as migratory bird species and other unique wildlife species. It is home to over 520 species of birds that dominate this place, including forest, savannah, wetlands, and montane species.
Lake Ihema is home to the rare shoe bill stork; therefore this place gives a clear view of these beautiful birds since it habours a mixture of different acacia and papyrus species, including the olive back.
Other species common in Akagera national park include; the gorgeous black headed Gonolek, the grey hornbill, lilac-breasted roller, the crested barbet, Heuglin’s robin-chat and Ross’s Turaco, among others.
Birding In Nyungwe Forest National Park
This is Rwanda’s most fabulous bird watching site, and it is home to approximately 310 bird species that have been recorded, reflecting a wide habitat diversity and altitudinal range due to its dense forested nature. It’s very famous for its vegetation cover as well as being a home to many different bird species as compared to other national parks.
This wonderful birding area lies west of Butare, with the Butare to Cyangugu road passing straight through the middle, providing excellent roadside birding adventure.
Nyungwe habours a variety of Albertine Rift endemics, including seven of the 12 species of Soricidae, one species of bat – Rousettus lanosus, 5 of 12 species of Muridae and the chameleon Chamaeleo johnstoni, two species of squirrels,- Funisciurus carruthersi and Heliosciurus ruwenzori. And an amphibian that is endemic to Nyungwe – the caecilian Boulengerula fischeri. Two species of butterfly are endemic to Nyungwe – Bebearia dowsetti and Acraea turlini while Papilio leucotaenia restricted to a small area of the Albertine Rift occurs commonly in Nyungwe.
Birding In Nyabarongo River
It’s a protected area in Rwanda, covering 142.62km2, located in the south east of the country, south of Kigali, and includes swamps and marshes in parts of flood plain of river Nyabarongo, the longest river in Rwanda. It provides a safe haven for some of the globally threatened bird species namely; the Madagascar Squacco heron, papyrus Gonolek, Carruthers, Sisticola, white- winged scrub-warbler.
Other places where these birds can be found are; Cyamudongo forest, Rugezi among others, for anyone who wants to get an unforgettable biding experience in Rwanda.Read More
Baseball, a bat-and-ball sport is a known national pastime of the United States. It derives its name from the four bases that form a diamond (the infield) around the pitcher’s mound. According to Encyclopaedis.com, popularity has been spreading in recent decades, but it spread to a number of countries (Cuba, Japan) in the 1860s and 70s. The game is followed with fervent interest in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, other Caribbean countries, and elsewhere.
However, the sport’s popularity has remained in obscurity in most Africa countries despite its development. In Rwanda, this is projected to change with the establishment of Friends of Baseball, an umbrella body consisting of baseball coaches, its enthusiasts, and people who love the sports to promote the development of baseball in the country.
According to Eric Mugisha, the coordinator of Friends of Baseball, they are targeting everybody, including schools and their major aim is to ensure that in a few years’ time baseball is going to be among the most recognized sports in Rwanda.
“It’s sad that when a number of tourists visit the country and ask where they can play baseball, their questions are always met with mute response. Baseball in Rwanda is unrecognized almost by everybody as a sport,” says Mugisha.
But Friends of Baseball, he says, is out to change this perception. “We have already coordinated purchase of playing kits that we are distributing to various schools since we believe when we want to popularize the game for future generation, we should start with students,” he adds.
He says the aim of Friends of Baseball is not only to popularize the game in Rwanda to make it more popular but also to see its development as a popular game that any person with talent in it can participate.
“Baseball is a popular game that’s played in high schools around the world and we asked ourselves, why not Rwanda? That’s why we came up with the idea to promote the development of this game in the country,” he adds.
He says Friends of Baseball are involved in coordination of supply of equipment to schools and playing centers, promoting basic knowledge about baseball to a wider population and creating a baseball environment where any person with interest can participate.
Formed last year, Friends of Baseball has so far managed to market the game on social media and managed to organize for the purchase of expensive baseball kits, through donations from well-wishers that they’re distributing to various schools.
Mugisha also says they are already engaging all the stakeholders, including embassies, expatriates, and tourism industry players to help promote the game in the country.
He adds that their other aim is to establish a championship where teams can compete and also to help develop students’ interest in baseball.Read More
As the world celebrates this year’s annual World Wildlife Day tomorrow, 50 members of different cooperatives in Nyakinama village, Musanze district, northern Rwanda, have embarked on a tree-planting mission to help in wildlife and nature conservation around the Volcanoes National Park.
The project, dubbed Igihoho and running under Red Rocks Initiatives for Sustainable Development, was officially launched today and will see the groups, mostly composed of vulnerable women and low-income families, plant thousands of trees to help protect endangered wildlife species around the country’s national parks.
According to Poline Mahawenimana, a member of Abarura Mucho Cooperative, one of the cooperatives taking part in the initiative, they have embarked on wildlife and environmental protection not only as part of Red Rocks’ programmes for sustainable development, but also to ensure the animals and plants are protected for posterity.
“Our initiative is defined by a philosophy that when we plant trees and restore the habitat, the animals are going to return. And that’s what we need in this community; to continue living harmoniously with nature,” says Poline, a mother of three.
The Igihoho Project uses banana barks that are stripped to make bags where seedlings are planted and later, the trees are going to be planted to coincide with the Tree Planting Day scheduled later this year.
Greg Bakunzi, the founder of Red Rocks Cultural Center, where the ceremony was held, told Chwezi Traveller that this was just the first part of an elaborate programme they’re initiating geared towards nature and wildlife conservation.
“The saying ‘we don’t plan to fail but we often fail to plan’ also applies to tree planting. Crucial to successful wildlife conservation is a well-developed plan to guide your action and decision making. Our long-term mission is not only to increase protective cover but also to grow shrubs and trees for other reasons as to protect wildlife, and our best plantings have set-off with a detailed plan,” said Bakunzi.
Bakunzi added that the use of banana barks stripped to make bags for planting the trees also will go a long way to help in the Rwanda government’s ban on the use of plastic bags, observing that many tree planters still use the plastic bags that are hazardous to the environment.
He further says that involving the local community in wildlife protection and nature conservation is part of their mission to see locals actively taking part in conservation and sustainable development, saying the vulnerable families that form the majority in rural households, are going to benefit from various incentives like cash for making the bags and planting the trees.
According to Rwanda Economy (2017) Survey, Rwanda is a rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture and some mineral and agro-processing. Tourism, minerals, coffee and tea are Rwanda’s main sources of foreign exchange…while 40% of people, mostly in rural areas, live below the poverty line.
“We involve the vulnerable rural households around the national parks to help in conservation and also raise their livelihoods since tourism activities prevalent around here can greatly benefit them and our environment too,” says Bakunzi.
Joseph Bashayija, one of the cooperative members present during the launch of the Igihoho tree planting project, said the programme is going to involve local leaders and by extension the government and conservation players for proper placement of the trees and support.
“Our main objective is restoration of wildlife habitat through planting of trees since there are many species of animals like birds that depend on trees for their survival. Unfortunately, deforestation has led to endangering the survival of these animals, but we are out to right the wrong,” says Bashayija.
Rodriguez Iragena, a local television content producer, said Red Rock’s Igohoho tree planting programme is important in raising awareness about conservation in general, echoing the words of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that “protecting wildlife is a matter of protecting our planet’s natural beauty. We see it as a stewardhip responsibility for us and this generation and the future generations to come. But it is also a national security issue, a public health issue, and an economic security issue.”
He adds that the initiative is going to complement the government of Rwanda’s commitment to environmental and wildlife conservation, since these are among core issues the government is concerned with to promote sustainable development.Read More
Rwanda’s tourism is growing fast thanks to the creative stakeholders in its tourism industry. Renowned mostly for mountain gorillas, Rwanda is not only the best destination for gorilla safaris but also for an amazing cultural encounter with the local African people. If you would like to interact with the locals, learn about the culture of the African people, Rwanda is fast becoming a favorite destination to travelers. After successfully promoting the Kwita Izina, a gorilla naming ceremony held in July, the country is yet to launch another festival on the 26th, December, 2014.
The Nyanza District, home to some of the country’s most impressive historical and cultural sites from the past kingdom, has partnered with the National Institute for Museums and others to launch a culture festival held for the first time this year on Boxing Day, 26th of December. The Rwesero Art Museum has been selected as the venue for the inaugural event which will become part of Rwanda’s annual calendar of festivals.
There are several things that are to be showcased to travelers from traditional songs, poetry, art and crafts, etc. At the centre, tourists will learn about the traditional food preparations, live stock grazing, milking and other daily activities engaged in by the Rwandan people which will form the core of the various activities for the day, aimed to bring closer the country’s rich history to not only tourists but also the present day generation. The festival targets not only foreign tourists but also Rwandans as well as visitors from Eastern Africa. Tourists traversing the country can use this opportunity to stop by and enjoy some of the performances.
Rwanda’s tourism industry and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has in recent years diversified their offerings, from what once was an almost exclusive gorilla tracking destination to include the country’s two other national parks, Akagera and Nyungwe Forest, the 224 kilometre long Congo Nile Trail from Kamembe to Gisenyi, which runs along some of the country’s most scenic sites along Lake Kivu, bird watching areas, the National Museums and of course the annual naming of gorilla babies, Kwita Izina.Read More
The United Nations designated the year 2017 as the International Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development. And as the year closes, it’s imperative to take stock of the main highlights of the country’s tourism industry and also look at what 2018 has in store.
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in May 2017 projected that Rwanda tourism would fetch about $444 million (about Rwf370 billion) in 2017, up from $404 million in 2016. The country’s tourism industry regulator said the increase in revenue would be a result of continued tourism promotion efforts as well as the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events and Exhibitions (MICE) strategy.
Rwanda tourism projections
Clare Akamanzi, the chief executive of RDB, said that from the total projections, MICE was expected to contribute $64 million, up from the $47 million it generated in 2016.
This was echoed by a World Bank report that said the increase in meetings, conventions and events following the establishment of the Convention Bureau led to revenues exceeding $37 million in 2015 and US$47 million 2016. In 2017, according to the report, revenue from all business tourism in the country (was) projected to reach $64 million.
Even though, as of going to press, the figures of how Rwanda’s tourism industry fared in 2017 among other pertinent questions remained unanswered despite email enquiries to RDB, tourism industry players are upbeat that Rwanda’s tourism remained boisterous in 2017, and hope if the momentum is maintained, tourism in Rwanda has a brighter future.
Rwanda tourism players chip in
Greg Bakunzi, the managing director of Amahoro Tours, says now that Rwanda has the so-called Big Five, there have been tourists this year that came specifically to see these animals.
“We now have a wide variety of wildlife apart from the gorillas, and even though the gorilla trekking fee was increased last year, visitors now have a diversity of attractions, and this is one reason why Rwanda maintained its visitor arrivals in 2017,” says Bakunzi.
Bart Gasana, the chairperson of the Tourism Chamber at the Private Sector Federation, observed in May 2017 that the industry projections were largely facilitated by the new gorilla trekking fees, RwandAir expansion and the MICE initiatives. As of 2017, the national carrier, RwandAir, established and now boasts a fleet of 12 aircraft serving 24 destinations globally, and this expansion is also seen as one of the reasons tourism in Rwanda continued with its growth according to projections.
Rwanda tourism now targets locals
RDB also intensified its campaign to promote domestic tourism when it launched the second edition of Tembera U Rwanda, a campaign geared towards encouraging domestic tourism in Rwanda to achieve sustainable development in the country’s tourism sector.
The adventurous but quite educational trips were held in two phases, from 25th to 26th November and 9th to 10 December. During this year’s campaign, a group of 98, the lucky winners of the Tombola Draw Experience that took place during the Liberation holiday, departed from Kigali to Musanze through Remarkable Rwanda’s nature, cultural and wildlife trails.
The tour itinerary on the departure date involved a stopover at Nyirangarama, lunch at La Palme Hotel, a thrilling walk through the mysterious Musanze caves extending for about 1.25 miles, caused by centuries of geological activity.
Day two was more exploratory as tourists trekked the endangered mountain gorillas. And after this hike, tourists enjoyed refreshments and lunch before departing to Buhanga eco-park to explore Rwandan culture and also learn about the country’s conservation journey.
According to RDB, this was the first promotional trip by RDB since the revision of the gorilla trekking permits but the call to action began during the liberation day holiday on 4th of July where everyone born on this date was given the opportunity to participate in a raffle competition.
In addition, Rwandans also had the chance to nominate friends and family born on this date through social media platforms.Read More