The private sector is at the centre of the National Strategy for Transformation, a seven-year roadmap that steer the country’s development.
This was highlighted by different leaders at the two-day National Dialogue Council, Umushyikirano, which has brought together over 2000 leaders from the public and private sector, as well as citizens.
Umushyikirano is an annually held event.
Speaking during a panel discussion, Clare Akamanzi, the chief executive officer of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said that as much as the country is trying to implement the National Strategy for Transformation, it is important that the private sector is put at the centre.
“We need private investors who can create jobs. Transformation is not a new journey, it is a journey that we already started but we should look for ways to consolidate what we have achieved so far,” she said.
Akamanzi added that job creation is one of the areas that can eventually help the country achieve rapid transformation, and that for this to be achieved, more efforts will be required in driving initiatives like Made in Rwanda, Start in Rwanda, as well as ‘Grow in Rwanda and Beyond’.
To understand the value of the private sector, Akamanzi who is also a member of cabinet, cited some of the examples of the private investments that are transforming some of the economic sectors. C&H Garments, a Chinese company operating in the country, for instance, she said, is currently employing nearly 1,700 people.
Similarly, she said the money that Japanese investors recently sunk in start-ups like HeHe and AC Group is almost equal to the amount of money that the government sold Umubano Hotel.
Uzziel Ndagijimana, the minister of state in charge of economic planning said that attracting private investments will help fast-track the country’s transformation.
“Private sector investments should increase, accompanied by increasing the savings rate. We are currently at 10.30 per cent savings rate, and to achieve the seven-year government programme we need to double this rate. This will require more awareness,” he said.
He said that there is an unprecedented potential in creating jobs for the youth, who make up the biggest part of the country, adding that the National Strategy for Transformation is a unique strategy which has come at a time when the country is embarking on a different vision, the Vision 2050.
Ndagijimana, however, highlighted education, especially in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as a key engine to fast track the country’s development.
“Vocational and training schools have proved that they are so critical in shaping our people, and preparing the students for job market. We need to focus on this as well,” he noted.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, who was on the same panel, said that to have sustainable transformation, citizens have been put at the heart of the programmes.
“You cannot do anything without giving value to the ordinary citizens. History has taught us that our citizens should be at the centre of whatever transformation we want to achieve,” she said.
She added that all this requires Rwandans to think “what we can lose if we don’t embark on this journey. It also requires us to be bold and risk-takers.”
The panel was moderated by Monique Nsanzabaganwa, the deputy governor of the National Bank of Rwanda.