Kigali, September 30 2023 — Today, the Government of Rwanda and the World Bank commemorate 60 years of one of the most fruitful collaborations that has seen the country through some of the direst moments, including building back after the devastating 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and Keith Hansen, World Bank Country Director inaugurated a multimedia photo exhibition depicting Rwanda’s development story over the past six decades and joined a conference to reflect on 60 years of partnership.
Rwanda became a member of the World Bank on September 30, 1963, since then, the bank has provided about US$ 8.2 billion in support of different development programs in Rwanda including human capital, infrastructure, agriculture, resilience, and private sector development. Over the last decade, one million people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty, capitalizing on a rapidly improving agriculture sector in which the International Development Association (IDA) has been proud to make substantial investments.
“World Bank has had the honor and privilege of accompanying Rwanda in its exceptional journey of building transformational infrastructures and setting up modern institutions that led to one of the most impressive growth performances in the World in recent decades, said Keith Hansen, Country Director for Rwanda, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda. “Continuing Rwanda’s remarkable success requires accelerated efforts and collaboration to rebalance its economy away from public investment toward greater reliance on private investment, and the World Bank is committed to continuing supporting the government to attain her targeted sustainable development goals.”
Rwanda tells the world a remarkable story of poverty reduction and development. It has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, having generated persistent high growth averaging 7.2% per annum between 2000 to 2019, poverty has declined from 58.9% in 2000 to 38.2% 2016, and inequality has reduced with GINI co-efficient of 0.51 in 2000 to 0.43 in 2016 maternal mortality ratio fell from 1070 per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 203 in 2020, and by 2019, 96% of the population has health care cover, and Rwanda is a leader in gender equality, in innovation, technology, and its investment climate has radically improved.
“World Bank has been a reliable and strategic partner in supporting our country’s development trajectory over the past six decades. Together, we have achieved tangible results in reducing poverty, developing human capital, promoting private sector, increasing access to infrastructure and digital economy, improving agricultural production and commercialization as well as urban development. “said Minister Uzziel Ndagijimana, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning. We also recognize, the knowledge and technical assistances that have helped to design and implement innovative and evidence-based policies and programs which have been important guiding tools that are helping us to achieve our ambitious goals of becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2035 and a high-income country by 2050.
In collaboration with the Government of Rwanda, the World Bank supported many sectors with significant impact. For instance, Rwanda has rapidly expanded access to electricity from 6% in 2003 to 65% in 2023. In this, the World Bank has mobilized resources, financed generation, transmission, and distribution of power including from renewable sources, helping fuel economic growth.
Marshland and hill-side areas have been developed, irrigation systems expanded, rural communities empowered, post-harvest infrastructures enhanced, farmers trained in modern farming techniques sector policies and institutions strengthened, and innovative approaches such as agricultural finance and insurance have been adopted improving food security and farmer's incomes raised.
To accelerate human capital development, provision of financial support, technical expertise, data, research have improved access to quality of basic and tertiary education and acquisition of market-relevant skills. Strengthened Vision Umurenge Program has enabled poor and vulnerable households access economic inclusion services.
The World Bank, IFC and MIGA, delivered one of sub-Saharan Africa’s first PPPs in the water sector - Kigali Bulk Water Project, which is supplying 27 percent of the city’s water supply.
In the past 60 years, the World Bank has also produced knowledge, analytical work, and data which has supported the government’s evidence-based development decisions and policies.
“The speed with which Rwanda has successfully achieved major transformations is evidence that much more can be done to realize the country’s development aspirations,” said Sahr Kpundeh, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda. “I would like to reaffirm that Rwanda and the World Bank will continue to work together, as we have for six decades, to further advance the country’s transformation, and to achieve green, resilient, and inclusive development to which Rwanda aspires,”