KIGALI - Policy officials from Rwanda and South Korea have sealed an agreement that will see the Asian industrial powerhouse integrate its development model into Rwanda’s development programmes. According to the deal, signed by a senior official in the President’s Office, and a visiting Korean official, South Korea will help reform and strengthen Rwanda’s national polices in five key areas namely; industrial policy, investment and export promotion, human resource development, agriculture and energy.
“This project opens many opportunities for us to borrow Asian experience,” Dr David Himbara, the Head of Strategy and Policy in the President’s Office, said after signing the ‘Record of Discussion’ with the representative of Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Tanzania, Kwon-Hyoung Nam, yesterday at Village Urugwiro, Kacyiru.
The agreement is expected to come into force after high-level authorities from both governments have approved it. Nam said it will become effective in June this year.
Under the agreement, the government of South Korea will dispatch a team of five experts in a period spanning one year, who will jointly work with local policy-makers to scruitinise, modify and enrich the national development strategy, tailored towards shifting the country’s economy from agriculture to knowledge-based one.
The project, which will last for a whole year, will cost about $0.5 million (approx. Frw230m), and will be provided by the South Korean government.
“Rwanda is almost in the same situation we (Koreans) were in in 1960s and 70s. But we have put in place a strategy to help transform Rwanda’s economy from an agricultural society to knowledge-base,” Nam said.
He said the experts will be dispatched in phases, with a team leader staying in Rwanda for around half a year. Others will be staying for three months each, he said.
“It’s for the first time that Korea will officially be applying its development model in a developing country,” Nam told this reporter.
The deal is a culmination of an initiative some few years ago when the office of the Rwandan presidency requested Seoul to help build expertise in Rwanda, a decision which saw the first South Korean expert coming to Kigali in 2006 to prepare the ground for the arrangement.
“It is very important and meaningful for us to share with you the knowledge and experience of our country,” Nam, who led a five-member delegation, said. Dr Himbara said the arrangement will help develop the badly needed local expertise in planning, implementation and monitoring of development programmes in the country.
The move is the latest in a series of multi-pronged efforts by the Government of Rwanda to turn around an economy, largely dependent on agriculture, which itself, remains basically subsistence.