Mid December 2017, while opening Umushyikirano, President Kagame laid out strategies for the government’s Seven Year development program and said that it would be “the beginning to take us to our vision of becoming a developed economy by 2050.
First, he said, “We have to maintain our good [development] path, but also continue fixing what went wrong.”
In Kagame’s view, “the state of our nation is something we should evaluate constantly. Is the pace of development as fast as we would like? Are we looking after the well-being of all Rwandans without leaving anyone behind?”This is a big plan, a big vision and a tall order that requires a pragmatic thinking.
The question was, how will Rwanda get there?
A joint study by the government of Rwanda and the World Bank Group has identified four essential and interdependent drivers of the desired growth.
Four master pieces to achieve the goal have finally been identified; innovation, integration, agglomeration, and competition.
The study emphasizes that these growth drivers need to be harnessed if Rwanda is to achieve its Vision 2050.
Building on its impressive economic success with growth of 7.5% on average over the decade to 2017, Rwanda’s Vision 2050 captures the country’s high aspirations for future security, prosperity, and modernity.
It sets a target of achieving upper-middle income status by 2035 and high-income status by 2050, thus sustaining high rates of inclusive economic growth will be vital.
Before the unveiling of the results from the study, the World Bank Group CEO, Kristalina Georgieva, met with President Kagame on Friday afternoon and held discussions surrounding Rwanda’s growth aspirations and the role the World Bank can play.
Was a pleasure meeting with @KGeorgieva. Enjoyed our productive meeting on #doingbusiness, strengthening our cooperation even further in Human Capital development,trade,infrastructure,energy, urbanization,agriculture.We appreciate Rwanda's outstanding partnership with World Bank! pic.twitter.com/6PAWrWJWBd
— Paul Kagame (@PaulKagame) November 9, 2018
Yesterday, Georgieva unveiled the report in the presence of senior management officials headed by the Prime Minister Dr. Edouard Ngirente, who left the World Bank last year to come serve his country at the request of President Kagame.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana attended the launch of the report as well.
Minister Ndagijimana said that fulfilling the ambitious aspirations of Rwandans as expressed in the Vision 2050, is not going to be an easy task.
“But learning from the experience of countries that successfully transitioned and from our own development experience shows that it is possible and that in some areas, transformation can be achieved fast – with the right interventions”, he said.
The study highlights that to boost the drivers of growth, reforms are needed in six key areas: (I) human capital development; (II) export dynamism and regional integration; (III) well-managed urbanization; (IV) competitive domestic enterprises; (V) agricultural modernization; and, (VI) capable and accountable public institutions.
“Over the last two decades, Rwanda has enjoyed impressive growth and made good progress in reducing poverty,” Georgieva said.
Thank you to @PaulKagame for a warm welcome and fantastic discussion about the future drivers of growth in #Rwanda, #DoingBusiness (congrats!) and #humancapital (great to partner with you) pic.twitter.com/LxY3vdutUw
— Kristalina Georgieva (@KGeorgieva) November 9, 2018
She noted that, “Now it aims to match its bold ambitions with smart reforms that will further unleash its potential.”
“Rwanda’s most precious asset is its people, and the World Bank has a strong partnership with the government that will accelerate investments in human capital in the years ahead,” she said.
The joint study argues that the hard work will begin in Rwanda’s classrooms, and that the country needs a massive effort to build human capital—its own education-focused ‘Marshall Plan’—to realize its ambitious growth targets.
This calls for a special emphasis on reducing stunting and improving access to and quality of basic education.
The ambitious growth targets will further require a major turnaround in productivity growth—the main source of long-term growth.
Higher productivity growth, in turn, has scale economies and economic specialization as its necessary ingredients.
For this, Rwanda must make the most of regional and global trade opportunities and capture the benefits of urbanization.
But to succeed in these areas, Rwanda will have to develop an even more capable and motivated domestic enterprise sector.
Such enterprises themselves will have three critical requirements: a strong ecosystem for technological innovation, world-class human capital, and robust institutions of governance.
This chain of priorities forms the high-growth strategy for Rwanda, as described by the four future drivers of growth and the six associated priority reform areas.
Rwanda is the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to have this kind of high-level joint study.
Rwanda is the third country across the world, after China and Vietnam, to have conducted a similar study. In China and Vietnam, similar reports remain a reference point for policymakers and development partners.
And just as the partnerships with China and Vietnam served as a model for this joint study, this report aims to inspire similar efforts in other countries.
It can also help other developing countries better understand Rwanda’s successful growth model, as they look to raise their game.
The joint study will also provide the basis for the World Bank Group to strengthen its partnership with Rwanda.
Tonight, Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente is hosting a dinner in honour of Mrs. Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank. pic.twitter.com/NPnf9OKGX8
— Office of the PM | Rwanda (@PrimatureRwanda) November 10, 2018
Primer Ngirente said that, “I must reiterate that the results of this study complement strategies that the government of Rwanda has already begun to implement in order to deal with some of the challenges like those related to human capital that were raised in this study.”
He added that, “Rwanda strongly values human capital as an important driver of high-income growth, and a foundation for sustainable prosperity.”
The Prime Minister said he has no doubt that the the recommendations from this report will serve as a key reference in the definitions of our future growth targets in key priority areas.
A stronger emphasis on human capital development is a key priority area in which the Bank would like to scale up its assistance, particularly as Rwanda is an early adopter of the Bank’s Human Capital Project.
This will complement Rwanda’s considerable focus on the business environment, as indicated by its strong performance in the latest World Bank’s Doing Business survey, which saw the country climb from 41 to 29 in the global rankings.
Building on World Bank’s $1.3 billion active program in Rwanda, the World Bank has also announced an additional $150 million that will be invested in primary education.
The Bank’s active program in Rwanda already includes agriculture, education, social protection and infrastructure programs, including energy, transport, urban development project, with support to affordable housing coming on line later this month.