Economy takes centre stage in 2nd day of retreat

RUBAVU - The ongoing National Leadership Retreat going on in the Western Province has vowed to put more emphasis on value addition in agriculture to achieve economic growth. According to Information Minister and government spokesperson, the leaders, during their second day of the week-long meeting, resolved to focus on strategic areas where ‘quick wins’ can be made to transform the economy. Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, during an interview yesterday said that despite the economic growth the country registered last year, much remains to be done.
Some of the government officials taking part in the Retreat.
Some of the government officials taking part in the Retreat.

RUBAVU - The ongoing National Leadership Retreat going on in the Western Province has vowed to put more emphasis on value addition in agriculture to achieve economic growth.

According to Information Minister and government spokesperson, the leaders, during their second day of the week-long meeting, resolved to focus on strategic areas where ‘quick wins’ can be made to transform the economy.

Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, during an interview yesterday said that despite the economic growth the country registered last year, much remains to be done.

The country last year grew by 11.2 percent despite earlier projection of an 8.5 percent growth, with a major boost in the agriculture sector which grew at 15 percent against the previous year’s 0.7 percent.

She emphasised that manufacturing and value addition of agricultural and mineral production would be the prime focus, saying that the manufacturing industry actually declined and there was very little value addition on major commodities.

“We will be focusing on coordinating better within government to make sure that the value chain is not broken for key industries like agro processing, mining and construction…specific actions will be taken between June and December this year to this effect,” she said.

The retreat, which is the sixth of its kind, opened Monday at the Kivu Serena Hotel in Rubavu District and has brought together over 200 senior government officials under the chairmanship of President Paul Kagame.

The theme of this year’s Retreat is ‘Beyond Aid: Mindset for Delivery and Development.’

Mushikiwabo added that the leaders resolved to increase both domestic and foreign investment in order to build a competitive economy, despite the achievements of the previous year.

“We have done fairly well in attracting investors but we need to work on “after care” in order to keep them in Rwanda – with RDB leading the way but supported by all branches of government,” she stressed.

The Private Sector Federation, through its Secretary General Emmanuel Hategeka, pledged to collaborate with the government  in tackling some of the barriers to sustainable development.

Hategeka, said during an interview that with efforts from both government and the Private sector, they would embark on easing access to finance, expand vocational training, provide business development services and continue to support the development of entrepreneurial spirit.

He added that having in place quality customer services was equally important as it has direct impact on the objectives.

“This is something that we all have to learn because we don’t always understand the link,” he noted.

Hategeka pointed out that the most important aspects on which they would immediately embark are vocational, formal and on-the-job training, and a public campaign to change mindsets and behaviour.

The Retreat is slated to end on Friday.

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