Rwanda makes English an official language

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Mar 29 13:19:23 UTC 2007

Business body to open Kenyan chapter

By Kapchanga Kwemoi

Kenya Rwanda Business Association (KRBA), Kenya chapter, will be
officially launched tomorrow at Nairobi's Norfolk Hotel. Speaking during a
media breakfast at a Nairobi hotel, KRBA vice-chairman, Frank Muchiri,
said the launch in Nairobi follows a successful launch of the Rwandan
chapter in Kigali last October. The launch saw Kenyan businessmen and
government representatives travel to Kigali to not only witness the launch
but also to exchange business contacts, he said. The association was
formed in May last year with an intention to have an outfit that would
promote investment in East and Central African region.  It is a nonprofit
making organisation registered in the two countries.

It draws its membership from experienced businessmen and high profile
corporations and it is hoped that it will draw attention of local and
those from outside to the untapped resources in the region. It has both
individual and corporate membership. Rwanda's ambassador to Kenya, George
Kayonga, said KRBA would create a lasting relationship between business
communities, share experiences and expand business networks. He lamented
that trade between Kenya and Rwanda continued to flourish because of the
mutual understanding between the two countries. There is a big trading
balance between Kenya and Rwanda," he said.

Kenya remains Rwandas number one trading partner because the industrial
base of Rwanda is still at its fundamental position, Kayonga said. He
attributed the increased Kenyas exports to Rwanda to the countries'
proximity and less custom charges brought about by East African Community
(EAC). He, however, observed that infrastructural facilities remained a
big challenge to the business community. Currently, Rwanda exports hides
and skins, pyrethrum and coffee to Kenya. With the launch of both
chapters, KRBA will open a window of opportunity in attracting business
from across the borders.

Many Rwandese get their products from Kenya, and it will be easier now for
them to get trade contacts from our Nairobi secretariat. Likewise for
Kenyan businessmen, they will easily get trade contacts from our Kigali
secretariat, said the KRBA, Kenya chapter chairman, Phillipe Nsanzimana.
The launch is coming at a time when EAC has grown to incorporate Rwanda
and Burundi, expanding the community to five nations. This substantially,
is expected to increase prospects of trade and open more investment
opportunities in the region. We hope to take advantage of this expansion
to further expand our business in the region, said a KRBA member based in
Kigali, Rwanda.

The breakfast sponsor, Fina Bank managing director, Frank Griffiths, said
business associations were very useful in the current world. "Business
associations have that weight to penetrate and enter a region that cannot
be penetrated by an individual business person, he said. He said Fina Bank
remained the only bank in the region operating in both countries. He
presented a dummy cheque of Sh500,000 to KRBA to sponsor its activities.
Apart from promotion of investment in the region, KRBA is expected to
create corporate visibility for members business, promote excellence in
business among professionals in Kenya and Rwanda, seek to resolve issues
affecting members interests and enhance networking in the region and

The association chairman, Kenya Chapter, Nsanzimana, observed that there
were a number of activities KRBA had scheduled for the week. Among them
were arrival of powerful business people from Kigali today, the official
launch of KRBA, Nairobi chapter tomorrow in which Trade and Industry
minister, Dr Mukhisa Kituyi will be the official chief guest. Others
expected to attend the launch are Cooperative Development minister, Njeru
Ndwiga, Kenya's ambassador to Rwanda, Alex Keter, Rwanda's ambassador to
Kenya, George Kayonga, Government representatives and the business
community from both countries. The biggest challenge KRBA community
currently faces is lack of a common language between Kenya and Rwanda
business people. Rwandese speak French while Kenyans speak English, he
said. He, however, applauded the Rwanda for changing its language policy,
making English an official language.

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