KIGALI - The government yesterday signed two financing agreements with the European Union (EU) worth 26 million Euros, whereby the latter will provide sector budget support for social protection and support trade, regional integration and business development respectively.
“The programmes encourage the efforts of the government of Rwanda to accelerate poverty reduction, in particular, extreme poverty,” Michel Arrion, the Head of the EU Delegation, said during the signing ceremony, yesterday.
Specifically, social protection will receive 20 million Euros to support the implementation of government’s social protection programmes, including Vision 2020-Umurenge and Ubudehe programmes, that
tackle poverty and inequality.
Trade, regional integration and business development will receive 6 million Euros to support government efforts to increase skills and employment opportunities for the youth by promoting entrepreneurship.
At the same ceremony, Finance Minister, John Rwangombwa, on behalf of government, also received a cheque worth12.3 million Euros from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
The funds complete a compensation package for the total revenue loss accruing from the implementation of the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) in the financial year 2009/10.
“Regional integration is a priority for the government to support the private sector-led growth. We are also committed to deepening integration even further through implementation of the regional integration programme,” Rwangombwa said.
The government incurred revenue loss of about Euros 23 million since Rwanda entered into the CET, which is equivalent of the total compensation disbursement from the COMESA Adjustment Facility.
However, Rwangombwa noted that in future, he expects the country to recover the CET losses through internally generated revenues and increased trade volumes.
On behalf of the COMESA Secretariat, Sindiso Ngwenya, the Secretary General, observed that Rwanda has moved from mere commitments to actual implementation, citing both COMESA Free Trade Area and EAC CET.