KIGALI - Rwanda has expressed optimism that the remaining Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can be achieved within the next five years, despite the challenges ahead.
During the just concluded UN MDG summit in New York, Rwanda was cited as one of the few countries that have taken great strides in achieving the MDGs “particularly in the area of maternal and children’s health.”
However, doubts still linger on whether developing countries will be able to achieve the remaining MDGs in the remaining 5 years.
According to the Minister of Finance John Rwangombwa, Rwanda should be well on course to achieving the remaining MDGs in the next five years and the country should be able to maintain the tempo and due recognition it was given during the summit that took place on September 20 to 22.
“The MDG summit was aimed at assessing how far we have reached in achieving the MDGs, what are the challenges, what can we do in the next five years to achieve the MDGs?”
“To be able to know what we can do and how, countries that performed better were given as examples and Rwanda was quoted in almost every aspect, as a country that came from nowhere, from the turmoil 16 years ago and now we are on track to achieve all the MDGs,” Rwangombwa said in an interview with The New Times.
He added that he is optimistic that Rwanda will achieve the remaining MDGs if the trend remains as it is, adding that the government is committed to seeing that happen.
“I am 100% sure that we will achieve all the MDGs, maybe there is one sub-MDG where we are likely to face challenges: that is reducing the use of firewood, but that is something we can work on. But the rest, I am very optimistic that we can achieve them,”
“On poverty, if you look back in 2005, we were very far, but if you look at what we have achieved since then, we have confidence that we can achieve the MDG on poverty,” he added.
Rwangombwa said the government has started conducting a household survey which will end next year and it will show where the country is in terms of poverty levels.
He added if poverty was to be gauged by the GDP figures and testimonies of people, there has been tremendous progress in cutting down poverty levels.
Rwangombwa said that the crop intensification programme and the One Cow per Family have made a great difference in the lives of the people and that more anti-poverty programmes will help achieve the MDG on reducing poverty.
The country, among other things, has been hailed for significantly curtailing malaria and other child killers like pneumonia.
Rwanda also has the largest number of children sleeping under mosquito nets, mothers producing safely and the highest number of HIV/AIDS patients accessing ARVs.
On his recent visit to the country, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commended Rwanda’s great strides towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals particularly in the area of maternal and children’s health.
Last year, Ban Ki-moon appointed President Paul Kagame to co-chair the MDG Advocacy Group, composed of prominent leaders and personalities around the globe, to fast track the achievement of MDGs.