WASHINGTON, December 16, 2020 – The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved $150 million in IDA financing for a program of policy and institutional reforms intended to accelerate human capital development for inclusive economic growth in Rwanda. Of this financing, US$ 75 million is a grant while US$ 75 million is a credit.
Aligned with the objectives of the country’s National Strategy for Transformation (2017-24), the First Programmatic Human Capital for Inclusive Growth Development Policy Financing marks the start of a series of three operations to be delivered between 2020 and 2022. It will support the Government-led multisectoral reform program that includes mutually supportive policy and institutional reform actions for effectively delivering social sector services to families across the lifecycle.
This operation will help the government of Rwanda in strengthening the resilience of families, supporting a promising start for young children, enabling a better learning environment for students in school, promoting equitable access to health services, and enhancing the delivery of human capital focused social protection benefits and services to the poor and vulnerable.
“I am thrilled about this operation, which supports Rwanda’s strong commitment to investing in people and accelerating progress on human capital development. It supports policy reforms that promote close collaboration among various ministries and agencies across different sectors to better serve families, women, and children in order to unleash the full potential of all Rwandan citizens,” said Rolande Pryce, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda. “This is one of the first such efforts in Africa sharply focusing on human capital and acknowledging its important role in the inclusive economic growth agenda.”
The program promotes Rwanda’s long-term fiscal sustainability and enhances local capacity and accountability for social services delivery. It recognizes women’s empowerment as a fundamental condition to boost the human capital of future generations and to leveraging untapped potential for increased productivity.
“This program represents an important step forward as Rwanda strives to ensure a level playing field for all citizens and strengthens the quality and availability of social services. It advances the Government’s commitment to unlock policy and institutional bottlenecks in maximizing the returns on investments in education, health, and social protection,” said Iftikhar Malik, World Bank Senior Human Development Specialist and the Task Team Leader for this operation. “The program design ensures that poor and vulnerable families are not left behind and receive due support for their welfare as well as enhanced nutrition and learning to ensure a better future for their children.”
At the end of this three-year reform program, it is expected that emergency cash transfers will be delivered to 100,000 households to help them cope with the impact of COVID-19-related shocks and that the coverage and share of low-income beneficiaries receiving support from human capital-focused social protection programs and from the community-based health insurance scheme will increase. It is also expected that there will be a greater share of qualified teachers in primary and secondary schools, and the presence of doctors and nurses in the public sector health facilities will be improved.
Rwanda is an early adopter of the World Bank’s Human Capital Project, a growing global network of 78 countries of all income levels that focuses on more and better investments in people for greater equity and growth. Finance ministers from these countries meet regularly to report progress and discuss human capital related issues. Government officials also work together across the country network to exchange ideas and knowledge.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.