At least 250 top government officials begin the 11th Annual Leadership Retreat today during which they will discuss ‘accountable governance’ as a key approach for the implementation of the country’s second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRSII).
For three days, under the guidance of President Paul Kagame, members of Cabinet, ambassadors, governors, mayors, heads of key government agencies, senior members of the legislature and judiciary, and representatives of the private sector, will be behind closed doors at RDF Combat Training Centre, Gabiro, in Eastern Province.
A statement from the Government Communications office indicates that this year’s retreat is expected to provide an opportunity for the leaders to talk about their accountability to the people, reflect on the country’s progress and forge common solutions that will ensure improved delivery of services to Rwandans.
“The retreat will discuss the role of education, governance, and private sector as key to achieving EDPRS2 and Vision 2020. The interactive discussions will begin with panels discussing improving the quality of basic education, improving planning, coordination and service delivery as well as mechanisms to accelerate private sector growth,” the release said.
There was a sense of excitement as leaders carried their luggage and boarded buses yesterday from the Prime Minister’s office in Kigali to head to Gabiro.
For Dr Charles Murigande, the Rwandan ambassador to Japan, the retreat is good platfor to assess what government has been doing for a year and the most pressing issues to work on in the future.
“We can’t get all the answers for all the issues at once but we need to know and agree on what can be the priorities,” he told The New Times.
Under the EDPRS 2 (2013 to 2018), Rwanda targets 11.5 per cent annual growth rate with significant investments focusing around rural development, productivity, youth employment, and accountable governance, among other key pillars of the blueprint.
The plan is set to deliver the country to middle income economy, and this will require GDP per capita to increase from the current $644 to $1,240.
Dr Vincent Biruta, the minister for Education, said the retreat will also look into how to improve the quality of education because the sector is one of the most important for drivers of development.
“There are many issues in the education sector but let’s say that there are issues of quality. When we refer to quality we are referring to the learners themselves, the teachers, content, processes, environment, and how we will measure the outcomes of our education system,” he said.
MP Constance Mukayuhi Rwaka, the chairperson of the parliamentary Committee on National Budget and Patrimony, said most of the discussions will be about improving governance.
Last year’s retreat ended with renewed resolve to focus on improving the energy sector, transport services, urbanisation, and vocational and technical training to fast-track the country’s development in the next five years.