Rwanda’s vision 2020 is based on six pillars including; good governance, human resource development and a knowledge-based economy, a private sector-led economy, infrastructure development, productive and market oriented agriculture, regional and international economic integration.
These form the road map that guides the country towards its goal of reducing aid dependency through promotion of macroeconomic stability and wealth in the short term; transformation to a knowledge based economy in the medium term and creating a productive middle class and fostering entrepreneurship in the long term.
To achieve the long-term, the vision seeks to “Stimulate the private sector, particularly with regard to the promotion of exports and Competitiveness…”
On the other hand, the World Economic Forum engages business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
In so doing, it came up with the Global Competitiveness index (GCI) which is based on the 12 pillars of competitiveness, providing a comprehensive picture of the competitiveness landscape in countries around the world at all stages of development.
The pillars are: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.
Clearly, the pillars of the Vision 2020 and those of the GCI are very compatible. In fact, Rwanda can use the GCI to enrich and enhance achievement of the vision. The key word is competitiveness.
The long term object of the Rwandan Vision 2020 anticipates that Rwanda will become a middle income country by 2020. It is a goal that requires heavy commitment and investment. And it will only be realised when there is skilled workforce. Growth of labour productivity is key to achieving the vision.
The amount of goods and services produced by one hour of labour. More specifically, the amount of real GDP produced by an hour of labour. This growth depends on three main factors: investment and saving in physical capital, new technology and human capital.
The level and quality of skills development has to be raised drastically. This can best be done through new investment; and there is the catch. Investment is needed to create conditions that will encourage investment! The old maxim of use what you have to get what you want comes in handy here.
We have local investors who with their ‘small’ capacity, can utilise the good business environment that government has created and take charge of this situation. The key word here is partnership.
The private sector is nascent and needs support. But it must reach out and ‘make friends’ all over to attract this support.
It must take the lead now. The private sector must be prosumers (consumers involved in production) of their inputs; they must be part of the ‘formation’ of the staff they need, from high school through university and colleges, they should weigh in and have their input in government and inter-government policies among others.
As Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum says; future long-term growth rather than short-term targets should be a priority.
“Policy-makers are struggling with ways of managing the present economic challenges while preparing their economies to perform well in a future economic landscape characterised by uncertainty and shifting balances.
In such a global economic environment, it is more important than ever for countries to put in place the fundamentals underpinning economic growth and development.”
Sam Kebongo is a skills and business advisory services consultant. He also teaches entrepreneurship at Rwanda Tourism University College.