• A 28-member delegation from the International Finance Corporation meets President Paul Kagame to share experiences on management and leadership
The World Bank has sent a high-powered delegation from its subsidiary, the International Finance Corporation, to learn about leadership from President Paul Kagame as part of its prestigious corporate management programme.
The President hosted the high-powered 28-member IFC delegation yesterday at Village Urugwiro, where according to Georgina Baker, a director of the Corporation, a wide range of issues regarding state management, transparency, accountability and development were discussed.
The IFC is the lending arm of the World Bank and is charged with the crucial mandate of financing and providing advice for private sector ventures and projects in developing countries. Traditionally, the World Bank is known for lecturing leaders in the developing world, particularly in Africa, for their failures in corporate governance and for either abetting or being corrupt themselves.
For the bank to pick Rwanda and Kagame as a key resource for its prestigious IFC corporate management programme, it is the highest accolade the institution has paid to any African country in recent years.
Speaking to reporters after meeting the Head of State, Baker said that the institution sent the team to Rwanda as part of the corporate leadership programme of the organisation to share experiences and get lessons on governance.
“We brought here our new leaders from IFC, which is a major supporter of the Rwandan government. We wanted to learn from the leadership of Rwanda and the journey this country has made under the leadership of President Kagame in the last 17 years.
“We felt we had much to learn from his cabinet and the President himself, to teach us great leadership skills,” Baker said.
She noted that the group learnt that active leadership, which involves everyone, is important and that it takes the collective role of everyone for success to be achieved.
“The President was extremely open and transparent with us and we were moved by what he shared with us today, not only in terms of how he brings people together, but what happened in this country and the reconciliation process.
“I hope very much that we don’t have to go through such a tough leadership journey ourselves but to learn from someone who was very moving for everyone that was here and we are deeply honoured to have shared that with him,” Baker said.
The Minister of Finance, John Rwangombwa, said the IFC delegation is on an annual leadership training programme which targets the organisation’s young and upcoming leaders.
“They chose Rwanda out of other countries because the country’s leadership has tackled a lot of challenges in a short time and they wanted to learn from our experience.
“The Head of State briefed them about the progress the country has made in the past 17 years, the process of national unity and reconciliation and his input as the President,” Rwangombwa said.
He said the IFC is the biggest supporter of the country’s private sector growth, providing both short-term and long-term financing to businesses, mainly Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
He noted that IFC also helps the government to improve doing business and improving the investment climate.
Speaking about the country’s private sector, Baker, who is the Director of Short term finance at IFC, said that the last 17 years have seen tremendous growth in the country’s private sector.
“The Rwandan private sector has made an incredible journey over the last 17 years,” Baker said.
“When I reflect on what was left at the end of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and where the country is today or even the changes that have been made over the last three years, Rwanda is clearly growing and IFC is here to support this,” she added.
Baker noted that IFC is looking at investment in finance, infrastructure, housing and education as a way of boosting the private sector growth.