The visiting World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, Rachel Kyte, yesterday, said that Rwanda needs to focus on new approaches that can stimulate further socio-economic development if it has to sustain its current progress.
Speaking at a news conference at the end of her three-day visit, Kyte said that joint efforts between the World Bank and the Rwandan government had nurtured true transformation, mainly through improved welfare of the citizens.
She said that since her last visit, four years ago, the country had registered many successes, particularly in economic growth and poverty reduction.
“There has been commendable progress over the last 10 years with profound impact on the lives of the people. The World Bank feels that Rwanda is poised at a very important position in its history.
“There is a positive trajectory in all areas of the economy. We need renewed investment in areas that can sustain this progress. Infrastructure, energy, food security and value addition are some of the areas we are committed to continue supporting,” Kyte noted.
Among other things, she said the Bank will continue to direct support towards targeted areas to strengthen the country’s private sector, especially the financial and banking sector as well supporting public-private partnerships.
She noted that the bank’s new strategy is to empower Rwanda and other countries that register positive growth to cut heavy dependency on aid, especially at the time when aid resources are becoming scarce.
The WB official, however, noted that WB hopes Africa will sail through the hard times.
“The World Bank firmly believes that this is Africa’s decade. If you look at the global economic outlook that was released recently, Africa is the only continent which we believe will grow more than it did last year.
“It can continue to do that even many years going forward,” she said, adding that with Europe and America facing hard times, investors are looking at Africa in a new way, adding that it is up to well-governed African countries to take advantage of this.
“In the case of Rwanda, there is no reason to believe that investment cannot be attracted here. The country is well-governed, ranked among the least corrupt countries and is known to be stable,” Kyte observed.
She said that the country’s result-oriented approach to issues, geographical location and competitiveness make it attractive to investment.
She noted that the country’s central location gives it access to markets with the East African Community and Central Africa, all of which should be taken advantage of.
Kyte, who visited the Kigali Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) yesterday, said that once investment grows, it increases revenues that would ultimately enable it to become economically independent. The WB official pledged her institution’s commitment to continue funding and support long and short-term programmes to stimulate development, including energy and infrastructure programmes.
Key among them are micro and big hydro projects, solar and other sources of energy, roads and post harvest facilities. She noted the KSEZ was at a vital phase for key investors to take up the available space.
On Saturday, Kyte, who is on a continental tour, visited Nyagatovu Model Village in Kayonza District to witness how model villages facilitate easy delivery of social services. The WB financed the electrification of the project.
According to the World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda, Mimi Ladipo, the Bank uses a countrywide integrated approach whereby if it finances agricultural programmes such as improving the hillside and marshlands, it also finances feeder roads and electrification.
“We try to get that integrated approach to development in a number of areas across all the provinces, obviously not in every single sector; we work with other development partners.
“Our programme is not confined in one place or a particular area. We have that countrywide approach,” Ladipo pointed out.
From Kigali, Kyte will head to Bujumbura, Burundi.