KIGALI - The Ministry of Local Government has released promising statistics indicating that since 2006, extreme poverty in the country has reduced significantly.
The revelation follows President Paul Kagame’s call to government officials to create value and wealth for Rwandans as a strategy to eradicate poverty.
In an interview with The New Times during the Public Accountability Day, the National Coordinator of Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP), Justin Gatsinzi, said that a survey conducted in 2006 indicated that 36.9 percent of the total population lived in extreme poverty.
“This survey resulted in the establishment of VUP with a target to reduce the percentage to 24% by 2012,” said Gatsinzi.
VUP is an integrated local development programme to accelerate poverty eradication, rural growth, and social protection.
The 2006 survey was conducted in all the 90 sectors in the country and indicated that some of them had extreme percentage that went up to 39 percent of the population in a sector living in extreme poverty.
“A preliminary report compiled from 36 sectors that had demonstrated extreme poverty have showed a decrease to 34 percent as of recent,” said Gatsinzi.
He added; “there are other sectors that were earlier listed in the pilot phase of VUP in 2008; those sectors have had poverty reduced from 34.2percent to 27 percent in 2010.”
According to the VUP coordinator, normally, surveyors look at the economic and social poverty aspects while conducting their studies.
He pointed out a significant decrease in social poverty saying that in 2007, the social mapping had indicated that 34.2% of the population lived in extreme poverty and a recent study has indicated that it had gone down to 28.2%.
The government spent over Rwf 12.3 billion in 2009 in about 60 sectors of the VUP programme to ensure a reduction in poverty.
While making a presentation during the Public Accountability Day, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Eugene Balikana, said that more funds will be spent under the programme.
Balikana praised the community work (Umuganda), saying that last year, the activities carried out were valued at approximately Rwf 10.3 billion.