FEATURED: JICA’s role in driving robust development in Rwanda

A JICA volunteer and local residents using hand pump that was rehabilitated by by the JICA

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has 27 representative offices in Africa and is active in 49 countries of Africa.

The agency with its various schemes of cooperation such as grant aid, technical cooperation, Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) loan, Japanese volunteers, Public-Private-Partnership and others,


JICA is one of the largest worldwide in the field of cooperation. JICA reopened its Rwandan office in 2005


making it one of the youngest cooperation that started sometime after the 1994 Genocide against the



“Here in Rwanda we cooperate in priority areas such as economic infrastructure, agriculture, value chain, water and sanitation and education” says Takada.

Here in Rwanda they have more than twenty ongoing projects.

JICA supports the resolution of issues in Rwanda through a flexible combination of various types of assistance methods which makes them unique.

Under the Economic Infrastructure sector, JICA focuses on the transport and the energy projects.

Germaine KAMAYIRESE Minister of State in charge of Energy, Water and Sanitation, His Excellency Mr.Takayuki MIYASHITA Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda, and Mr. Hiroyuki TAKADA Chief Representative ofJICA Rwanda together with a Parliamentary Delegation of the House of Councilors of Japan.

Through its strategy Japan supports the establishment of foundations for sustainable economic growth associated with private sector development. It assists Rwanda’s efforts for regional integration such as the development of international corridors within the EAC and have a stable and reliable power supply for economic development.

In March 2018, an ODA loan of $68m (about Frw58billion) toward upgrading the Ngoma -Ramiro road in Eastern Province was agreed. In the same vein, JICA together with other development partners namely European Union and African Development Bank rehabilitated the Rusumo-Kayonza Road (6.889 Billion JPY). That way, it contributes to betterment of people’s life by facilitating social facilities such as border markets, milk collection centers, and boreholes.

In the energy sector, JICA contributes to the improvement of substation and distribution lines. A recently completed phase 2 has seen the construction of Ndera substation with a 110kV transmission line and 15kV distribution lines at a cost of 2,219 m JPY, supplying the Kigali Special Economic Zone and the rest of the city. In the third phase, serving Kigali and eastern province, a new substation with 110kV transmission line and 15kV distribution lines is expected to start soon and be completed in 2020 at a cost of $22m.

In agriculture sector, Japan provides assistance in improving profitability through the development of better agricultural production infrastructures. This is done without forgetting market-oriented agriculture focusing on the development of comprehensive value chain which was launched in 2014.

The five year project aimed at persuading farmers to shift their traditional mindset of “Grow and Sell” to the “Grow to sell” basing their strategy on market information, demand and price trends.

JICA with a Japan Grant Aid bank rolled an Irrigation Project in Remera and Rurenge sectors, in Ngoma District, Rubona, Kigabiro and Munyaga sectors, in Rwamagana District. The irrigation scheme has a total command area of 470 ha, idest 265 ha of hillside and 205ha of marshland, and local farmers from the above-mentioned sectors will be the beneficiaries.

JICA is also supporting NAEB through Coffee Upgrade and Promotion Project (CUP), a three years technical cooperation project formulated to improve a number of areas in coffee sector; one of them is the formulation of an effective system to monitor, coordinate, manage, and regulate the coffee sector throughout the value chain.

President Kagame meets with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) President Shinichi Kitaoka in Tokyo, Japan 8 January 2019

The project also tackles bottlenecks in the coffee value chain in the same line with producers, processors, exporters and logistics including training Baristas in order to promote Rwandan coffee’s marketability.

JICA also provides comprehensive assistance in the water and sanitation sector from urban to rural and construction to operation, maintenance and management capacity development.

In rural area eastern Province is particularly focused because due to its water scarcity. From 2006 until 2017 JICA has developed total of 18 water supply schemes providing safe drinking water to more than 131,000 people in the eastern region.

For sustainable management of water facilities JICA also provides technical cooperation on building capacity of operation and maintenance in rural water supply systems which includes developing national guidelines of rural water supply.

In urban area, JICA implements the project for strengthening Non –revenue water control in City of Kigali which aims to reduce the loss of water produced but un-billed, with a five year strategic plan reduce the loss of water. Furthermore, a project for strengthening Nzove Ntora principal water transmission pipeline in City of Kigali has been launched on January 9th, 2019.

Recently, JICA and the Japanese Government recognized that the role of private sector is increasingly important and that the Government through JICA should be a catalyst for the private sector partnership towards socio-economic development.

“It is really aligned with the idea of the president of Rwanda president Kagame who has said at various occasions that the private sector should be the engine of national development and that the Government role should be the catalyst.

So that is really the same idea of JICA’s cooperation policy philosophy” stated, Takada.

JICA collaborates with the Japanese private sector, which possesses technological and human resources in various fields that may assist in fulfilling societal needs and have a positive impact on the social welfare on the partner countries.

It is in this frame that JICA through SAKURA-SHA a Japanese Technologies company in October 2018 officially launched the joint collaboration.

The program is called ‘Interactive Mathematics (IM), and is being implemented jointly by REB and the Sakura-Sha, a Japanese leading ICT solution provider for education.’

Sakura had conducted a feasibility survey in 2016 and found that the lack of effective educational software content was one of the challenges to effectively transform mathematics education.

SAKURA Company Introducing “Interactive Mathematics” Software for Primary education via a primary school teacher.

According to the project advisor Matsuyama Masanobu, it will be started on a pilot basis in schools in the City of Kigali before being expanded to other schools in the countryside.

Under the Human Resources Development for Sustaining Country Growth strategy education strategy, JICA supports education and training institutes as well as academic-industrial alliance. It is in line with a Government of Rwanda’s initiative to strengthen science and technology education, which is essential to realize a knowledge-based economy.

In the field of human resource development for private sector development, the Japanese government has been offering opportunies to study master’s degree in Japan since 2013. In the last five years, under African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE Initiative), over 1,200 African future leaders, including 41 from Rwanda, have

been dispatched to Japan to pursue their masters’ degrees in various domains.

Charles Mutabazi an ABE Initiative alumnus who came back, today works with WiredIn, a software development

company that has clients in Japan.

In 2014, Mutabazi was chosen under the initiative and mastered in Information Systems in Japan. He says the program has a huge impact on the development of the country.

“In spite of us acquiring knowledge in Japan, many Japanese companies have already set up shop here in Rwanda because of the ABE initiative and many of us have already started implementing the knowledge acquired from the Asian country known for advancement in technology” says Mutabazi.

JICA Rice Expert under Smallholder Market Oriented Agriculture Project  supervising beneficiaries

Still under the education sector, JICA launched a project for strengthening the capacity of Tumba College of Technology Japan’s contribution towards IPRC Tumba dates back to the early 1990’s, when most of the school’s facilities were built through a Japanese grant aid project amounting to USD 17 million.

In addition to providing the school with equipment including ICT and other worth USD 3 million, JICA assisted in establishing the school management system, and provided the instructors with training opportunities in both Rwanda and Japan.

For the sake of strengthening ICT innovation ecosystem in Rwanda, the GoR and JICA embarked on a scale-up project. The project aims at accomplishing “ICT Innovation Ecosystem in Rwanda is systematically enhanced to supplement the realization of Smart Rwanda Master Plan” Which intends to make Rwanda an ICT Innovation hub for the continent. The project launched 250Startup initiatives with GoR and ICT Chamber to accelerate ICT startup growth.

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