NYARUGENGE - Prime Minister Bernard Makuza has called upon developed countries to bring on board developing countries in their sustained fight against economic recession.
The Premier was opening the eighth edition of the meeting between the government of Rwanda and her development partners (DPM) which took place at Kigali Serena Hotel yesterday.
The meeting aims at creating a platform between the government and donor agencies to discuss aid effectiveness and poverty eradication through economic growth in the country.
“My conjecture is that the global effort to arrest the financial meltdown must not exclude or be at the expense of developing countries…it is my firm belief that both developed and developing countries, united we stand and divided we fall,” Makuza told the meeting that has brought together at least 400 stakeholders.
The theme for this year’s meeting is “Beyond Aid: Innovation mechanisms for financing the EDPRS.”
The EDPRS is the Economic Development and Poverty Eradication Strategy, a medium term approach to economic development and growth for the country.
The major focus of the meeting is on how the private sector can be empowered to contribute to the realisation of the country’s long term development agenda through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
“This financial crisis should not be an excuse for protectionism but rather an opportunity for us to enhance coordination and work in closer partnership to strengthen solidarity…we must swim together or else we shall sink together,” added the Premier.
He said that despite the fact that the country’s economy is growing steadfastly, there was need to venture into innovations that will ensure long term sustainable development is achieved.
“In that effect, we need a stronger collaboration between the government and the private sector working together on public-private partnerships,” he said.
PPPs, according to Finance and Economic Planning Minister James Musoni, will be pivotal in supporting some of the country’s big infrastructural projects that include the Dar es Salaam –Kigali railway, the Kampala-Kigali oil pipeline and the soon-to-be-constructed International Airport.
Present at the high level meeting was the Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation, Bert Koenders who extolled Rwanda’s efforts to revamp her economy ‘despite the volatile environment the country is in.’
He pointed out that the economic transformation in the region would not be attained with the continued presence of the outlawed Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He said that it was a cancer in the region that needed to be eradicated.
The Dutch official also called for better donor behaviour for aid effectiveness. On behalf of the development partners, Aurérien Agbénonci, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, acknowledged the results that have been borne by the EDPRS just one year after its launch.
The EDPRS is a five-year mid-term strategy for the achievement of long term goals including the Millennium Development Goals and the country’s Vision 2020.
Agbénonci also emphasised the need for bringing on board the private sector to speed up the EDPRS.
“Continued strong economic growth driven by the private sector is indispensable if poverty reduction is to be accelerated…the processes of economic growth must build on and enable the participation of all segments of society so that every Rwandan citizen may bear the fruits of development,” Agbénonci who co-hosted the meeting with Minister Musoni, said.
He also underscored the importance of strengthening the agricultural sector—the country’s principle employer, saying that all stakeholders including government, development partners, the private sector and farmers should work together to uplift the sector. He explained that this will ensure food security and subsequently increase rural household incomes.