The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved US$70 million (about Rwf47.2bn) in grants to help Rwanda expand and manage its social protection system.
The money is the third batch of a series of the bank’s grants programs for Rwanda that will be used to expand and strengthen the country’s social protection system, which protects the most vulnerable people against the worst effects of poverty.
It will partly be used to support Rwanda’s flagship social safety net, the Vision 2020 Umurenge program (VUP), which mainly consists of cash transfers and public works employment for the poor and now covers close to a million people.
The World Bank Country Manager, Carolyn Turk, said “the new grant will strengthen the national social protection system so that it becomes more efficient, reaches more people, and is flexible in times of crisis”.
“The (Rwandan) government has used social protection programs very effectively over the past decade and is now pursuing an even more ambitious goal—to reduce extreme poverty to 9 percent by 2018,” she said in a release to announce the approval of the funding.
With support from the WB and other development partners, Rwanda has reduced extreme poverty dramatically in recent years, from 40 percent in 2001 to 24 percent in 2011.
The country’s Minister of Local Government, James Musoni, said that everybody should benefit equally from Rwanda’s economic growth.
“Targeting vulnerable families and persons with disabilities or elderly people makes our growth more inclusive and will help us reach our vision of becoming a middle income country by 2020,” he said.
Officials said the new grant would help to strengthen management capacity and monitoring systems, make social protection more responsive to natural disasters, and expand coverage to greater numbers of poor regions and people.