The minister made the call during his address at the launch of a $3 million joint program on accelerating policy interventions in social protection in Rwanda with the United Nations support. The project will be implemented in five districts including Kirehe, Karongi, Burera, Nyamagabe, and Rutsiro.
As part of the program, low-income families will be supported financially to start micro-businesses and lift themselves out of poverty. From 2020 to 2022, the project will cost an estimated $3,040,000 (Rwf 2.8 billion)
The Fifth Integrated Household Living Survey (EICV5) that was conducted from October 2016 to October 2017 showed that the total population of Rwanda was 11.8 million and that 38.2% lived in poverty while 16.0% lived in extreme poverty.
Nyamasheke, Gisagara, Rulindo, Karongi, and Nyaruguru districts recorded the highest number of low-income and poor residents.
People who don’t earn at least Rwf 159, 375 in a year are counted below the poverty line while those who don’t earn at least Rwf 105, 064 in a year are counted extremely poor.
Minister Shyaka explained that the reason why the government of Rwanda initiated the project in the five districts is to eradicate the extreme poverty which still lingers there.
“For this program to maximize its full potential, district leaders must avoid embezzling funds at all costs and distribute them impartially so that only the extremely poor families can benefit from it. A joint effort is needed both from leaders and citizens to eradicate poverty.”
Fodé Ndiaye, One UN coordinator in Rwanda commended the efforts of the government of Rwanda in eradicating poverty over the past 25 years. However, he said that the number of people under the poverty line is still high particularly in rural areas where 32.1% are under the poverty line compared to 13.4% in cities. “Since 2013, the government of Rwanda initiated various projects to fight against poverty and that the new program will be an addition to lifting Rwandans out of poverty.”
Statistics show that in 2000/2001, 58.9% of Rwandans were under the poverty line, 56.7% in 2005/2006, 44.9% in 2010/11, 39.1% in 2013/14 and 38.2% in 2016/17.