Mimi Ladipo, WB Country Manager (L) exchange documents with Finance Minister John Rwangombwa after the signing yesterday. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira.

The three projects to benefit from the grant include Statistics for Results Facility Project, the third Rural Sector Support Project and the Support to Social Protection project under Vision Umurenge Programme (VUP).

The agreement is composed of $80 million credit agreement to help increase incomes and reduce poverty in rural areas of the country, a grant of $10 million for the project that aims at strengthening and building statistics in the country while the remaining $40 million grant will be allocated to social protection.

“There is a robust system in identifying the beneficiaries through Ubudehe programme and we are focusing on real poor sectors,” said Finance Minister John Rwangombwa during the signing ceremony at the ministry’s headquarters.

He said that the selection of beneficiaries is done at the village level where the community identifies those in extreme poverty and puts them in two categories.

Rwangombwa said that government through VUP has been enrolling 30 new Sectors every year on the programme that mainly targets to employ the poor on infrastructural development projects.

An EDPRSI report indicates that by the end of last year, 120 out of 416 Sectors were covered with 19,583 beneficiaries.

There is optimism that the funds for RSSP3 will increase agricultural productivity in marshlands and hillsides in the sub-watersheds targeted for development.

The project will see 6,000 more hectares of irrigated marshlands developed and at least 17,000 additional hectares of hillside surrounding rehabilitated areas.

“It’s a participatory programme. We prepare beneficiaries, equip them with technical skills and group them in cooperatives,” stated Ernest Ruzindaza, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture.

He added that the last two phases of RSSP recorded a significant impact among the beneficiaries where poverty reduced to 39 per cent from 65 per cent.

A report produced by the project (RSSP) indicates that 12 per cent of the beneficiaries were also connected to electricity.

World Bank country manager, Mimi Ladipo, was impressed by the performance of both VUP and RSSP programmes.

“I must say Rwanda is among the countries performing well in terms of aid efficiency, the results really are outstanding.”

She added that strengthening, improving, and availing quality data is among the bank’s mandate.

The cash is the last instalment of the Bank’s support towards the Rural Sector Support Project (RSSP3), now going into its third five-year phase.

The funds for the statistics project will go towards implementation of the five year National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) programme.

This will, in turn, facilitate statistical activities that will also entail 2012 Population and Housing Census whose activities are already underway.

“Statistics have been critical in informing our policymaking and therefore the support towards statistics for results is not only timely but will also inform our plans,” Rwangombwa observed.

He added that the funds come at a time when the government was drafting the second generation of EDPRS that will certainly require evidence-based policy formulation by ensuring quality and timeliness of statistical information, as well as making it accessible to users.

By Gertrude Majyambere, The New Times


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