UNECA looks to support Rwanda’s agric, mining value chains

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) plans to support Rwanda strategic sectors, targeting key projects such as the Gabiro Agribusiness Hub and Gako beef farm.

This was said by UNECA’s Executive Secretary Amb Claver Gatete following a meeting with Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente on Monday, June 10.

“The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa has been working with Rwanda for a long time, but we want to go to more impactful areas,” said Gatete.

“We have chosen four areas which are very useful. There is Gako Beef Farm, where the country has 6,000 hectares of land and animals. We want to make sure that it is done properly and is developed as a value chain, by involving the private sector,” he said.

Gatete said UNECA would also support the leather value chain in part by addressing the issue of finance that is needed.

He said they would also support the Gabiro Agribusiness Hub, a project for large-scale commercial farming, through mobilising the private sector investment.

“Another area is mining. Rwanda has been doing a good job in terms of traceability of minerals and starting some of the industries dealing with processing of minerals such as gold, cassiterite and tantalite,” he said, “but we want to make Rwanda a centre of excellence in processing of minerals and we want to partner with the country in doing properly.”

UNECA will also support Rwanda’s import and export trade, by reducing the cost of transport to and from the ports of Mombasa in Kenya and Dar es Salam in Tanzania, he noted.

“That distance is very long, very costly, which affects the cost of living in Rwanda. We want to explore how we can use Lake Victoria so that commodities come nearer in Uganda, say in Masaka, where the distance can be shortened,” he said, adding that they were looking into the facilities that will be needed for the transportation of heavy products such as gas and fuel.

Gatete said that for the lighter goods, they were looking at the possibility of rekindling the River Akagera navigation, which seeks to facilitate water transport from Lake Victoria through to Kagitumba in Rwanda’s Eastern Province.

“That would significantly reduce the cost and time spent on the imports,” he said.

Gatete said that at the request of the Prime Minister, UNECA would study Rwanda’s tourism sector to assess its progress and identify the areas that need improvement.

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