President Paul Kagame has urged each and every Rwandan to double their efforts towards productivity as well as take responsibility of the country’s development so as to achieve targets set out in a new five-year development and poverty reduction strategy.
The President made the call yesterday while launching the government’s second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS2), the country’s new development blueprint to be implemented between 2013 and 2018.
During the first phase of EDPRS, the country registered remarkable progress, averaging an 8 per cent growth rate and reducing extreme poverty to 24 per cent from 34 per cent.
While the President acknowledged the performance during EDPRS 1, he emphasised there is still a long way to go.
“EDPRS 1 gives us the confidence of what we can achieve as a nation…” but “ the satisfactory performance under EDPRS and plans are not sufficient,” Kagame said.
“We have to improve how we work. We have to work together. We must be prepared to double our efforts,” he said.
At the cost of about Rwf10 trillion over the next five years, the EDPRS 2 target is to transform Rwanda into a middle income country and edge the country closer to eradicating poverty.
The economy is set to grow at an average 11.5 per cent during EDPRS2 implementation and the country’s GDP per capita is projected to increase from the current $644 to $1,240 by the year 2020.
The ceremony to launch the plan was held at the Parliamentary Building in Kimihurura in an event that attracted about 700 people from the private sector, members of the diplomatic corps, development partners, and representatives from local communities.
The President pointed out that achieving the double digit growth rate is not the sole responsibility of the government, but everyone has a role to play.
He encouraged the private sector to seize the emerging opportunities in the country and set up ambitious goals for productivity that would benefit more Rwandans and bring the investors more profits.
Kagame added that the impact of every franc invested by treasury and private sector must be felt by all Rwandans if the country is to achieve meaningful socio-economic transformation.
EDPRS 2 provides for the private sector to become the main driver of the economy by taking advantage of improved infrastructure, continued political stability, and good governance.
The plan seeks to ensure that the country’s youthful labour force is equipped with employable skills and some countryside towns turned into major cities to cater for the young population’s demands for jobs, goods, and services.
It has been largely described as “pro-poor” and it makes more and more people feel like there is a tangible framework for the development of their businesses and access to markets.
“It’s all planned in people’s interests. It will help poor people to also get access to some money and it will help me advance my own goals,” said Christine Murebwayire, a farmer in the Eastern Province who also heads a cooperative that makes juice, wine, and fiber from banana.
By focusing on four areas—economic transformation, rural development, productivity and youth employment, as well as accountable governance— EDPRS 2 aims at reducing the 44.9 per cent overall poverty level recorded in 2011 to below 30 per cent by 2018.
Many development partners in the country and other analysts have described the plan as realistic and confided that the commitment observed among Rwandan leaders and the Rwandan people are likely to make EDPRS2 successful.
“We are confident that by the end of 2018, the development landscape of this country will have improved,” said the UN Resident Coordinator, Lamin Mamadouh Manneh, said at the launch of the plan yesterday.