Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and First Lady Roman Tesfaye arrived in Kigali, yesterday, for a three-day state visit.
During his first day, premier Desalegn visited Ntebe Integrated Model Village in Rwamagana District in Eastern Province where he commended the use of this model to settle poor families in rural settings across the country.
Development of the Ntebe IDP model village began in 2008 with the first residents of the village settling in 2009. Currently it hosts 772 beneficiaries in 204 households.
The model villages, which were initially set up to host the most economically vulnerable members of the society are aimed at providing dignified housing, access to social amenities and government services, all the while ensuring that they can engage in economic activities.
While explaining the concept to the visiting Prime Minister, Judith Kazayire, the governor of Eastern Province, said that communities are the solution towards viable planned rural settlements.
She noted that the model brings together communities into one village, where they can work together in sectors such as agriculture and share yields and profits.
Under the model villages, they have access to social and education amenities such as schools, health centres, infrastructure (such as electricity), water and sanitation, among others.
Responding to Desalegn’s question on possible funding options for such a model, she said that the government had partnered with the local communities whereby, after providing land and materials, the citizens took on construction of the villages under the guidance of technical experts.
The Government’s target is to settle 70 per cent of the rural population using the model by 2020.
Speaking on the sidelines of the visit by the premier, the Minister for Local Government, Francis Kaboneka, said that his visit to Rwanda and to the rural village is part of efforts between the two countries to learn from each other and share skills for mutual benefits.
Kaboneka said that, during the visit by Premier Desalegn, there would be a number of joint partnership agreements signed to further boost cooperation between the two states.
The two countries have this week identified new areas of cooperation during the second Joint Permanent Commission (JPC), a technical level meeting involving experts from both countries which concluded in Kigali on Tuesday.
The new areas of partnerships include education, tourism and mutual legal assistance among others.