Rwanda’s latest data release in 2011 shows enormous improvement in the living standards of citizens over the past five years, and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - eight internationally-agreed goals aimed at reducing poverty and improving education, health, gender equality and environmental sustainability by 2015.
Between 2006-2011, Rwanda has posted an average annual growth of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 8.4 percent, driven mainly by higher productivity in the agricultural and industrial sectors.
Importantly, the poor have benefited most from this growth spurt. The Government of Rwanda has developed their own homegrown initiatives in order to tackle poverty at the most local level. The “one-cow-per-family” programme, for example, provides families with milk for consumption and what is left over is sold for profit, improving nutrition and income at the household level.
Through government-led efforts the poverty rate fell from 56.7 percent in 2006 to 44.9 percent in 2011. If maintained over the longer term, this annual poverty reduction rate of 2.4 percent could put Rwanda in the company of Asian Tiger economies such as China, Vietnam and Thailand that have been able over many years to lift millions out of poverty while sustaining growth.
A mix of political will and economic growth is helping drive Rwanda’s success in alleviating poverty, despite challenges such as being landlocked and in a restive region, high population growth and density, and no natural resources.
The country’s leadership has articulated a vision and cultivated a unity of purpose among government officials and the population at large that puts the nation’s development first. This includes working on gender equality – Rwanda has the highest number of women in parliament at 56 percent - while tackling corruption and reducing bureaucracy has helped spur foreign investment.
UNDP is supporting the Rwandan Government with policy advice and technical assistance across several areas, including to the National Institute for Statistics that researched the recent data, to build their capacity to collect statistics for planning and policy making.
Related DocumentsCreating Value for all Doing Business with the Poor
This report focuses on what the private sector can do to include the poor in business as consumers, employees and producers. Building on UNDP’s track record of advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life, the report starts with the markets of the poor. It shows the challenges of doing business where markets suffer from a lack of information, infrastructure and institutions. But it also shows how businesses deal with these challenges—by devising inclusive business models that join business and the poor to create value for all.
“Vision 2020 Umurenge” is a new initiative by the Government of Rwanda (GoR) in collaboration with development partners and NGOs. It is led by the Ministry of Local Government, Good Governance, Community Development and Social Affairs (MINALOC) and supported by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN).