The government and World Bank yesterday inked a deal worth $80 million (about Rwf67billion to support the country’s Social Protection System.
The concessional loan will notably be injected into Rwanda’s flagship Vision 2020 Umurenge Program (VUP), for targeted vulnerable groups.
According to Claver Gatete, the Minister for finance and economic planning, Strengthening Social Protection Project (SSPP) will help expand the coverage and improve the effectiveness of the VUP thus increasing the number of households receiving income support.
He told The New Times that it will also expand the number of working days for public works, which will effectively increase the size of transfers households received, adding that so far, about $428million has been injected into the project.
The new support brings the project close to $518 million invested since 2009.
This will, according to Gatete, play a key role in reducing poverty levels across the country.
“Social protection remains one of the main priorities of the Government of Rwanda for meeting its ambitious poverty reduction and human capital development goals. To further this agenda, Rwanda has started building an integrated social protection system to ensure a minimum standard of living and access to core public services, boost resilience to shocks, promote equitable growth, and strengthen opportunity through increased human capital development,” Gatete said,
Project to benefit about 95,846 Ubudehe households
According to Laetitia Nkunda, the Director of Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA), the project will extend eligibility criteria for Direct Support to more labor-constrained households, including vulnerable households with people caring for disabled members.
“It will also introduce a gender and child sensitive expanded public works model to provide more accessible jobs to those ineligible for DS but still with labor constraints, including caring for young children,” she said, adding that the objective will ensure they increase the coverage.
Overall, the project will benefit vulnerable households, primarily in Ubudehe Category 1 living in the 416 VUP direct support targeted geographical sectors, the 300 geographical sectors targeted for expanded public works as well as 270 geographical sectors targeted for classic public works.
World Bank re-affirms more support
Meanwhile the World Bank re-affirmed its commitment to continue supporting Rwanda’s projects especially those geared at reducing poverty levels across the country.
And for this particular support, Yasser El-Gammal, World Bank Country Manager said: “It is part of the wider Government of Rwanda and World Bank program to combat chronic malnutrition and invest in the early years, along with other World Bank supported projects, namely the Stunting Prevention and Reduction and Agriculture Projects”.
Poverty levels have reduced by 5.8 per cent, raising hopes that Rwanda could succeed in eradicating extreme poverty by the year 2020.
In 2014 the World Bank board renewed its commitment towards Rwanda through its four year Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) 2014-2018.
The Bank has so far extended another $438 million credit to support Rwanda’s social protection strategy.
The commitment will see the country receive between $200 million (about Rwf135 billion) and $250 million (about Rwf170 billion) extra funding per year to support priority areas in driving the country’s economic growth.
The government is targeting to reduce its extreme poverty levels to less than 30 per cent by 2017 as prescribed under the EDPRS2.