KIGALI, September 30, 2023 — Today, the Government of Rwanda and the World Bank commemorate 60 years of fruitful collaboration, one that has seen the country through some very dire moments, including building back after the devastating 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Dr. 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, and since then, the World Bank has provided $8.2 billion in support of development programs across different areas. Over the last decade, one million people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty, capitalizing on a rapidly improving agriculture sector in which the Bank has made substantial investments.
“The 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 in this, and to attaining her Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets.”
The country has a remarkable story of poverty reduction and development. It’s been one of the fastest-growing economies having generated persistent high growth averaging 7.2% per annum between 2000 to 2019, with poverty declining from 58.9% in 2000 to 38.2% 2016. Inequality has reduced from a GINI co-efficient of 0.51 in 2000 to 0.43 in 2016. Improvements in the health sector have also been notable: maternal mortality ratio fell from 1,070 per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 203 in 2020, and by 2019, 96% of the population has health care coverage. Rwanda is a leader in gender equality, in innovation and technology, and its investment climate has improved radically.
“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 assistance 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.
The collaboration between the Government of Rwanda and the World Bank supported many improvements in many sectors, with significant impact. Rwanda has rapidly expanded access to electricity from 6% in 2003 to 65% in 2023. The World Bank mobilized resources, financed generation, transmission, and distribution of power including from renewable sources, and is helping fuel economic growth. The World Bank, IFC, and MIGA delivered one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s first public-private sector partnerships in the water sector, the Kigali Bulk Water Project, which is now supplying 27% of the city’s water supply.
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 have been adopted to improve food security and farmer's incomes.
To accelerate human capital development, key for the economy and future of the country, financial support, technical expertise, data, and research are improving access to quality education and acquisition of market-relevant skills.
“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 the achieve green, resilient, and inclusive development to which Rwanda aspires.”