KIGALI - The recently created Rwanda Development Board (RDB) yesterday held its first press conference to present its senior management team, and explain its operating procedures, and budgetary processes.
The RDB’s core responsibilities include accelerating the country’s strategic growth and development initiatives with initial emphasis on injecting a private sector mentality into government.
The institution’s top executives, including some former executives, of the earlier merged eight government agencies, which include RIEPA, ORTPN, RITA, CAPMER, HIDA and REMA briefed journalists at Hotel Serena on plans to make Rwanda a world-class business and investment hub.
Joseph J. Ritchie, an American businessman who has been working towards globally promoting Rwanda to business leaders for the past five years, is the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman of the institution established last September.
“I think we have here an organisation that is amazingly good. I will try to bring what I think are the unique outside elements,” he said, while explaining his role in the institution.
This set up, it is believed, will make government more efficient and hence more responsive to the needs of both the citizens and investment partners.
“Governments don’t like outsiders giving them new ideas but this one does,” Ritchie said, commending Rwandan leadership for adopting the seemingly unique model.
Francis Gatare, the Principal Deputy CEO (former director general RIEPA) explained and dismissed concerns over possible budget hitches.
“Rwanda Development Board is one institution and the principle about it, is that it is operating with one management operating off one plan, one budget and uplifting one vision,” he said.
He dispelled the imagined ambiguity – multiple entities with multiple budgets – stressing that the institution would run smoothly through a high level of autonomy, with senior management providing sufficient guidance.
However, although it is already legally operational, the executives acknowledged that a number of logistical issues are being aggressively worked on to enable a smooth and expeditious transition early next year.
“The logistical issues to be dealt with are the obvious,” Gatare said, pointing to, among others, the fact that the year is ending soon and “we must plan and mobilise common resources as we will be operating in a new entity.”
Rosette Rugamba, the Deputy CEO for Tourism and Conservation (former Director General ORTPN) said that they were presently taking stock of what they have in order to better plan ahead. She emphasised that the institution would help eliminate duplication, harmonise programs and eliminate bureaucracy.
Rugamba also told journalists that Rwandan communities should expect even better services.
“It will get even better, the community will be happier,” she said, referring to the social benefits Rwandans have been getting from ORTPN.
A fully harmonised plan is expected early next year. Others on the top team include Nkubito Bakuramutsa, Deputy CEO for Information Technology, Claire Akimanzi, Deputy CEO for Business Operations and Services and a new comer from the Diaspora, Deogratias Harorimana, Deputy CEO for Human and Institutional Development.