Rwanda officially joined the East African Community (EAC), in July 2007, an enthusiastic member, currently harmonising her policies and processes in line with those of her sister countries. Among the various areas of cooperation is the alignment of the budget calendar to that of other EAC member states.
Rwanda, also boasts of the highest number of women in parliament at 56.26 percent. In a recent mini budget, allocations were made according to the four sectors of the Economic Development Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS).
Governance and Sovereignty had the highest budget allocation of 36 percent; Human Development and Social Sectors with 32 percent while Infrastructure and Productive Capacities had 24 percent and 8 percent respectively.
In line with the above policy objectives (gender and economy), no wonder that yesterday, at Serena Hotel; a Gender Responsive Budget Programme was launched.
Rwanda’s vision to lead a strong economic block comes with a passionate commitment to women’s empowerment. You cannot be strong in a region and have poor struggling women and children under your care, thus Rwanda is now fighting against the feminisation of poverty.
Globally, traditionally, women and their needs have been left out of budgeting processes, meaning that their empowerment has not been a priority to budget for.
Rwanda in her drive to achieve the very noble cause of 50-50 percent gender equality has joined the few countries internationally, that agree, women’s empowerment, starts where the money is national budgets.
The Gender Responsive Budget Programme is expected to ensure that gender is incorporated into the national planning and budgeting processes at every level of government.
Gone are the days when national budgets meant spending on trivialities, this time, the focus will be on the needs of women, the family, our children and their education.
Let us spend more on health care, education and other social services, if the high female parliamentary representation is to translate into a real success story for Rwanda.