UK Minister impressed by Rwanda’s progress

KIGALI - The UK Minister for International Development, Stephen O’Brien, yesterday congratulated the government for overcoming all odds to emerge at the top, despite the Genocide against the Tutsi that took place 16 years ago.
Minister Stephen O’Brien (2nd R) with Nkurunziza , Joy Hutcheon Eastern & central Africa Director DFID yesterday.
Minister Stephen O’Brien (2nd R) with Nkurunziza , Joy Hutcheon Eastern & central Africa Director DFID yesterday.

KIGALI - The UK Minister for International Development, Stephen O’Brien, yesterday congratulated the government for overcoming all odds to emerge at the top, despite the Genocide against the Tutsi that took place 16 years ago.

Speaking to journalists after meeting and holding talks with Finance Minister John Rwangombwa, O’Brien said that he was impressed by Rwanda’s optimism as it battles developmental challenges every day.

“It’s my first time to be in Rwanda and I am delighted to be here. We cannot deny that there are challenges, but I am really impressed by the sense of hope and optimism that Rwanda has demonstrated over the years,” he said
O’Brien arrived in the country yesterday on a two-day visit that saw him visit various DFID-funded programmes.

Upon arrival, he immediately paid a visit to the Land Tenure Regularisation Programme in Kinyinya Sector to witness the progress made and challenges remaining in the areas of land tenure, maternal health and social protection as a means towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

He told reporters that the programme will go a long way in resolving land disputes by letting families have full ownership of land, thereby giving them the confidence to use it in a more economical manner.

It is hoped that all Rwandans will be having land titles under one unified legal and administrative tenure system. All land will be centrally registered, each holder having legal title documents approved by the NLC and the Ministry of Natural Resources.

“I was impressed by the terraces and I am happy that we are very focused on delivering on MDGs because we are all world citizens. We are pleased to work with Rwanda on delivering this,” he said

Rwangombwa said that the British Minister had been updated on the general budget support and pointed out that he had been impressed by how the money was used in several projects.

O’Brien also travelled to Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP) site of Kigali Sector, where he experienced firsthand how VUP funds had helped raise the social status of the population.

He is today expected to meet and hold talks with President Paul Kagame as well as pay a visit to the Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre.

O’Brien was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development in May this year.
He is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Eddisbury, a seat to which he was elected in July 1999.

The Conservative Party has built strong relationships with the country over the years. Under Project Umubano, the conservatives send hundreds of volunteers every year to take part in various developmental activities as well as taking part in the monthly community work, Umuganda.

Project Umubano started in 2007 and has over 100 volunteers including MP’s who come on an annual two-week long volunteer programme which involves English teaching, supporting private sector projects, tourism, education, health, justice, sports and working with the Ministry of Finance on improving Public-Private Partnerships.

Last year they also built a community centre for Genocide survivors in Kinyinya.

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