South Sudanese seek to emulate Rwanda's home-grown initiatives

A visiting delegation from South Sudan has picked some interest in Rwanda’s homegrown initiatives, a mechanism they said could be practical in their country.
Public Service minister Judith Uwizeye (R) chats with her South Sudanese counterpart Ngor during their meeting yesterday. (John Mbanda)
Public Service minister Judith Uwizeye (R) chats with her South Sudanese counterpart Ngor during their meeting yesterday. (John Mbanda)

A visiting delegation from South Sudan has picked some interest in Rwanda’s homegrown initiatives, a mechanism they said could be practical in their country.

The group, that is on a study tour, is made up of seven cabinet ministers, members of the National Assembly and representatives of government parastatals. They are set to meet their respective counterparts and conduct field visits.

During their visit to the Ministry of Public Service and Labour, yesterday, the delegation expressed enthusiasm in learning more about Rwanda’s strategies of economic recovery and reconciliation after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service and Labour, Samuel Mulindwa, told the delegation that one of the major strategies was the use of homegrown initiatives that have since paid off.

Homegrown initiatives have been recognised as some of the best practices in addressing Rwanda’s development challenges, including lifting many from poverty.

“Rwanda has registered tremendous progress in the socio-economic transformation, mainly due to citizens engagement with policy makers through the use of homegrown initiatives,” Mulindwa said.

Such initiatives include Ubudehe (social stratification), community work (Umuganda), performance contracts (Imihigo) and One Cow per Poor Family (Girinka), the National Dialogue (Umushyikirano) and the Leadership Retreat (Umwiherero) among others.

Ngor Kolong Ngor, the Sudanese minister for public service, said his country takes Rwanda as a case study considering that the two countries share similar history and Rwanda has managed to quickly recover and prosper.

“You will be seeing many of us coming here frequently, we want to learn more about Rwanda and the strategies used for the country to be where it is,” Ngor said.

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Members of the South Sudan delegation listen to a presentation by the permanent secretary Samuel Mulindwa (L) yesterday. (John Mbanda)

Ngor’s views were backed by the minister for transport, roads and bridges, Kwong Danhier Gatluak, who spoke highly of Rwanda’s homegrown initiatives, singling out Gacaca courts of which he said his country is eager to learn much from.

“We need reconciliation and unity lessons, we have citizens who stayed in our homeland and were subjected to terrible brutality, we also have those who fought during the liberation war, and another group that was in the Diaspora. We need to unite all these people,” Gatluak said.

He said 90 per cent of South Sudan citizens speak Arabic yet the country is transforming to English and wants to pick a leaf from Rwanda, mainly on how the country managed to integrate English in what was purely a French speaking system.

Julius Moilinga, the chairperson of the public service committee at the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, said Rwanda was a big challenge to African nations in terms of transformation.

“We are not here to just see, we want to emulate Rwanda,” he said.

The delegation is in the country for a week and will be jointly visiting coordination institutions like the Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Finance and Rwanda Development Board before they are split into groups where each group will be visiting specific institutions.

The South Sudanese entourage also includes ministers for cabinet affairs; youth, sports and culture; land, housing and physical infrastructure; telecommunications and postal service; and environment.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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