The Government of Rwanda today signed six agreements with the World Bank (WB) which will see the bank finance various government programs to the tune of $120.3 million.
The signing ceremony for the funds, which will go mainly to the agriculture and energy sectors, took place yesterday at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
World Bank Country Managerm Mimi Ladipo, who appreciated the government for good planning and resource management, signed on behalf of the Bank while Finance Minister John Rwangombwa represented the government.
Close to $70m of the signed money will finance the Electricity Access Scale-up and Sector-Wide Approach Development Project which is aimed at increasing the national electricity access to households to 16 percent by 2012 and at least 50 percent access by public institutions in the education and health sectors as well as local government.
The project is jointly financed by USAID, JICA and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Also entailed in the agreement is the $8.3m Sustainable Energy Development Project funded by GET and Africa Renewable Energy Access (AFREA).
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the State Minister for Energy, Collette Uwineza Ruhamya, said that the two grants will be crucial in supporting government plans to expand and extend the national grid, as well as development plans.
“The contribution of the World Bank towards the electricity access programme will allow us to add 100,000 new connections to the grid and to expand our transmission and distribution network.”
Ruhamya said that the biggest chunk will go into purchasing equipment to facilitate the rollout.
The WB also availed $34 million towards the 4-year Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting, and Hillside Irrigation Project which is expected to be implemented at a total cost of $200m.
The money secured by the Government last year, will be used to expand farming land through terracing, erosion control and small scale irrigation on the abundant hilly land used for farming.
According to Agriculture Minister Agnes Kalibata, the donor-funded $200 million project to irrigate about 12,000 hectares of land and terrace more 20,000 hectares of hillside marginal land will help boost agriculture production as well as food security.
“This project was designed in 2009 and it looks at how we can increase productivity at the hillside. The World Bank has been supporting us in other areas but it is the first time we are receiving support towards water holding capacity and irrigation possibilities on hillsides.”
The money will employ “a watershed approach to introduce sustainable land husbandry measures for hillside agriculture on selected sites and will develop hillside irrigation for sub-sections of each site”, the Bank said in a statement.
Another agreement signed will see WB provide $8m to the on-going 2nd phase of demobilizing members of armed groups of Rwandan origin and members of the Rwandan Defence Forces.
The project targets demobilizing an estimated 5,500 members of armed groups, 4,000 RDF soldiers and provide reinsertion support for those demobilized along with approximately 10,000 family members of armed groups.
Other agreements include the Public Sector Capacity Building Project which will see the WB contribute $6m to the Public Financial Management (PFM) Reform Strategy Basket Fund.
The $20m basket fund is aimed at building human resource capacity and putting in place modern effective systems and procedures for financial management. It will jointly be funded by the government and donors.
Rwangombwa commended the WB’s consistent support for the country’s development plans and pledged the government’s commitment to use the resources to attain the desired goals.
“The World Bank is one of our key partners in the struggle to eradicate poverty and develop the country. This is just some of the support it gives us, but the biggest support we get from the bank comes through the general budget support,”
On her part Ladipo said that the Bank will continue supporting the country’s development plans as long as the government continues to display high levels of effectiveness as it is today.