Poverty down by 12% – survey
Poverty in the country has dropped by 11.8 percent since 2006, a reduction rate six times faster than what the country achieved between 2000 and 2006, according to the third Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey to be released today.
The survey, which represents the international benchmarks for measuring poverty, will be launched by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN) at a ceremony to be attended by President Paul Kagame and development partners.
At the event, MINECOFIN will update Rwandans and development partners on the progress of government’s first phase of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) which ends this fiscal year.
The findings of the report, which were reviewed by a panel of international experts and supported by all key donors, indicate that over 200,000 households, equivalent to one million people, have emerged from poverty since 2006.
The same survey indicates that 45 percent of the country’s 10.7 million people remain under the poverty line compared to 57 percent five years ago.
According to the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, John Rwangombwa, the country outperformed its targets over the five years, but most importantly, the registered progress impacted more on rural households than their urban counterparts.
‘This means inequality has significantly reduced,” he said ahead of the launch.
As a result, the government has significantly revised its poverty reduction targets since it is outpacing its own Vision 2020 objectives as well as renewed targets in the EDPRS II.
“While it has been the shared dream of all Rwandans, few could have foreseen the speed with which the country is moving, from widespread poverty to development and prosperity.
“We are determined to redouble our efforts so that this progress continues unabated, Rwangombwa observed.
Also to be launched today is the fourth Demographic and Health Survey (DHS4) which indicates that infant and maternal mortality rates have declined by 41 and 35 percent respectively.
The survey further indicates double growth in secondary school enrolment – among other achievements – since 2006; all attributed to home-grown solutions with programmes such as Mutuelle de Sante, Nine-Year Basic Education and Once Cow per Family programmes playing a vital role.
“Beyond poverty reduction, Rwanda is exceeding targets across the board when it comes to Millennium Development Goals-including literacy, maternal health and child nutrition.
“But there is no doubt that the key precursor to success in these areas is the reduction, and eventual eradication, of economic deprivation,” Rwangombwa adds.
He noted that the country’s progress has been widely supported by donors despite the ongoing global recession, commending all developing partners for the resilient commitment to Rwanda.
“We share the satisfaction from these outstanding results with our bilateral and multilateral partners.
“Working closely with our development partners, Rwanda has proven that effective, well targeted development assistance can deliver profound improvements in the lives of millions in just a few years,” Rwangombwa observed.
Clementine Muhawenimana, who owns a stand in Kimironko market, agreed that poverty reduced but things are more expensive than three or four years ago.
“Poverty can not decline to 100 percent but its decline is noticeable, however, life is still expensive and difficult,” she said.
“One kilogramme of potatoes increased to Rwf 200 from Rwf 60 in 2006, though people can still afford a meal, its digging deeper into their pockets”.
Muhawenimana said she finds it difficult to feed a family of seven from her Rwf 30,000 profit per month generated from Rwf 150,000 investments in fruits and vegetables.
Contact email: Edmund.kagire[at]newtimes.co.rw, Gertrude.majyambere[at]newtimes.co.rw