Some of the key projects and programs funded by the Bank include the Rwanda Electricity Access Scale-up and Sector Wide Approach (SWAp) Development Project (US$70 million), Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting and Hillside Irrigation (US$34 million) and Rwanda Second Support to Social Protection System (US$50 million).
Towards market-oriented agriculture
Through a three phased “Adaptable Program Loan”, the World Bank supports The Rural Sector Support Project (RSSP) which focused on intensifying production in the marshlands and was followed by the Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting and Hillside Irrigation (LWH) Project that started in 2010 and aimed at increasing productivity on hillsides and developing parts of these hillsides for irrigated horticulture production.
Since the beginning of RSSP1 in 2001, over 6,700 hectares of marshlands have been rehabilitated or developed, and nearly 27,000 hectares of hillsides have been sustainably developed since 2010 by LWH. Maize yields have improved from 1.6 tons/ha to nearly five tons/ha; while rice yields have improved from three tons/ha to 6.30 tons/ha; and potato yields have improved from 7 tons/ha to nearly 20 tons/ha. In addition a number of rural infrastructures have been put in place to link productive areas to markets.
“The production of Irish potatoes has increased from 10.5 tons in 7 hectares to 42 tons in 13 hectares. Cooperative members attribute this boost in production to RSSPs support….When we look back at the traditional farming methods we used; we consider this as a great success,” said François Zigama, a farmer and President COAVIDEP Cooperative.
So far, of over 57,000 people who benefited from the RSSP projects, over 42% are females as are 48% of the 19,828 people who have benefited from the LWH. The impact created by these two programs is creating transformation in rural Rwanda
“In the past, I cultivated and harvested very little, I could not even save for the market. But after constructing terraces, I had a good harvest and a surplus for the market. I had an uncompleted house but now, I have been able to buy cement from the sales of my potato harvest and we are about to complete the house,” said Colette Nyiraneza, a farmer in Gatsibo.
Expanded access to electricity
The World Bank supports the Rwanda’s Electricity Access Rollout Program (EARP) , an electricity rollout program whose objective is to increase the number of households connected to the electricity grid to 350,000 by 2013 from the initial 110,000 in 2009. The electrification program has led to an extension of the number of working hours and reduced spoilage of fresh products due to availability of refrigeration and cooling.
Rural electrification also greatly contributed to improved service delivery, especially in health, education and administrative services with new services such as vaccinations and improved laboratory tests. “Before we got electricity, maternity activities were carried out in the dark, now that we have permanent electricity, all machines are functioning well and the lab is operating perfectly,” said Mukabadege Speciose Deputy Director of the Nyange Health Center.
The challenge is now to increase generation capacity. The Sustainable Energy Development Project provides advisory and technical support, including micro hydropower feasibility studies. International Finance Corporation (IFC) has provided loans to the private developers, and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) has provided a guarantee to the 25MW Kivuwatt methane plant.
Strengthening social protection
The World Bank has helped to expand the Vision 2020 Umurenge Program (VUP), the government’s main safety net program, to cover 43% of the country’s 416 geographical sectors in 2012, up from just 7% when the program was launched in 2008. The number of poor people benefiting from the program has grown from less than 10,000 to over half a million in the same period. Under the VUP, 68% of households which benefit from cash transfers are women headed households while 46% of participants in public works are women.
Forty-five year old widow and mother of three, Viviane Nyiramahigura is one of the many who benefit from public works employment under the VUP. “If it were not for the VUP public works program, there is no way I could have raised money to send my son to secondary school, pay the health insurance subscription for my family, or clothe and feed my children,” she said.
Last updated: October 2013