Kigali, 5 August 2013
President Bill Clinton and Ms. Chelsea Clinton;
Leaders of our Country present here;
Representatives of the Clinton Health Access Initiative and Clinton Global Initiative;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is my great pleasure to welcome you again to Rwanda, President Bill Clinton, your daughter Chelsea, and members of your delegation. I also want to assure you that here in Rwanda you are always amongst family and friends.
The Rwandan people appreciate your support and partnership in various initiatives that have contributed to their wellbeing and the development of our country. These include care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS, upgrading our laboratory systems, health financing, fighting against acute malnutrition, and most recently, the programme to improve our medical education and health management.
Today, we are delighted to start a new partnership to combat chronic malnutrition.
In Rwanda we have made significant progress in achieving food security; what we have to focus on is to ensure that there is also nutrition security. We are convinced that combating malnutrition effectively should be part and parcel of poverty reduction and economic development. In any case, at this point in time, malnutrition is unacceptable in Rwanda, and indeed anywhere else in the world.
This partnership, therefore, comes at an opportune moment when we are launching our second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy. The plant to manufacture fortified baby foods will ensure that infants and pregnant and lactating women in Rwanda have access to healthy, nutritious food all year round.
Furthermore, it will serve as an engine for economic development because it will use locally produced foods such as maize, soy beans and milk, all purchased from small holder farmers, thereby increasing their incomes and improving their livelihoods.
There is no doubt that it will also lead to improved agricultural productivity through low cost financing, the purchase of seeds and fertilisers, and through modern harvesting, sorting and storage techniques.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
I am pleased to say that this initiative comes as a complement to ongoing national programmes such as Girinka, whereby Government and individual citizens have donated around 170,000 cows to poor families.
The Government has also put in place a programme to provide free milk to 80,000 school children in the poorest areas of our country. In addition, households have been encouraged to set up kitchen gardens for vegetables with a view to improving their dietary needs.
In all this, we are keenly aware that to achieve nutritional security requires coordinated action by different partners: Government, philanthropic organisations, multilateral agencies, the private sector and civil society.
This particular initiative illustrates the kind of partnership that will have greater impact, and this is the way for the future.
We should also emphasize here that the factory that will be producing the fortified nutritious food will benefit many more people in our region, leading to the elimination of hunger and malnutrition and improving livelihoods.
The Government of Rwanda is fully committed to this project and we wish to assure you, President Clinton – and our other partner, the World Food Programme – that we will do everything possible to ensure that it is a success. Rwandans certainly stand to gain most from it and, as pioneers, the success of this initiative will spur the growth of similar ventures in other countries with the same nutritional needs.
I thank you all for your kind attention.