The Director General for Country Programmes in the Department for International Development (DFID); Mark Lowcock, and Nike’s Director, Maria Eitel, arrived in Rwanda yesterday, where they will spend three days assessing the country’s progress and its challenges, officials in DFID have said.
In an email to The New Times, the DFID Communications Manager, Serge Wiclef, said that Lowcock, together with Pichet Kampeta Sayinzoga, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, will today launch the new and innovative Access to Finance Rwanda programme.
The programme is expected to improve the livelihoods of over 500,000 poor people via supporting access to better financial products and services.
Lowcock and Eitel are also expected to meet President Paul Kagame and brief him on DFID and Nike Foundation’s efforts to promote the impact of adolescent girls across the world. They will also seek his advice and to explore the possibility of work in Rwanda.
A visit to two DFID-funded programmes is envisaged, including the Land Tenure Regularisation Programme and the Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme to see for themselves what is being achieved on the ground through the UK and Government of Rwanda (GoR) partnership.
Tomorrow they will be the National Electoral Commission to discuss election preparations and DFID support to the Electoral Commission, and the Police Gender Desk to see the Rwandan model for enforcing laws protecting girls and women.
Lowcock is one of the five executives on the DFID Management Board. He was appointed Director General, Country Programmes in April 2008 and is responsible for DFID’s programmes in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Latin America.
The UK’s bilateral programme has provided over £400 million to Rwanda during the past 10 years. The UK currently provides bilateral assistance totalling £46 million each year, of which £31 million is provided as direct support to the budget.