Rwanda’s comprehensive plan to uplift over 900,000 families from poverty

On 7 February 2024 at 11:36

The Minister of Local Government, Jean Claude Musabyimana, addressed the members of the Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, revealing that as of today, Rwanda has identified 975,680 families in need of assistance due to living in poverty.

This announcement, made on February 6, 2024, coincided with his presentation of the report from the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB).

The report highlighted that the current service delivery stands at 78.8%, falling short of Rwanda’s goal within the seven-year plan to achieve 90% good service delivery by 2024.

Musabyimana discussed the existing programs designed to alleviate citizens from poverty, acknowledging their limited reach in comparison to available resources.

This has led to dissatisfaction among those not reached, who perceive it as a denial of services by concerned leaders, thereby causing a surge in discontentment with local government services.

Musabyimana attributed these limitations to the country’s capacity, acknowledging that, of the 315,327 people currently in poverty-alleviation programs, additional individuals are gradually being included as resources become available.

Addressing anomalies in the selection process for beneficiaries, Musabyimana acknowledged well-known issues among leaders in choosing households for assistance.

He emphasized the need for addressing these issues and noted that some leaders engaging in improper practices are being punished. He also highlighted the problematic attitude of some individuals who expect constant assistance, leading to issues when it is not feasible.

To enhance accuracy and transparency in the provision of information on impoverished households, Musabyimana announced a shift to digital record-keeping. This initiative aims to reduce errors and enable better tracking to ensure that those selected for support are deserving recipients.

The Minister outlined plans to increase the government’s capacity to improve citizen welfare, expand outreach to all those in need, and encourage active participation in poverty-alleviation programs. He acknowledged the challenges of limited resources, emphasizing the importance of managing expectations.

The poverty alleviation program, launched in November 2023, involves a two-year commitment for participants.

The government collaborates with partners, and depending on increased means, additional individuals may be included. Participants make agreements regarding their expected progression out of poverty, setting annual goals and adopting strategies for implementation.

While Rwanda has made significant strides in poverty reduction, with rates declining from 60.4% in 2000 to 38.2% in 2017 and extreme poverty dropping from 40% to 16% over the same period, poverty alleviation remains a key focus of Rwanda’s Vision 2050.

The nation is committed to transforming lives by eradicating extreme poverty by 2024 through the implementation of the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1).

Analysis from the 2022 National Population and Housing Census reveals that 887,508 individuals are living in extreme poverty, with an additional 3,139,395 in moderate poverty, totaling 4,026,903 people, which comprises 30.4% of the population.

Rural areas bear the brunt of poverty, with 3,502,686 individuals (37.3%) affected, compared to 13.4% in urban areas.

At the provincial level, both the Western and Southern provinces exhibit similar poverty rates of 35%, with the percentage dropping to 34.6% in the Eastern Province and significantly lower to 9.5% in Kigali City. Notably, the 2012 census identified the Western and Eastern provinces as having the highest poverty rates at 42% each.

At the district level, poverty rates vary, with districts like Gisagara, Nyanza, Rutsiro, Nyamagabe, Ngororero, Nyaruguru, Gatsibo, Nyagatare, and Ngoma experiencing rates ranging between 37% and 45%.

Conversely, districts such as Rulindo, Muhanga, Rwamagana, Musanze, and Gakenke boast poverty rates below 30%. Within Kigali City, Kicukiro showcases the lowest poverty rate at 6.7%, followed by Nyarugenge at 9% and Gasabo at 11.1%.

Individuals aged 30 to 44 constitute the majority of the population living in poverty, with the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) attributing their vulnerability to poverty to the establishment of independent households.

Regarding government services like Mutuelle de Sante, subscriptions are increasing alongside capacity building. Out of the 1,264,467 individuals expected to pay for themselves in the 2023/2024 financial year, 1,057,600 have already paid 100%, equivalent to 83.6% of those required to subscribe for Community Based Health Insurance (CBHI).

Musabyimana discussed the existing programs designed to alleviate citizens from poverty, acknowledging their limited reach in comparison to available resources.