As President Paul Kagame recently pointed out during the Development Partners meeting last month, investment in Rwanda’s infrastructural sector will greatly increase movement of goods and services especially agricultural produce which will spur Rwanda’s economy development in the long run.
The overall objective of infrastructure sector as outlined in the EDPRS is to improve living conditions of Rwandan population through economic infrastructure sustainable development across the country. It targets to improve the performance of the transport, ICT, energy, the construction industries.
Efforts in improving national road system have greatly improved public transport and continued movement of goods and services across all parts of the country. Many roads have been rehabilitated and many new ones are being constructed.
However, it is somehow difficult to express in figures information available at national level in terms of general status of road network, access to transport services and transport costs. Newly constructed and rehabilitated road maintenance-related issues require more important resources and will be in principle met through the increase of Road Maintenance revenue
Rural transport links continue to be among districts’ high priorities and are of paramount importance to increase access to markets and more generally to support a national export promotion strategy. However, rural road-related responsibilities having been decentralised, information at district level need to be collected.
At regional level, efforts to open up the country have been undertaken to improve competitiveness of Rwandan enterprises in COMESA region. These include commissioning of feasibility studies for Isaka - Kigali Railway line and the construction of Bugesera International Airport, studies on the rehabilitation of trunk roads of the Central Corridor (Kayonza-Rusumo , Butare -Cyangugu to Kigali -Ruhengeri -Gisenyi,), and North Corridor (Kigali- Gatuna), execution of rehabilitation works of Kigali - Kayonza and Gitarama- Butare –Akanyaru trunk roads and finally those of Kampala – Kigali pipeline.
Electricity shortages faced in 2004 were the accumulation of thirty years of poor investment in Energy sector.
The implementation of an emergency electricity action plan led to the ease of shortages through thermal power though high electricity costs are a heavy burden for consumers and enterprises. However, works are underway to make the methane gas project in Lake Kivu productive in long run; which should result in high increase in total quantity of electricity produced at lower costs.
Promotion of competition in Telecommunication sector which was the PRSP original priority action has been timely carried out while adopting the law relating to the liberalisation of the sector.
Achievements linked to the adoption of this law are the following:
Licensing of Mobile phone services to TERRACOM (now Rwandatel) after MTN
Licensing of internet services to MTN after TERRACOM, ARTEL et MEDIAPOST
However, such measures being taken with a slight delay (2005), impact on decrease in communication costs is still unclear.
Substantial progress was made over the last year in ICT area. While ICT sub sector is in its early stages represents a relatively small part of national production, there is evidence of a rapid growth. The support of Government for ICT development resulted in connecting government buildings in Kigali to fibre optics. The network is under expansion towards other towns.
Today, there are no reliable data on ICT impact on poverty reduction especially in rural areas.
Urban development and Housing
Urban Development and Housing sub sector contributes to socio-economic development of the country (services, jobs, industries etc.) and especially to poverty reduction; but it was not ranked among priorities during the elaboration of PRSP1. The focus was on less costly accommodation development and promotion of infrastructure in Imidugudu. This policy shows no tangible results in housing and urbanisation — allocated funds remained insufficient.
The housing sub sector influences peoples’ incomes since 30 per cent of funds allocated to construction benefit the workforce.
Sustainable weather management
Given geophysical features of our country, weather sub sector is the pillar of sustainable development. Poverty reduction policy, however, did not give tangible results since on one hand, the sub sector was ignored during the elaboration of this policy and technical staff and equipment for weather data collection and analysis remained inadequate on the other. However, some actions such as weather equipment acquisition were carried out for 8 synoptic stations and weather data availed upon request by national and international institutions, NGO’s, Universities, Researchers and other individuals.