As Rwanda embarks on the new development agenda, Vision 2050, which seeks to transform the country into a high-income economy by 2050, the Government and development partners believe there is a need to strengthen partnerships to realise that vision.
This was indicated on Thursday as government officials and Rwanda’s development partners kicked off their annual retreat in Rubavu District.
Rwanda’s Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Uzziel Ndagijimana told participants from different development organisations that the meeting happens at a “critical inflection point between Vision 2020 and Vision 2050 as Rwanda’s guiding development vision.”
“The retreat is happening when the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) is well underway in terms of its implementation,” he said.
The NST1 runs until 2024 and the Government targets to completely transform education, health, agriculture and infrastructure sector among others.
The target is to move beyond meeting basic needs to ensure a higher standard of living for all Rwandan through provision of affordable education and health care, modern housing and settlements, comprehensive adequate social security and safety nets, and universal access to daily amenities, to name but a few.
The country also wants to develop high-value jobs and sectors, as well as modern infrastructure and productive livelihoods.
Believably, development partners are expected to play a big role in realizing those ambitious plans.
“The retreat shapes the agenda between the Government and its partners, builds stronger working partnerships to improve quality and delivery of external development finance and technical assistance to ensure efficient and effective implementation of national priorities,” the Minister noted.
The retreat will review the implementation of Rwanda’s transformation agenda – NST1 – with the idea to catalyse partnerships between the Government and development partners.
On the agenda, participants are also deliberating how to leverage private sector investment for economic and social transformation.
Stephen Rodrigues, the Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said Rwanda’s plan to become a middle-income country by 2035 and a high-income country by 2050 requires high investment.
“That requires a high rate of investment and we know that the State has been making those investments and we are seeing an increase in private sector investments. But there is a lot of work that needs to be done to attract more private investments,” he said.
He added that this will require raising more domestic investment and pursue blended financing.
“These are the conversations we are going to have,” he noted.
Rodrigues indicated that discussions are also going to revolve around creating more decent jobs, highlighting that while global economies are growing poverty is not reducing as fast as expected.
Human capital investment is another critical issue that is likely to attract the attention of the development partners and officials who are meeting on the shores of Lake Kivu at Serena Hotel.
According to the Finance Ministry, over the last two decades, Rwanda has recorded an average growth of about 8 per cent per annum, which the Minister said, by all standards is commendable.
“However, let’s remember that [gross domestic product] GDP growth required to achieve Vision 2050 is much more than the average 8 per cent of the past,” he said.
Last year, Rwanda achieved a high GDP growth of 8.4 per cent in the first quarter, 12.2 per cent in the second quarter, and 11.9 per cent in the third quarter, making an average of 10.9 per cent for the first three quarters of 2019.
“One of the questions asked to us by Rwandans is how to ensure that this high growth is not a one-off, but is sustained over the next three decades. It will require both economic and societal transformation,” Ndagijimana said.
At last year’s retreat, members recommended operationalisation of agriculture de-risking facility, among other things. The Ministry said the facility was structured, approved and it’s on the way to the parliament.
The World Bank plans to invest 350 million dollars in the facility.
Human capital development, supporting urbanisation and private sector development are other resolutions that appeared last year.
Partners like Department for International Development (DFID) are already supporting the government in these areas.