President Paul Kagame hailed the Global Fund for adopting a partnership model based on cooperation, accountability and approaches that are flexible, innovative in addressing global challenges.
The President made the remarks during the official opening of the 37th Global Fund Board meeting in Kigali yesterday.
The Global Fund is an international financing organisation that aims to attract and disburse additional resources to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Kagame said there are multiple lessons to borrow from the Global Fund’s model and success over the years, which has been possibly one of the most consequential and effective development partnership in Rwanda’s history.
Among the models used by the organisation that can be emulated, Kagame said, is innovation and developing new ways of doing business as well as flexibility to do the right things well.
“There are important lessons that we can draw from this success, the fund was itself an innovation and a fundamentally new way of doing business. Building on that, there is the spirit to do the right thing and flexibility to do the right things well. Let’s not take this for granted,” he said.
“After all, it is quite easy to waste billions of dollars by continuing to spend money year in and year out whether there are any results to show for it or not.”
Kagame said, by emulating such approaches, it will be possible to reduce instances of wasteful expenditure by development programmes.
“We see examples all over whether in development programmes or peace and security efforts in our region and beyond, we can see a lot of money flowing, a lot of activities but you can hardly match the results. If the philosophy behind the Global Fund’s achievements is applied to other global problems, our world would be a better place,” the President said.
He said it was not an accident that Rwanda’s biggest health-related gains were at a time when the Fund was scaling up its operations, noting that partnership with the Fund had greatly facilitated the development of Rwanda’s health sector.
Before and during the partnership of the two parties, Kagame said, Global Fund took time to understand the health system that Rwanda was setting up and went on to support it.
The milestones and achievements of the two partners include increasing the number of HIV-positive persons on antiretroviral treatment, getting on track to eliminate mother-to-child transmission and significant reduction of malaria and tuberculosis-related deaths.
“Together, these factors have added almost 20 years to the life expectancy of the average Rwandan,” Kagame said.
Kagame said, going forward, the world can only deal with challenges in the health sector by strengthening systems as opposed to circumventing them.
The board members have visited many projects that they support in the country.
Norbert Hauser, the chair of the board, said they had decided to hold their meeting in Kigali to get a direct impression of their work in the country and learn lessons on the achievements so far.
He said, so far, partnership with Rwanda had been successful and there were lessons to be emulated from Rwanda by countries across the continent and beyond.
Among the areas where Rwanda was doing well, Hauser said, was government-led investments in the health sector and efforts to rely less on donors.
Health minister Diane Gashumba said the partnership has mainly focused on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria but the support has also gone into achievement of health-related Millennium Development Goals.
The partnership between Rwanda and the Global Fund dates back to 2003.