A fortnight ago, the Government launched the Second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II).
This medium term economic blueprint presents immense opportunities to the country’s private sector, as a major economic driver, but it also serves as a major litmus test for our businesses.
Over the next five years, local businesses have an opportunity to make their contribution towards the country’s development felt and also to grow with the economy.
EDPRS II should and must genuinely be a private sector led growth agenda, meaning that all businesses; the small trader, large operators, the services sector, all have a big role to play to make it a success.
For the exporter, it is time to innovate and find ways that could enhance competitiveness of their products and boost sales, hence the country’s foreign exchange receipts and revenue.
Every entrepreneur should also focus on initiatives that will widen product base to create more jobs for particularly the youth.
The farmer will be expected to produce enough to serve markets. The need to add value to the produce cannot be overemphasised as it creates jobs and generates more revenue for the farmer, businesses and the country.
The financial sector will play a major role through facilitating the various initiatives by providing the much-needed credit to entrepreneurs to implement their projects. Funding will be key to making EDPRS II a success, and banks will need to up their game.
The 2008-12 EDPR I was a huge success, the second phase should bring even greater successes because we learnt important lessons from the first phase, during which one million people lifted themselves out of poverty.
On its part, the Government will need to maintain a favourable business environment, ensure that energy deficit is progressively addressed, adopt friendlier tax regimes where necessary, and actively promote employable and entrepreneurial skills, among others.
This will help lower the cost of production, thus positively impacting on the lives of the people, and ultimately spur the economy.
If all of us play our part, there is no doubt Rwanda will be a middle-income economy in five years time.