As most economies were battling to avert the impact of the global financial crisis throughout last year, the latest repot on the progress in implementing Rwanda’s Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) shows significant progress in all clusters in 2008.
The Report by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning based on the key targets and policy actions in the EDPRS results and policy matrix is structured on three major strategic objectives.
They include; increased economic growth, managing population growth rate and enhancing population development, and enhanced gains through good governance.
The strategic objectives are in harmony with the three EDPRS clusters of economic, social and governance that were set up by the Rubavu retreat in February this year.
In order to focus the discussion, I have chosen to centre on the economic cluster that covers the macro and financial sector, agriculture, infrastructure private sector development as well as environment and natural resources management.
Statistics by the Ministry show that overall growth performance in 2008 was at 11.2 percent compared to the projected rate of 8.5 percent, driven by a rebound in agriculture and continued buoyancy in the industry and services sectors.
In 2008, there was an expansion of credit to the private sector which grew to 14 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2008. However, the single digit inflation target was not met as year on year inflation oscillated in double digits throughout the year.
Figures also show that power production has increased and stabilized since the severe power shortages in 2004. Total installed electricity capacity increased from 45MW in 2006 to 74.5MW in 2008.
The generation capacity reached 56MW, exceeding the 2008 target of 50MW. Rwanda had targeted 100,000 electricity connections in 2008 but managed 110,000 connections against a baseline of 91,332 in 2006.
The ICT composite coverage network is now at 90 percent as mobile phone users hit a 1,322,637 mark.
The report says that there were significant increases of 16.4 percent and 20.3 percent in food and export crop production respectively.
This is a direct impact of government’s work in the areas of crop intensification, disease prevention and assistance to producers of traditional and non-traditional export crops, as well as good rains throughout the year 2008.
These production increases according to the ministry have buffered Rwanda against the global food crisis and the associated rise in food prices.
These are impressive results that reflect government’s good policy management despite the fact that many areas of planning and development activities have not had the required resources.Most African countries have failed to reach their development targets beause of limited interest to assess whether plans and policies when implemented have met their goals and objectives.
This lack of monitoring and assessment is also true of many specialist forms of planning and policy making. It is fair to say that based on this lack of monitoring and evaluation little is learned from plan implementation.
Monitoring and assessing activities help to reveal how visions, goals and objectives set for the country’s population are met, linking them with the overall impact they have on household incomes and standards of living.
The writer is a Journalist