Parliament, 16 December 2013
- Leaders of Rwandan Higher Institutions; Distinguished Guests;
- Excellencies Ambassadors and Representatives of International Organisations;
- Fellow Rwandans;
We meet today so that we present to Rwandans, friends of Rwanda and our development partners the state of our nation over the past year. It is also an opportunity to convey best wishes for the New Year we are about to start.
First of all, we can take satisfaction that security and stability in our country continue to prevail. Residents of Rwanda feel safe and secure wherever they are; go about their work freely throughout the country at any time of the day. Visitors to Rwanda also recognise and appreciate the level of security in the country.
This is the same stability and security we wish for other countries as well.
Rwanda’s stability affords us the basis to continue to work on building our economy and achieve other things, as this year’s figures indicate..
The first two quarters of this year show an economic growth of 6.6% and this figure is projected to increase. This rate is by all accounts high compared to other countries on our continent and even globally As you all know, we faced severe challenges in 2012, and for us to be able to register such growth is remarkable and we could even have done better.
There is ample evidence for this. To begin with, by the end of November export revenues grew to 489 million dollars – a 27.2% increase over last year. Moreover, most of the exports are from agriculture, a sector in which the majority of Rwandans are involved.
We are also pleased that the East African Commodities Exchange was launched this year, which will benefit farmers by providing a permanent market for their products.
Our mining sector continues to grow. In the first six months of this year, we registered 30 million dollars in mining revenue compared to 39 million dollars for the whole of 2012. Given this performance, we anticipate that this year’s mining receipts will be double those of last year.
Rwanda continues to attract significant investments. The World Bank Doing Business report ranked Rwanda second in Africa and 32nd globally, up from 52nd in 2012.
As you know, from our Eurobond offer, we received 400 million dollars , which was oversubscribed 8 times over. This signifies the trust Rwanda enjoys in world financial capital markets.In general, investment in the first six months of this year stood at 456 million dollars, compared to 538 million dollars for the whole of last year.
Tourism continues to be our top foreign exchange earner. Between January and October this year, Rwanda received over 714 who brought in 217 million dollars into our economy, a 4% increase over 2012.
This year also saw growth in financial services by banks, SACCOs as well as other financial institutions.
Between September 2012 and September 2013, bank deposits banks grew by almost 20% and loans granted increased by 13%.
The insurance industry expanded this year with new institutions entering the Rwandan market, resulting in a 22% increase in their assets.
Agriculture continues to be a significant factor in economic growth and will grow by an estimated 5.4% this year. Rwandan tea and coffee continue to be recognised globally for their quality.
It is critical that we continue to increase agricultural productivity in the coming years and enhance value addition. We must also further develop the practice of rain harvesting to mitigate the effects of the dry seasons.
The Girinka program is advancing well and has changed the lives of many Rwandans. 184 thousand cows have been distributed so far, which has helped many Rwandans lift themselves from poverty and improved their nutritional needs.
Friends of Rwanda,
The national electrification and water distribution programmes are progressing. However, we have to intensify our efforts so that these utilities can be accessed by all Rwandans in the shortest time possible because the pace so far is unsatisfactory.
Construction of new roads and rehabilitation of old ones is underway. This will boost local and regional trade. It is on this note that we welcome cooperation between EAC nations in efforts to fastrack energy, infrastructure and related projects.
In education, we are encouraged by the increase of the number of students this year. Enrolment in Nursery and Primary schools increased by 7% this year, while that in secondary schools increased by 6% compared to last year.
At university level, the number of students increased from 76,629 last year, to 84,448 this year, equivalent to a 10% increase.
Also this year, the Government put a lot of emphasis on vocational training. The budget for vocational training was increased from 10.5 billion Rwf. to 30.5 Billion Rwf.
The number of students attending vocational schools increased by 15% atsecondary school level and 47% at tertiary level, compared to last year.
It is also worth noting that this year all public universities were merged to create one University of Rwanda. This is aimed at improving the quality of education, pooling and utilizing university resources better and streamlining the planning of university education. The Government of Rwanda will continue to focus on education because we recognise that education is one of the pillars that will help us attain the development that we want.
In the health sector, we are happy that the number of hospitals and health centres, as well as doctors and nurses working in them increased this year. Here, as examples of new hospitals, we can mention of Ruhango, Kinihira and Bushenge, which are already operational. High level health centres started operating this year in Kanyinya, Mageragere, Remera and Gatenga.
In terms of capacity building for doctors, the Rwanda Government has entered into a 7-year agreement with several American universities to teach and train Rwandan doctors. In addition to this, 50 doctors have gone for further training in various countries abroad, while 150 others are undertaking their training in Rwanda.
The number of women giving birth in hospitals has increased to 86% this year. That of women dying while giving birth has decreased significantly. The number of children immunized has reached 95% and they are immunized against at least 12 diseases. Incidents of children dying before the age of 5 have also reduced.However, we must put more effort in preventing such deaths.
Due to Government efforts, in collaboration with concerned agencies, diseases that had become endemic such as malaria, tuberculosis and others have reduced significantly.For instance, deaths caused by malaria have reduced by 5.5% and our aim is complete eradication of malaria so that no Rwandan should die from the disease.
Concerning medical insurance, statistics show that we are at 81%, and it is our wish to see every Rwanda have easy access to healthcare.This is the reason we have to double our efforts to ensure that universal health insurance reaches every Rwandan.
The justice sector in Rwanda has also made steady progress and this is irreversible. That is why the International community has shown confidence by sending to us Rwandans who are suspected of crimes committed here so that they can be tried in our own courts. This year, the European Court of Human Rights declared that the justice system in Rwanda is working well and meets international standards.
I am also pleased to say that an association of professional court bailiffs has been formed. There is no doubt that this is another important step in the development of our judicial system, and this association will be highly beneficial to all Rwandans. More efforts need to be put into expediting court proceedings so that we maintain the progress we have made.
- Distinguished guests;
- Fellow Rwandans;
- Friends of Rwanda;
We cannot fail to mention that overall the state of Governance has improved in our country. Electing leaders at every level of leadership has now become part of our culture.
And I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Rwandans for their great level of participation during the last parliamentary elections which went very well. If there were flaws, they were negligible and will be corrected next time. The number of female Members of Parliament elected shows that women are taking an important part in the leadership and development of our country. Also, the youth continue to be empowered in recognition of their contribution as the present and future of our nation.
But we have to put more efforts into providing better services at all levels, with special emphasis on the local level because that’s where the population needs it the most. We may be doing well if we compare ourselves to others, but we should be convinced that there is much more that we need to improve. What we have achieved shows that we have the potential to do better.
I cannot end this address without reminding you all about two things: The first is that we are now part of different regional organisations. And that’s the right thing to do because we have to work with others on our path to development. This will no doubt bring us great benefits.
The second thing is that for us to be able to contribute to those international bodies as well as get some benefits ourselves, we as Rwandans always have to have our own value. That is the main purpose of the new initiative that we have started of Ndi Umunyarwanda. It is therefore important that we keep supporting it, because it’s the right way towards the development we aspire to attain.
Next year, we will be commemorating the Genocide for the 20th time and we will also celebrate our Liberation. In that respect, I would like to sincerely thank all Rwandans, as well as all our partners, for what we have achieved together in building our country. Together we have faced many difficult challenges, and managed to resolve most of them. There is no doubt that with increased collaboration, unity and collective strength, we will reach many more of our goals in the coming years.
As I said at the beginning, I would like to wish all of you who are here, all Rwandans in general, as well as all of those who live in Rwanda, a happy new year 2014 and may you end 2013 well.
May it be a prosperous and fruitful year for you and your families.
Thank you, have a good evening and may God bless you.