Rwanda makes English an official language

Don Osborn dzo at
Thu Mar 29 13:48:27 UTC 2007

Rwanda has 3 official languages: Kinyarwanda, French and English. Not sure
how "official language" legislation per se helps anything in this regard.
China, just to pick one example, has put a lot of emphasis on English
instruction without making it an official language.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-lgpolicy-list at [mailto:owner-lgpolicy-
> list at] On Behalf Of Harold F. Schiffman
> Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 9:19 AM
> To: Language Policy-List
> Subject: Rwanda makes English an official language
> 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
> beyond.
> 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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