Kigali, 9 December 2011

President Kagame today met with Tony Blair, who is in Rwanda to support the next phase of the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), which started three years ago. President Kagame and Tony Blair commended the establishment of the innovative Strategic Capacity Building Initiative (SCBI) aimed at addressing crucial capacity constraints in a sustainable way and facilitating the achievement of Rwanda’s national development goals.

Mr Blair said; “This innovative programme reflects the increasingly important role the Government of Rwanda has taken as a leader in aid effectiveness. Last week in Busan we discussed how Africa can lead its own development, Rwanda is showing us how. The SCBI is truly government led, owned and managed, driven by the priorities the Government has clearly laid out. It is a huge step forward for true country ownership which sees African governments take charge of their own development.”

The SCBI targets improved delivery in both the centre of Government and relevant Ministries and Agencies working on the four key national priorities that consist of agricultural production; mining development; access to electricity; and private sector growth.

In his address to the High Level Summit on Aid Effectiveness in Busan last week, President Kagame spoke of Rwanda’s partnership with the African Governance Initiative as a good example of capacity building.

“While donors may not be entirely to blame for bypassing these systems where they are weak, or non-functional, why not use aid to build up and strengthen such critical systems? A case in point is the partnership between Rwanda’s government and Mr Tony Blair’s African Governance Initiative, which uses embedded support to balance fast implementation of development programmes and transfer of skills.”

Earlier on Friday, Mr Blair was the special guest at a discussion forum chaired by the Minister of Finance, John Rwangombwa, where senior officials from institutions directly involved in SCBI shared experiences of delivery and reaffirmed cross Government commitment to the new progamme.

Minister Rwangombwa said; “The Strategic Capacity Building Initiative is demand driven. It is based on Rwanda’s national development agenda and focused on our delivery priorities. This allows us to secure targeted support to meet our needs, rather than merely accepting whatever is offered. Today’s discussion served to take stock as we start to implement this initiative and progress so far is satisfactory. Tony Blair advised us on how to drive this program in order to achieve the results we want. What is important is that the international experts succeed in mentoring Rwandan experts so that by the time they leave at the end of the four year period we will have significantly increased local capacity in our institutions.”

The SCBI has begun recruitment of 41 international experts who will work with 61 high caliber local counterparts who will form the next generation of Rwanda civil servants. The program has received funding support from the World Bank, African Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme.