Rwanda’s institutions and governance will need to become modern, innovative, accountable to citizens, and rooted in the rule of law in order to fulfill the country’s Vision 2050 aspirations, Minister for Local Government Jean Claude Musabyimana, has said.
Musabyimana made the call on Monday, November 13, during a stakeholders engagement meeting organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB).
Dubbed “Fostering Partnerships for Effective Transformational Governance”, the meeting convened several stakeholders in the governance sector, among others, discuss how to strengthen and promote effective, accountable, and transformational governance.
Minister Musabyimana said that the theme of the meeting aligns with Rwanda’s vision which reaffirms that governance and effective institutions constitute a key pillar of the socio-economic transformation of Rwanda.
“They are prerequisites to achieve the national agenda in all sectors,” Musabyimana said, “To fulfill the vision 2050 aspirations, Rwanda’s institutions and governance will need to become modern, innovative, accountable to citizens, and rooted in the rule of law.”
Minister Musabyimana also hailed development partners such as the UNDP, citing that, “they have endlessly contributed to the promotion and the strengthening of governance in Rwanda.”
After the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994 that claimed more than a million lives, state reconstruction was the priority, Musabyimana pointed out.
“Rwanda began the journey of state rebuilding by restoring peace, security, unity, and reconciliation of Rwandans as key pillars of national building.”
He said that the country was committed to building a state governed by the rule of law, based on the respect for human rights, and freedom, and on the principle of equality of all Rwandans before the law, as well as gender equality.
“Rwanda committed further to rebuilding a state based on a consensual and pluralistic democracy founded on power sharing, national unity, and reconciliation, good governance, decentralization policy, development, social justice tolerance and resolution of our problems through dialogue.”
“Rwanda, for the last 29 years, in collaboration with citizens and development partners, has focused its efforts on building a strong governance system, primacy of national security, inclusiveness of all political stakeholders, including women, youth, persons with disability, academia, civil society organizations, faith-based organizations, among others,” he said.
The government, he pointed out, has also rejected confrontational politics that fueled the genocide against Tutsi, and instead embraced consensual democracy.
An inspiring journey
Speaking virtually at the forum, Mathias Naab, Director -of UNDP Regional Service Center for Africa maintained that while Africa faces significant challenges, including global crises and rising inequalities, Rwanda’s inspiring journey from the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi to a leading example on the continent is a testament to resilience.
For instance, he said, Rwanda’s governance and peace-building efforts are commendable, reflected in global rankings. The World Justice Project placed Rwanda 41st globally, and the Mo Ibrahim Index ranked it 12th in Africa for overall governance.
These achievements, he said, showcase visionary leadership, political will, robust institutions, innovation, and homegrown solutions, “making Rwanda an inspiration for the entire continent.”
“At UNDP, we prioritize governance as a crucial element for economic transformation. SDG 16, advocating for peaceful and inclusive societies with accountable institutions, is integral to achieving the broader SDGs.”
Matthias Naab said that UNDP has identified three priority areas essential for driving the economic transformation.
“First, we prioritize People, embedding Rwanda’s slogan “umuturage ku isonga” (citizens at the center) in our approach. In the context of a renewed social contract, we aim for enhanced citizen participation, especially from youth and women, in policymaking and implementation at all levels.”
“Recognizing Africa’s demographic growth, we believe the continent’s citizens, with proper governance, can drive growth in sectors like agriculture and manufacturing.”
Second, he said, our focus is on Prosperity, aiming for an inclusive economy benefiting all Africans.
“The AfCFTA is a key framework for this priority, potentially increasing intra-African trade by 25% by 2040 and triggering significant consumer and business spending.”
“Third, we emphasize Peace, understanding that development is inseparable from peace. Empowering African citizens socially and economically is vital for peaceful coexistence. Despite positive developments, challenges like military coups, violent extremism, and inequality persist.”
All not rosy
While notable achievements have been registered, challenges and opportunities still remain, and according to Minister Musabyimana, the loopholes require a comprehensive and adaptable approach that aligns with the evolving global context and the emerging challenges faced by Rwandans.
Reflecting on the just-concluded 10th edition of Rwanda Governance Scorecard, Musabyimana said that there are some indicators that are highly scored and others still low in performance.
“We need, however, to put joint efforts to improve on indicators that are still lagging behind like quality of service delivery which stands at 78.2 percent, economic corporate governance (79.2 percent) investment in the human and social development, and service delivery performance in local administration.”
“We still have a lot to do to achieve the targets,” he added, “Rwanda will not work alone, alone to address the challenges as mentioned in Rwanda governance scorecard. Therefore, we wish to jointly collaborate and partner with government stakeholders in order to achieve transformational governance.”
Meanwhile, several panel sessions called for an urgent need to boost productivity and create more jobs to ensure growth for inclusive economic prosperity, citing that it ought to be coupled with the integration of green solutions in development and addressing barriers for equal access.