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Overview

  • Small and landlocked, Rwanda is hilly and fertile with a densely packed population of about 12.5 million people (2018). It borders the far larger and richer Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as its closest East African neighbors, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi.

    With the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, Rwanda has been able to make important economic and structural reforms and sustain its economic growth rates over the last decade.

    Political Context
    Rwanda has guarded its political stability since the 1994 genocide. Parliamentary elections in September 2018 saw women fill 64% of the seats, the Rwandan Patriotic Front maintain an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies and, for the first time, two opposition parties, the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and Social Party Imberakuri, winning two seats each in the parliament. President Paul Kagame was re-elected to a seven-year term in the August 2018, following an amendment to the constitution in December 2015 allowing him to serve a third term.

    Economic Overview
    Rwanda now aspires to reach Middle Income Country (MIC) status by 2035 and High-Income Country (HIC) status by2050. This aspiration will be carried out through a series of seven-year National Strategies for Transformation (NST1), underpinned by detailed sectoral strategies that are aimed toward achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

    The NST1 came after the implementation of two, five-year Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategies—EDPRS (2008-12) and EDPRS-2 (2013-18), under which Rwanda experienced robust economic and social performances. Growth averaged 7.5% over the decade to 2018, while per capita growth domestic product (GDP) grew at 5% annually.

    COVID 19
    Rwanda was in the middle of an economic boom prior to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Economic growth exceeded 10% in 2019, driven mostly by large public investments for implementation of the National Strategy of Transformation. Strong growth was expected to continue in 2020.

    The pandemic has disrupted international flows of goods and services with significant spillovers to the broader global economy. Exports and tourism are taking a strong hit amid disruption in international trade and travel. Rwanda is already feeling mounting balance of payment and fiscal pressures. This could negatively impact the provision of public health services with respect to COVID-19 response and preparedness capacity, as well as adversely affect the provision of other essential health service delivery in Rwanda, as healthcare workers and fiscal resources are redirected to the emergency response. 

    To help the government prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the pandemic, and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness, The World Bank Group provided $14.25 million International Development Association credit in immediate funding to a new operation, the Rwanda COVID-19 Emergency Response Project.

    Development Challenges
    Public investments have been the main driver of growth in recent years. External financing through grants, concessional and non-concessional borrowing played an important role in financing of public investments. Growth slowdown of 2016 and 2017 highlighted the limits of public sector-led growth model. Going forward, the private sector will play a bigger role in helping to ensure economic growth. Low domestic savings, skills, and the high cost of energy are some of the major constraints to private investment. Stronger dynamism in the private sector will help to sustain high investment rate and accelerate the growth. Promoting domestic savings is viewed as critical.  

    Social Context
    Rwanda’s strong economic growth was accompanied by substantial improvements in living standards, with a two-thirds drop in child mortality and near-universal primary school enrollment. A strong focus on homegrown policies and initiatives has contributed to significant improvement in access to services and human development indicators. Measured by the national poverty line, poverty declined from 77%  in 2001 to 55% in 2017, while Life expectancy at birth improved from 29 in the mid-1990s to 69 in 2019. The maternal mortality ratio has fallen from 1,270 per 100,000 live births in the 1990s to 290 in 2019. The official inequality measure, the Gini index, declined from 0.52 in 2006 to 0.43 in 2017. 

    Last Updated: Jul 08, 2020

  • World Bank Group Engagement in Rwanda
    The World Bank Group’s (WBG) Rwanda Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for 2014–2020 is framed around three thematic areas:

    • Accelerating economic growth that is private-sector driven and creates jobs
    • Improving the productivity and incomes of the poor through rural development and social protection
    • Supporting government accountability through public-financial management and decentralization

    The CPS, prepared by the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), aims to catalyze higher volumes of private resources to support Rwanda’s development. It builds on the government’s  Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS 2) and on its proposed division of labor among development partners. 

    The Bank Group's portfolio in Rwanda currently includes  17 national projects with a net commitment of more than $1,708million. Rwanda also participates in four regional projects worth a national commitment of $240.30 million. Project objectives have ranged from providing access to basic infrastructure and enhancing urban management in selected urban centers, to supporting the strengthening of the social protection system, reducing stunting and providing electricity to rural households. 

    International Finance Corporation (IFC)
    IFC’s program in Rwanda covers four main areas: capital and financial markets development; infrastructure and natural resources; manufacturing, agribusiness and services, as well as investment climate reform. Currently, IFC investment portfolio stands at $70 million and $14 million in advisory services. 

    Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
    MIGA currently has one active project, KivuWatt, with a total gross exposure of $95.4 million. MIGA remains open for business across all political risk insurance product lines, including transfer restriction, expropriation, breach of contract, war, civil disturbance, and the non-honoring of sovereign obligations.

    Last Updated: Jul 08, 2020

  • Some of the key projects and programs funded by the World Bank Group (WBG) include the Rwanda Quality Basic Education for Human Capital Development Project( $200 million); the  Rwanda Energy Sector Development Policy Operation  ($125million); the Priority Skills for Growth ($150 million); the Rwanda Housing Finance Project ($150 million); and the Strengthening Social Protection Project ($103 million).  

    Expanded Access to Electricity
    The Bank has been the leading financier of the flagship grid electrification program, Electricity Access Rollout Program (EARP), contributing more than $170 million to the country’s electrification agenda through Rwanda Electricity Access Scale Up and Sector Wide Approach Development Project and the Rwanda Electricity Sector Strengthening Project (RESSP)

    • Through consistent and well-planned implementation of EARP, Rwanda has increased its electricity access from 9% in 2009 to 47% in February 2019, with the World Bank supporting electrification agenda not with just financing infrastructure investments but also contributing to development of the electrification prospectus, crowding in contributions of other donors and maintaining constant technical dialogue with Rwanda Energy Group (REG). 

    • The World Bank is also supporting off-grid electrification in Rwanda through a $50 million Renewable Energy Fund, funded by Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program and implemented by the Development Bank of Rwanda.

    • Additionally, the Rwanda Energy Sector Development Policy Loan series ($375 million over three years) is supporting the electricity sector reform program of the Government of Rwanda that aims at putting Rwanda’s electricity sector on low-carbon, financially sustainable and affordable path. 

    Strengthening Social Protection
    Through the Social Protection System Project, the Bank has helped expand the Vision 2020 Umurenge Program (VUP), the government’s flagship social protection program. Overall, different components of VUP benefit more than one million individuals in all the targeted households in the following ways: 

    • Direct support (cash transfers) grew from 6,850 households in 2009, to cover the entire country with 107,106 households as of 2019, over 71% of which are headed by women. 

    • A classic public works program grew from 30 sectors with 18,304 households in 2008 to 244 sectors (out of 416 sectors in the country) and is currently benefiting 133,102 households, of which 50% are headed by women. 

    • The Expanded Public Works Component (ePW), which offers a flexible, year-round work schedule to moderately labor-constrained households caring for children, was introduced in 2016/2017 and currently covers 150  administrative sectors with 22,583 households, more than 72% of them headed by women. 

    • Within ePW, a new type of employment was recently introduced, namely childcare in Home and Community Based Childcare, also supported through the ongoing Investment Project Financing instrument. 

    • Through the in Home and Community Based Childcare component, the Nutrition Sensitive Direct Support was introduced, a conditional cash transfer targeted to poorest households (approximately 60,000 households in 13 districts) with pregnant women and/or children under two, with a co-responsibility to uptake health and nutrition services. These two latest innovations made the VUP’s more gender and child-sensitive. 

    Enhancing Infrastructure for Urban Development
    Through the Rwanda Urban Development Project (RUDP), the World Bank is supporting Rwanda to provide access to basic infrastructure and enhance urban management in secondary cities and City of Kigali. Since the start of the project in 2016, nearly 65,000 people have benefited of whom more than half are women, and include the following results:   

    • At its midpoint of implementation, RUDP has successfully completed the first phase of investments in urban roads (28.3km) and stand-alone drainage (13.8km) across six secondary cities. 

    • Supported these cities to draft and endorse Local Economic Development (LED) strategies with which they can guide local economic activities and private investments, as well as prioritizing their public investments. 

    • In City of Kigali, the project supports the upgrading of 86ha unplanned settlement in Nyarugenge District which is home to almost 1,900 people by providing access streets, footpaths, drainage and street lighting. 

     

    Last Updated: Jul 08, 2020

  • Many of Rwanda’s ongoing development projects are supported by the World Bank and various development partners, including Power of Nutrition and the Global Financing Facility, which support the Rwanda Stunting Prevention and Reduction Project. 

    The World Bank also coordinates with development partners in country, such as the United Nations and other multilateral and bilateral agencies, through a formally established framework, mainly the Development Partners Coordination Group (DPCG). 

    The division of labor between development partners as established by the government in 2013 supports and eases inter-development partner coordination, alignment and harmonization. In each sectors of interventions, the Bank is member of the sector working group and technical working groups within the sector.

    Last Updated: Jul 08, 2020

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LENDING

Rwanda: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
Blvd. de la Revolution
SORAS Building
Kigali, Rwanda
+250-591-300
For general information and inquiries
Rogers Kayihura
External Affairs Officer
+250-591-303
rkayihura@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
rwandaalert@worldbank.org