Kigali, 7 February 2012

President Kagame has told Rwandans that attaining sustainable development is not only a socio-economic goal but a fundamental responsibility in their continuous task of building a stable, united and democratic nation.

While launching the second phase of EDPRS and the release of EICV3 and DHS4 reports, President Kagame pointed out that although statistics presented were impressive, there was more work to be done in order to lift more Rwandans out of poverty.

“I congratulate and thank all individuals, communities and partners who worked to reduce poverty and raise living standards of Rwandans. In the past 5 years more than one million Rwandans lifted themselves out of poverty. The EICV3 and DHS4 results confirm that Rwanda, with good partnership is on track to achieve most MDGs. This achievement is directly related to the successful implementation of our first EDPRS. Both surveys also reflect our commitment to evidence based policy making.”

President Kagame linked the achievements registered to four key factors; empowerment of communities to plan and implement programs that transform their lives through home grown initiatives such as Vision 2020 Umurenge Program, Umuganda and One Cow per Family among others.

President Kagame also pointed at strong institutions in central and local government, combined with accountable leadership, rejection of the notion of a “poverty trap” by Rwandans and good relations with development partners based on mutual respect and ownership of national programmes.

“There has been a mindset shift and Rwandans now know they should aspire for more and better, and that solutions are there within them. Organising communities and pushing for development is not an organic phenomenon; it is the duty of a responsible government. When we set our first EDPRS targets, some were skeptical about our ambitions but here we are celebrating the achievement of over 90% of our goals. This proves that any country can, and should, aspire to eradicate poverty and grow to middle-income. The results also show development support can work effectively and citizens benefit directly with the right frameworks in place.”

President Kagame observed that Rwandans are aware that challenges remain and that this served to instill an even greater sense of urgency to achieve Vision 2020.

“The second EDPRS will identify areas that require additional efforts and resources; and lay out strategies to accelerate progress. Key areas that require our attention have already been pinpointed: We have to improve access to markets through increased investments in infrastructure, especially our rural roads networks. Access to energy is crucial to our transformation efforts and although this has doubled in the past five years, it remains low. As we launch this second phase, let us bear in mind that attaining sustainable development is not only a socio-economic goal, but a fundamental responsibility in our continuous task of building a stable, united and democratic nation.”

Speaking on the behalf of Development Partners in Rwanda, the UN Resident Coordinator, Aurélien Agbénonci said:

“We applaud the forward looking vision of this country, the sustainable leadership and the resilience of the people of Rwanda. Quality data is a powerful tool in policy making, monitoring and evaluating Rwanda’s development policies and the achievement of MDGs.”

Prof. Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University who also attended the launch, said:

“What I see here is what should happen- it is what should happen all over Africa. Despite numerous impediments, Rwanda continues to achieve what others have failed to achieve. The combination of growth, reduction in poverty and more equity has been achieved nowhere else in Africa.”