Statistics a measure for balanced growth

As many countries try to increase their economic growth efforts by adopting economic policies that can stimulate growth in various sectors of their respective economies, challenges resulting from climatic changes, conflicts and increased population growth are becoming increasingly invisible to many policy makers.
These poor rural dwellers must be the focus of any economic growth projections. They must enjoy the fruits of Rwanda’s economic miracle.
These poor rural dwellers must be the focus of any economic growth projections. They must enjoy the fruits of Rwanda’s economic miracle.

As many countries try to increase their economic growth efforts by adopting economic policies that can stimulate growth in various sectors of their respective economies, challenges resulting from climatic changes, conflicts and increased population growth are becoming increasingly invisible to many policy makers.

Given the difference in wealth endowment, location and historical background that exist among countries, harmonisation of economic approaches in a bid to find a common ground through both regional integration and cooperation to surpass such obstacles are still futile due to varying economic characteristics of an economy to the other.

However effectiveness of any chosen approach needs specialised statistics measurement tools for specific indicators that form a back bone in those sectors considered important in stimulating growth according to national prioritisation processes.

Many development economists have proposed various approaches to stimulate growth where some identified a few sectors considered essential in boosting economic growth which include agriculture and the service sectors.

They suggested that when such sectors are boosted in the areas each of which considered having the most comparative advantage, with time each sector boosts the economy of the region in which it was developed and the effects trickle down to affect the whole economy.

Developing countries have experienced years of political turmoil which affected the pattern of economic growth due to investments in non productive projects like buying of heavy fire arms, insecurity, donor influence in investment choices etc.

Today these countries are trying to catch up with the developed ones; however stakes are still very high due to challenges related to economic factors that affect the two worlds in varying proportions.

Besides wars, lack of qualified personnel, these countries  are faced with aid dependency from developed countries which has affected prioritisation processes in terms of investments and this in turn has led to macroeconomic policies whose impact do not trickle down to benefit the poor.

While at times such policies have a positive impact on a macro level where most of the country’s economic indicators like increased GDP, consumption and GDP per capita which in actual sense are the fundamentals in the measurement of a country’s economic standing compared to others, one should question the proportion of a country’s population that is really engaged in production processes.

This would help in the identification of vulnerable groups whose contribution in terms of production to the national economic growth is quite dismal and negligible but whose production prospects quite promising, policies to benefit them could be structured and benefits shared which are the true economic growth stimulants that are pro poor. 

It is very important to understand that economic growth, alone, is not sufficient to bring about the necessary rise in the standard of living of the population.

Therefore to vanquish hunger and poverty, growth must be Pro-Poor, giving all people the chance to gain from the new economic opportunities.

Statistics besides being the only tool that measures a country’s economic growth, it can also help in the measurement of variations in the distribution of a country’s resources.

Such measurement approach would help in the identification of population economic characteristics so that formulation of economic policies could be oriented in closing economic gaps that exist among the identified classes.

This would promote peace and security among the local populations which are the key stimulants to investments which in turn enhances economic growth whose benefits are equitably distributed.

Rwanda being one of those countries whose economies are still struggling with a few resources to develop, has formulated through its vision of becoming one of the self sustainable and stable economies in the world both long and short term plans in which policies are to be implemented, monitored and evaluated.

Vision 2020 forms part of Rwanda’s long term aspirations along which it is expected the country to be transformed into a middle income economy by 2020 and this is built on seven pillars which are the pivotal bases on which the expected results are to be realised which include reconstruction of the nation and its social capital anchored on good governance underpinned by a capable state; Transformation of agriculture into a productive, high value, market oriented sector, with forward linkages to other sectors; Development of an efficient private sector spearheaded by competitiveness and entrepreneurship; Comprehensive human resources development, encompassing education, health, and ICT skills aimed at public sector, private sector and civil society to mention but a few, where per capita income is expected to rise from 290$ currently to 900$ which requires that the country’s annual economic growth rate increases to at least 7%.

For this to be achieved a medium term plan the EDPRS was developed from the long term plan to help in the prioritisation procedures for the big economic take off by 2012.

Though Rwanda has such admirable plans which go down even to attract the lowest local Rwandan peasants through the government’s democratisation and decentralisation policies which try to engage the local populations by ensuring political, economic, social, administrative and technical empowerment in order to fight poverty by participating in planning and management of their development process, a statistical base is needed to develop a strong monitoring and evaluation system which is the only tool that can help in the measurement of the pre determined economic performance indicators by comparing the bench mark indicators against the expected ones.

With such approach policy makers, implementers and beneficiaries of the projects will gain much insights which will enlighten them about the past experiences, retrieve some important lessons which in turn will improve future planning and decision making thereby enhancing production and productivity.

Rwanda being among those countries whose leaders take development issues at heart, should exploit this chance of having qualified statisticians in the country who can help in creating a national monitoring and evaluation system on various national projects and identify in time areas of concern for immediate remedial actions to be taken by both planners and implementers so that expected results are achieved with in the expected timeline.

With such measurement approaches, growth in various economic life of the Rwandan economy can be monitored and evaluated which would also enhance transparency and accountability of decision makers and development partners hence fulfilling Rwanda’s Vision 2020 which aspires for a modern, strong and united nation, proud of its fundamental values, politically stable and without discrimination amongst its citizens.

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