Reforms in the energy and agriculture sectors are crucial for the economic development of the country, the visiting European Commissioner for Development has said.
Andris Piebalgs said energy and agriculture sectors have the potential to create jobs, reduce poverty and boost economic development.
“Our 2014 to 2020 intention is to strengthen the country’s economic growth particularly in energy and agriculture sectors because we believe these are the key pillars for Rwanda’s economic development,” Piebalgs said.
The EU commissioner made the remarks yesterday after meeting with President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro, during which they discussed mechanisms of strengthening economic partnerships on the African continent while tapping into investment opportunities on both sides.
The two also discussed the forthcoming Europe Africa Summit in Brussels, Belgium, in April.
Piebalgs reaffirmed EU’s support for Rwanda’s economic development and announced a Euro 460 million grant for Rwanda for the period 2014-2020.
Funding pact signed
Earlier, Piebalgs signed a Euro 30 million (about Rwf28 billion) grant agreement with Rwanda towards government’s drive to eliminate malnutrition and sustainable agriculture.
The EU chief said Rwanda should take the lead in fighting malnutrition which has become a global problem.
“Malnutrition destroys human chances for development; it’s not only a moral problem but also an economic problem, therefore addressing it will improve the country’s gross domestic product per capita and steer the country towards economic sustainability.”
The funds will support Rwanda’s multi sector strategy to eliminate particularly chronic malnutrition and support sustainable agriculture and food security in the country, according to Finance minister Claver Gatete.
“Support in the energy, agriculture and infrastructure is crucial for Rwanda to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the European Union has always been supportive in supporting our quest for economic development,” Amb. Gatete said.
Reducing mortality rate
He said progress had been made toward reducing mortality rate and improving people’s standards of living.
Since 2009, under the 10th European Development Fund and Food Facility, the EU has approved about Euro 100 million to support sustainable agriculture and food security in Rwanda, and the amount is expected to double by 2020, according to Piebalgs.
The cash is also expected to provide complementary measures to ensure successful implementation of sector reforms, while strengthening government’s capacity to generate regular updates on nutrition security in the country.