Rwanda, where AGI’s first project began in 2008, is an extraordinary country. It is the most densely populated nation in Africa, with eleven million people living in a small mountainous country. It is also one of Africa's success stories. After the horrific events of the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has seen progress under the leadership of its President, Paul Kagame. Between 2000 and 2010, it was one of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. Over the past two years, it has been singled out by the World Bank for the reforms it has made to its business sector to bring in investment and create jobs. Alongside this Rwanda has made great progress towards the health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), halving infant mortality and under five mortality and bringing down the maternal mortality rate by two thirds since 2000. In its future strategy “Vision 2020”, the Rwandan government has set out its aim for Rwanda to become a middle income country by 2020.
But there are great challenges still to be overcome if this vision is to be achieved: half of the country’s population still live in poverty, and the capacity of government to tackle this is limited, given that the genocide destroyed the country’s already weak government and civil service structure.
That’s why the AGI Rwanda Project was launched in February 2008 at the request of the Government of Rwanda. A team of 8-10 staff have been on the ground in Kigali since July 2008, providing support to central institutions within the Government of Rwanda such as the Presidency, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Finance, the Public Sector Capacity Building Secretariat (PSCBS) and the Rwanda Development Board.
Furthermore, with support from AGI, Rwanda has developed the Strategic Capacity Building Initiative (SCBI). This innovative programme began with the Government defining a game-changing goal for each sector, and then identifying the capacity needs that stand in the way of achieving it. Long-term capacity assistance will now address the gaps the Government has identified while training 150 young Rwandans to do the job – and preparing them for future leadership roles. For example, SCBI will help the Ministry of Infrastructure implement a programme to double the number of households with mains electricity.
Building on AGI's successful partnership with the government to date, the SCBI will, uniquely for an initiative of its type, include support to the centre of government institutions responsible for setting priorities and coordinating delivery –the Presidency, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance.