Development aid funds crucial sectors

Since 2002, the Development Partners Coordination Group (DPCG) has convened regularly to check the progress of aid in the development of Rwanda, these meetings are held on a monthly basis.

Since 2002, the Development Partners Coordination Group (DPCG) has convened regularly to check the progress of aid in the development of Rwanda, these meetings are held on a monthly basis.

Several stakeholders are invited to attend these meetings for example on top of the heads of bilateral and multilateral organisations, Finance and Economic Planning ministry (MINECOFIN) representatives, and also other Government of Rwanda ministries as well as members of civil society and the private sector also attend.

This has ensured that donor aid to Rwanda has been appropriately used minimising any avenues of corruption and mismanagement.

The DPCG has proved to be an increasingly effective forum for information exchange and the monitoring of processes or commitments undertaken by development partners.

Although the extent to which the DPCG has achieved its mission is difficult to quantify, the Rwandan government and donors have regarded its operations as a success.

As for the Budget Support and Harmonisation Group (BSHG), two Joint Budget Support Reviews were successfully held in 2005 and have set a positive precedent for coming years.

In 2005, the Harmonisation and Alignment in Rwanda of Projects and Programmes (HARPP) partnership framework remained as a draft, and the activities foreseen were carried forward by the DPCG Secretariat.

However, due to lack of involvement by the government and donors, a decision was carried out to dismantle the group in early 2006.

Complications in the an Aid Coordination, Harmonisation, and Alignment (ACHA) process come either when there is no real policy to align to, or where the policy planning has become more complex and detailed.

Increasing complexity involves more negotiation over support to the sector since projects and programmes need to find it fit with government priorities.

ACHA processes are successful when the following are in place: The sector is coherent and is predominately the responsibility of a single line ministry. Education and to a less extent health are examples of such sectors which are dominated by service delivery.

This means that there are less problems of coordination on the government side. At the other extreme are sectors such as Decentralization and Rural Development and HIV/Aids, which require the coordination of a whole range of government agencies.

There is a proper coordination system within the government as regards leadership, development strategic plan, budget support, donors and time which are internalised within the respective ministry and donor agency.

It is important that government policies and interventions seek to strengthen the processes of inclusion rather than that of exclusion and divergence. The issue of insider and outsider groups is really a matter of managing the process of aid harmonisation.

Common concersn mentioned by donors involved lack of sharing information on projects and on project negotiations with government of Rwanda. In particular, several donors had issues with large project funds cutting across existing sectors and clusters that were attempting to harmonise their efforts without any consultation.

This undermines current harmonisation efforts and also confidence in the process. The clusters could act as a means whereby additional efforts are harmonised, but this relies on more effective leadership from the government.

There is a need to improve aid effectiveness through constructive and efficient relationships between the government and development partners. All partners must reflect and act upon the global recognition that funds must not only be increased, but allocated more effectively.

Currently, some 45 per cent of the government finances come from Development partners. Moreover, these funds come tied with varying conditions and at various times depending on the donor’s financial year and budget cycle.

Bilateral and multilateral donors each have their own priorities, often determined at headquarters and capitals rather than on the ground in Rwanda.

Moreover, each of them frequently have conditionalities, be they political or macro-economic. They often have different national and institutional budget cycles, to which they try to apply their respective conditions, thus making it difficult for the government to operate on a smooth and planned basis.

At the same time, donors interested in supporting the development of the country are often faced with lack of clarity regarding the most effective ways they can contribute.

The implementation of Rwanda Aid Policy on the government and Donor sides will maximize aid effectiveness, by tackling the following issues:

Capacity constraints on the part of Government combined with a lack of clear procedures and process for aid management;

Unpredictable aid from donors, making it difficult for the Government to plan effectively;

High transaction costs associated with some type of aid;

Inadequate information on aid flows from donors and implementation units, hindering effective planning and policymaking;

Poor alignment of aid to government of Rwanda priorities.



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