Sunday, 31 March 2013

Middle income status in 5 years


Some of the leaders who attended the National Dialogue. 
The work of the country’s top leaders in the next five years will focus on improving its energy sector, transport services, urbanisation, and vocational training to fast-track the country’s dream of becoming a middle-income economy by the year 2020.

The leaders made the resolve at the 10th National Leadership Retreat which ended Saturday after two days of extensive brainstorming on how to successfully implement the country’s five-year development plan, the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRSII).

While  Day 1 of the retreat had focused on wide-ranging issues of national interest, including the overall need to keep economic growth, the country’s relations with other nations and the overall theme of good governance, leaders made presentations on the country’s infrastructure, human capacity development and the improvement of public service delivery.

“We know what we want and we should not be averse to learning. If we are sure of where we want to go and what it takes for us to get there, why should it be difficult? It is about having the right attitude,” said President Paul Kagame, who moderated the retreat.

Under the EDPRS II, the country targets 11.5 percent annual growth rate with sound investments focusing around rural development, productivity, youth employment, and an accountable governance among other key pillars of the plan.

Rwanda is bidding to become a middle income economy by 2020, and this will require the country’s GDP per capita to increase from the current $644 to $1,240.

Leaders at the retreat reiterated that infrastructure development will remain key to the country’s economic growth and it has to remain a priority in the implementation of EDPRS II.

The Minister of infrastructure, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, pointed out that key priorities for the next five years will include urbanisation, rural resettlement, energy, and transport.

He said that in the spirit of EDPRS II, secondary cities across the country will be developed, financing and supply of affordable housing increased, while infrastructure for the increasing population in urban areas will be improved.

Appropriate transport is also highlighted as a critical focus of infrastructure development and the country will target air cargo among other key components of the transport sector under EDPRS II.

The country’s top leaders have also resolved to continue strengthening an educational policy that promotes vocational training in critical areas of economic development.

For the Minister of Education, Vincent Biruta, Rwandans will have to change their current mindset that lures young people to undermine vocational training, yet it should instead be embraced.

“Youth should know that education is not simply about a degree. Vocational training will be a crucial contribution to achieving the targets set out in EDPRS II,” he said.

The leaders have reiterated the need to continue developing the country’s human resource capacities and a results-oriented style for the public service.

Rwanda will also invest in telling the world what it has to offer and will not let the often “biased” international media and expert reports define its image to the rest of the world, the leaders have decided.

Foreign affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo who is also the government spokesperson, discussed with other leaders the need for Rwanda to tell its own story and define its own image on the global stage rather than rely on often biased international reports.

And President Kagame criticised certain international rankings that claim to have the monopoly of defining what constitutes human rights and often arbitrarily tell Rwandans what they.

“Human rights are rights all of us live, they are not rights people must know because they have been lectured by a handful of people from elsewhere. Human rights issues have become politicized,” he said.

At the end of the retreat, leaders pledged their renewed energy and commitment to better serve Rwandans.

But beyond the pledges, real work lies ahead and it remains defined in the EDPRS II as a medium term strategy for economic growth, poverty reduction and human development.

The first phase of EDPRS which ran from 2008 to 2012 registered positive results with at least one million Rwandans lifted out of poverty and the country’s economic growth kept at an average above 8 percent.


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