Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts via your blog. We are always keen to hear from all stakeholders because we believe that it is an opportunity to reflect on new ideas, share information, and engage in public discourse concerning the development of our country.
As you rightly stated, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) supports the fast-tracking of Rwanda’s economic development by enabling a private sector-led economy that creates decent and productive jobs for Rwandans. To achieve this goal, we have emphasized (i) attaining a structural shift in our export base from low value to high-value goods and services; (ii) attracting investments that create decent and productive jobs; (iii) championing Rwandan businesses that reduce our dependence on imports; (iv) reforms that will position Rwanda as one of the most competitive economies in Africa; and (v) positioning Rwanda as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Overall, RDB exists to support investors and businesses (domestic and foreign) which have chosen to be part of Rwanda’s economic journey. In this, our focus is on ventures that will have the most impact in contributing to the country’s economic development targets and those that are enablers to inclusive development, like health, education, infrastructure, conservation, etc. Some of the investments that Rwandans have benefited from include: Babyl – a digital health services provider with over 2 million registered users and 1.3 million consultations performed; Africa Improved Foods – which has improved nutrition with affordable, high quality, locally sourced foods such as Nootri Toto and Nootri Family; Zipline – which uses drones to deliver the much-needed blood to rural clinics and has reduced delivery time of emergency blood from 4 hours to approx. 25 minutes; Tek Experts which will employ 1,000 technical support engineers and management staff to provide technical IT support services and professional services globally; and Volkswagen that is assembling vehicles in Rwanda and providing employment. These are just a few of the many transformative investments that Rwandans are benefiting from.
It is important to note that the country’s socio-economic transformation goes beyond the mandate of one institution. It is a collective effort which requires that we think about poverty reduction in tandem with increased productivity. In this, RDB works closely with and complements all other Government Institutions and stakeholders equally tasked with the country’s development. Some of these are; the Rwanda Agriculture Board RAB tasked with transforming the country’s agricultural sector; the Rwanda Biomedical center, RBC, tasked with implementation of the countries health needs; the Rwanda Association of Local Government Authorities, RALGA, tasked with building capacity and coordination to deliver socio economic development at the local government level, the Road Transport Development Authority, RTDA which is charged with developing infrastructure that contributes to the country’ sustainable economic growth; and many more.
As a result of this collective effort, Rwanda has a strong track record of inclusive Development while consistently ranking as one of the fastest-growing economies globally. Publicly available information affirms the improvements that Rwanda has registered in terms of human development. These include poverty reduction, improved life expectancy, reduced maternal mortality rates, access to health care, fall in inequality measured through the Gini index, etc.
Tourism is one of the sectors that has contributed to this growth. As of 2019, tourism’s contribution to GDP was 10% and 8% of off-farm employment. To ensure that the communities surrounding protected areas such as the national parks, benefit directly from tourism and conservation activities, the government gives back 10% of park revenues to these communities. Over Frw6billion has been disbursed since 2005. Importantly, in implementing tourism and conservation initiatives, the government is primarily concerned with the impact on the local population. In particular, the planned park expansion program will ensure that the local communities are relocated to well-planned settlements in model villages which integrate revenue generating activities. This ensures a harmonious human-wildlife co-existence.
We would like to invite you to engage more on what we do, listen to your ideas and thoughts on how to continue to drive the development of our country.