2016: World Bank has ranked Rwanda as the 2nd easiest Place to Do Business on the continent. Click here to download the report.
2015: Gallup Global Emotions Report ranks Rwanda as the safest place to walk at night in Africa and 5th globally. Click here to get the statistics.
2015: In the Global Competitiveness Report the World Bank identified Rwanda as 1 of the 6 cities that exemplify 'global competitiveness. Click here for more information.
2015: UN Human Development Index ranks Rwanda as the world's fastest developing country. Click here for more information.
2015: The Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International ranks Rwanda as the fourth least corrupt country in Africa and 44th globally. Click here to download the index.
Rwanda Achievements - Background Info
The 1994 Tutsi Genocide originated from bad governance that characterised both the first and second republics, Rwanda paid great attention to good governance. During His Excellency Paul KAGAME’s seven year (2003-2010) term of office, Rwanda has registered great successes in various sectors and programmes owing to his visionary leadership.
September 2007 saw the Government of Rwanda launch the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS), which is a mid-term framework building upon the development aspirations of vision 2020 and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Working towards the country’s long-term goals EDPRS builds upon strong achievements in human capital and has identified three programmes:
1.Sustainable growth for jobs and exports – aimed at systematically reducing the operational costs of doing business, increasing the capacity to innovate and widening and strengthening the financial sector
2.Vision 2020 Umurenge – aims to accelerate the rate of poverty reduction by promotion of pro-poor components of the national growth agenda.
3.Governance – the anchor of the strategy builds upon Rwanda’s reputation as a country with zero tolerance for corruption and creates a regional “soft infrastructure” for the private sector.
The EDPRS has redefined the country’s priorities and advocates a different way of doing things in Rwanda, in particular it argues for decentralisation and greater government accountability. Additionally, it identified four crosscutting issues: HIV/AIDS, gender, the environment and social inclusion to be integrated into all sector reviews and budgets. This cross-cutting approach has shown the government’s commitment to vulnerable sectors and also recognises the interlinking of the programmes and their results. Integral to the success of the flagship programmes is a rigorous monitoring and evaluation system, with clear indicators by which to measure success and to link progress in one area to the progress in another. The GDP growth rate which has grown from 6.5 per cent in 2006 has steadily increased to a projected 7.5 per cent in 2010/2011 and has directly affected people’s lives with a 6.9 per cent reduction of the percentage of the population living in extreme poverty and is on target to reach the goal of 24 per cent in 2012. One example of a specific success due to the EDPRS is the targeted areas of focus for export, and in particular, tourism.
Tourism is Rwanda’s largest foreign exchange earner and is fast emerging as a lucrative industry. In the last few years, the government has officially relaunched the tourism sector with a new approach: developing a sustainable tourism industry to increase revenues. The tremendous growth in the tourism sector in Rwanda is largely attributed to excellent security within the country and innovative approaches taken by government to promote Rwanda as a tourist destination on the international scene. The World Tourism Exhibition, which takes place in Berlin, has seen Rwanda win ‘Best exhibitor’ for four years running. The most well known attraction for visitors to Rwanda is the mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes in the northern part of Rwanda. Government has taken conservation and protection of these endangered species seriously, to the extent that even local communities neighbouring the Volcanoes Park now look upon gorillas as a national treasure.
Many more tourist attractions have emerged and been improved over the last few years, including the Akagera National Park, the Nyungwe National Park, the Lake Kivu trail and accompanying boat trips and bird watching tours, not to mention the vast number of restaurants and hotels that have sprung up or the high quality of craft products to admire and purchase. Very soon, Rwanda will be known as the destination on a tour to East Africa.
For Rwanda to shift and become a knowledge based economy by the year 2020, RURA has already authorised the laying of 4,732 km of fibre-optic networks nationwide and in 2009 alone, the agency issued 118 sites building permit for the building of Mobile Communication towers. The agency is playing a crucial role in Rwanda’s big switch from analogue to terrestrial digital broadcasting, planned to be effective in December 2012.
During 2009, RURA adopted 13 recommendations of the International Telecommunication Union, which have helped to protect both the social and physical environment from the potentially negative impact of infrastructure development, while taking care not to restrict essential development. Through its ICT sector RURA has developed guidelines encouraging “infrastructure sharing” the joint use of telecommunications facilities by two or more operators to avoid duplication.
The ICT Bus Project, an initiative being implemented by RDB through the eRwanda Project, is helping bridge the digital divide affecting the rural populations of Rwanda. It is a mobile computer lab that benefits farmers, traders, students, women, youth groups, entrepreneurs and other rural based Rwandans. The ICT buses are essentially mobile telecentres or cybercafés that provide access to information through the Internet and other multimedia facilities. Each bus is equipped with 20 computers that are networked and connected to the Internet. Each bus is also equipped with a printer, a photocopier, a scanner and other necessary ICT multi-media facilities.
One major project that RDB is embarking on is the National Fibre Optic Broadband Backbone. A network of 2,300km of high capacity lines interconnecting all the 30 districts and border posts in Rwanda will be installed and fully commissioned by May 2011. The Backbone will consist of four pipes, which will be reserved for leasing to other operators, and one will be equipped with 72-48 fibre cores, capable of transporting high speed data voice, and video traffic to 2020. The government will only use one of the pipes (to provide connections to 97 government agencies in Kigali, 226 public institutions located in the districts and border posts); the other three pipes will be leased to private sector service providers through an open access policy.
As Kigali Metropolitan Area Network nears completion, RDB is embarking on a WIBRO/WIMAX (wireless broadband) project that will allow people to easily access the Internet from anywhere. The $11 million USD cutting edge project will provide broadband wireless technology on a commercial basis to up to 100,000 public and private sector users. Phase one of the project focuses on Kigali City and already, 90 per cent of Kigali City has coverage. The second phase will expand the service into other major towns and cities. The WIBRO network should be operational and provide commercial services within the first half of 2010.
The Government has been keen on enhancing collaboration and complementarity between the private sector and the public sector. A forum has been created whereby the private sector in the country meets His Excellency the President for discussions and are often invited to inter-ministerial coordination committee meetings. A Rwanda trade map showing the location of business opportunities as well as items found therein has been published. The Private Sector Federation is today represented in all districts of the county. In each Province and City of Kigali, the Federation has registered all investments and businesses. Business laws, commercial courts and their chambers were revised. Reforms were carried out to in public institutions in order to enhance service delivery and the performance of the private sector.
With Rwanda experiencing unprecedented levels of growth, infrastructural expansion and improvement is pivotal to sustainable economic development. The Government of Rwanda is committed to rebuilding, expanding and improving the infrastructure of the country in order to facilitate growth and the commitment is evidenced by the allocation of 24 per cent of the total national budget to infrastructure in 2009.
The challenging infrastructure inherited in 2003 has added directly to the high costs of doing business in Rwanda, which is one of the reasons it has been made such a priority by the government. The government is on a mission to improve the road system, and since 2003 new roads have been built and others have been reconstructed. For example, the road from Kigali to Bugesera was completed in 2006, which has made a huge difference linking Kigali to the south and also Burundi. Similarly, the Nyamata-Nemba road and the Kicukiro-Kirundo roads have been completed, amongst others. Rwanda is the only country in the region with highly improved sidewalks, for pedestrians, and tunnels and bridges both in urban and rural areas are well maintained.
Emphasis has been put on decentralization of administration and involvement of the population in decision-making. The country’s administrative structures were revised to accord a wider mandate to the cell and sector levels. Sectors hold a weekly assembly where people come together to find solutions to problems facing them and also hold their leaders accountable. Districts sign performance contracts with the President every year and this has ensured rapid development in the rural areas. Poverty alleviation programmes like HIMO (intensive manpower), UMURENGE SACCO (savings and credit cooperatives), UBUDEHE and others have been introduced around the country and are paying big dividends. Today, districts plan their own development projects in conjunction with their stakeholders and there has been a registered increase in national budget allocations and the Common Development Fund (CDF) to districts.
In Rwanda, leaders are elected at many different levels including local government, referendum, legislative and presidential. NEC is responsible for running elections for these positions as well as any other elections as may be mandated by the law. The NEC ensures that these elections are free, fair and owned by the people. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) is the autonomous body responsible for preparing and conducting free, fair and transparent elections to promote democracy and good governance in Rwanda. Since its inception in 2000, NEC has established itself as an independent electoral body.
The National Electoral Commission (NEC) is the autonomous body responsible for preparing and conducting free, fair and transparent elections to promote democracy and good governance in Rwanda. Since its inception in 2000, NEC has established itself as an independent electoral body. The mandate of the NEC includes preparing and organising elections and Publishing the results; collaborating with government institutions such as Parliament, Supreme Court and Ministry of Local Government; and, developing relationship with national and international organisations and foreign missions in Rwanda.
The end of the twentieth century saw Rwanda at the crossroads of history; it could either allow itself to go down the road of abject poverty and conflict or it could turn towards a new world of opportunity and growth. In 1998 - 1999 a national consultative process took place in Village Urugwiro to help Rwanda transition from the humanitarian assistance phase associated with the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi into one of sustainable development. As a result in July 2000, the Government of Rwanda published Vision 2020, a document which clearly outlined where Rwanda was, where it wanted to be, and how it was going to get there by the year 2020. The government asked for an honest and personal analysis of the country and its peoples. It posed difficult questions: How do Rwandans envisage their future? What kind of society do they want to become? How can they construct a united and inclusive Rwandan identity? What are the transformations needed to emerge from a deeply unsatisfactory social and economic situation? The answers to these questions framed the document, which has now become a national roadmap to success. You can mention Vision 2020 to any Minister, waiter or fruit merchant and they can tell you how it has provided Rwanda with the goal of uniting its people and achieving economic growth and success.
According to the 2008 Transparency International Report, corruption is one of the most formidable challenges to good governance, development and poverty reduction in Africa. It has been said that corruption in Africa is like an advanced cancer or tumour that cannot be treated. From one end of the continent to the other, corruption has tragically devastated African societies and made millions of people destitute. Corruption cases have been registered from the offices of presidents and prime Minister to the smallest administration unit of government.
Rwanda performs relatively well in terms of government effectiveness, compared to several of its neighbours. The fight against corruption is one of the government’s official priorities and the media consistently reports on the government “aggressive” stand against corruption.
Although few would have thought it possible just 16 years after the genocide against the Tutsi devastated the country, the Rwanda of today is one of the safest nations in Africa. Rwanda is no longer a by-word for ‘genocide’ and is now associated with a safe, secure and calm country where people want to do business, where young people can walk the streets late at night and where citizens are safe in the knowledge that their borders are secure.
This is true not only for Rwandans but also for the international community, who are coming to work and live in the country in increasing numbers. But it has been a long journey to reach this stage of security. In the crime report, which showed a drop of six per cent in reported crimes, many of which are classified as petty crimes. A mere 12,000 crimes in total were recorded countrywide in 2009, with drug and alcohol abuse top amongst them. Theft is decreasing in Kigali, with only 80 cases reported in a three-month period. Petty theft cases dropped by 38 per cent in the first half of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. The police have put the decline in criminal activity down to their renewed focus on community policing, which places more emphasis on involving all areas of society in the safety and security of the country.
After the genocide of 1994 most of the population had been displaced and the country was still being subjected to violent attacks from Interahamwe and ex-Armed Forces of Rwanda (FAR) militias from within the country and over the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). When the Government of National Unity took office in July 1994, it immediately set out to establish peace and security. Since then the government and the people of Rwanda have been working hard to ensure their country remains safe, secure and peaceful.
The Rwanda Defence Forces and Police underwent various forms of training in and out of the country in a bid to build to make them professional forces. The Police force increased by 124% (3,914 in 2003 and 8,773 in 2010). People were encouraged to participate in ensuring their own security through night patrols and joint community policing committees. In a sign of confidence in the abilities of the country’s army, the Rwandan Defence Force, its soldiers are currently involved in peace-keeping missions on behalf of the African Union and the United Nations.
The country’s leadership reached out to various countries with the aim of promoting good relations, collaboration and cooperation. The President of the Republic attended several functions abroad to officially receive various awards given to Rwanda and its people in recognition of excellent performance in issues like the renouncing the death penalty, promoting gender equality, good governance and others. Rwanda’s relationship with France was restored and the two countries exchanged Ambassadors. New embassies as well as diplomatic antennas were opened in different parts of the world. New modalities were put in place to help Rwandans living abroad to be able to contribute to their country. The “One Dollar Campaign”, where RwF 881 Million in cash and RwF 164 Million in pledges for resettling genocide orphans were collected is a direct result of this initiative.
Rwanda committed herself strongly to international organisations, such as becoming a member of the Commonwealth on 29 November 2009, and of the East African Community (EAC), in July 2007, where it has representatives in EALA, judges and other senior technical staff.
At the ninth ordinary summit of head of states held on 26th June 2008 here in Kigali a year after Rwanda and Burundi’s accession to the EAC, President Paul Kagame was elected the Chairman of the trade bloc, taking over from his Ugandan counterpart President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. With a one and a half years term in office, many expectations and demands were raised at the first ever East African Investment Conference. These expectations included, among others, expediting the integration process to promote trade and investment in the region through trade facilitation. A year later, the scorecard for President Kagame‘s term was impressive, with considerable development achieved.
It was during his term that the Customs Union became fully fledged. He called upon member states to align their respective national policies in order to make the Customs Union a meaningful success. Tremendous achievements have been registered in this area. Rwanda and Burundi’s major concern at the time was revenue loss in the short-run. However, losses have been mitigated through compensation mechanisms. President Kagame’s last milestone was the historical signing of the Common Market Protocol in Arusha, Tanzania on the 20th November 2009 marking the beginning of the passing of a region of individual states competing with each other and branding the East African Community as a single investment and tourism destination through the annual investment conference started with President Kagame’s term.
This has seen increased intra-EAC investments and trade between EAC and other countries in Africa and beyond. The East African Business Council (EABC), also established during his term has been key in promoting trade in the region. President Kagame always emphasised the need to develop infrastructure and to remove non-tariff barriers to improve the business climate of the region. Today initiatives such as opening the borders 24 hours a day and the initiation of the EAC infrastructure development fund are among other successes attributed to his EAC leadership. As a result the EAC, in its strategic plan, is now poised to attract major infrastructure development investments in rail, road, air and water transport. He left office as the COMESA-EACSADC tripartite process to establish a grand free trade area of over a half a billion people was proceeding well.
The Government of Rwanda, under the leadership of President Paul Kagame, has made women’s empowerment and inclusion a hallmark of recovery and reconstruction. This approach has been globally hailed as novel in both intent and scope. In May 2003, Rwanda adopted one of the world’s most progressive constitutions in terms of its commitment to equal rights for all, gender equality and women’s representation. The preamble references the 1979 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Title One of the Rwandan constitution establishes the equality of all Rwandans and is to be ensured, in part, by granting women at least 30 per cent of posts in all decision-making bodies. The government has put in place numerous policies to empower women; in addition to policies created to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the President has carved out specific areas he believes will accelerate development and increase the participation of women in all walks of Rwandan life. These areas include:
Implementation of a Family Policy, with greater emphasis on Children’s rights
Support programmes which seek to eradicate the Feminization of poverty, like the women guarantee fund, credit funds at district level
Repeal laws which are not gender sensitive
Increase opportunities for women to take up decision-making positions in both the public and the private sector
Encourage women to participate in educational programmes at all levels; women in Parliament Rwanda on top of the world
Rwanda has made substantial progress towards gender empowerment, most notably with the achievement of 64 per cent female representation in Parliament, ranking this Nation first in the world in terms of female representation in government. There are similarly high levels of female representation at all levels of government. These achievements are supported by strong institutional measures, including policy and budgetary commitments in connection to the Economic Development Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) process, which seeks to bring gender equality into the mainstream of government policy-making.
The Government has invested heavily in creating a country governed by the rule of law and respect for human rights to steer the clear of Rwanda’s troubled past which was characterised by dictatorship, nepotism, segregation based on ethnicity and regionalism, corruption and injustice as well as a culture of impunity which culminated into the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi. The Government decided to entrench a decentralized system of rendering reconciliatory and participatory justice and at the same time review and modernize it to create a system capable of fighting injustice and corruption, genocide and abuse of human rights. An effective judicial system is integral to any democratic society, and because of the devastation suffered during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, the people of Rwanda have a more acute need than most to see a strong, effective and transparent judiciary guiding their country. A solid judiciary allows justice to be done quickly and fairly with equal rights for both the accused and the victim. Justice must also be seen to be done in an open, transparent way that is easily accessible to all citizens. Like many aspects of Rwandan governance after 1994, the effectiveness of the judiciary was left wanting. The prisons were overflowing with hundreds of thousands of inmates (largely genocide suspects) and it was estimated that to clear the backlog of cases would take between 200 and 300 years. The judicial system simply didn’t have the capacity, resources or staff to cope with the situation. Both the system and the Rwandan people were transformed in 2003 with a wave of judicial reforms. With the help of these reforms and the re introduction of traditional forms of justice, such as the Gacaca Courts and Abunzi forums, the Rwanda of 2010 now has a modern, functioning, independent judicial system, where cases are judged speedily and fairly, and corruption has largely been eradicated. The abolition of the death penalty in 2007 has further helped modernise the judicial system.
The 1994 genocide against the Tutsi claimed the lives of over one million. One hundred days changed the path of Rwanda indescribably. The population was left decimated and the infrastructure of the country was left in ruins. For the first decade following the genocide, the new leaders had to not only protect the country from resurgences of violence, but completely rebuild it. Once security was assured, and basic infrastructure put in place, it became possible to focus on dealing with the grave consequences of genocide, preventing the spread of genocide ideology and working towards reconciliation. It is important to preserve the memory of genocide, and to educate people so they understand the impact of its tragic effects. A community that is united and guided by mutual understanding of the past is then able to work together for the prosperity of their country.
President Paul Kagame sees a free education for all as the single most important elements in reducing poverty in Rwanda and elevating the country’s economic and social status. Long gone are the days when education was something only the elite could access in Rwanda, where illiteracy rates stood at 50 per cent and there was only one university in the country. Rwanda is now leading the way on education reforms in Africa, offering nine years of free schooling, training teachers in greater numbers and to a higher level than ever before, while also building up partnerships with prestigious institutions around the world. In signing up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the Government of Rwanda committed to creating ‘Universal Education for All’ and Pillar One of Rwanda’s Vision 2020 document emphasises the importance of quality education. All aspects of Government have put a renewed focus on education since 2003, when the Ministry of Education devised a national curriculum policy for primary and secondary education, to be implemented in a six-year plan, and stated that primary education should be free and mandatory for all children.
In 1994, Rwanda’s health sector was on its knees. It was completely dysfunctional: no hospitals, no clinics, no doctors, and no nurses; diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria were rife and infant and maternal mortality rates were high. Moreover, the nation was left with a legacy of mental health problems caused by the unspeakable acts that occurred during the genocide against the Tutsi. Sixteen years later, Rwanda’s health sector is efficient and effective and is a shining example of healthcare services in Africa with tremendous achievement in the health of the nation’s approximately 11 million people. Vision 2020 clearly outlines the government’s aims for the health sector, to increase life expectancy, to reduce the infant mortality rates and to reduce the maternal mortality rate, to control potential epidemic diseases and reduce AIDS prevalence. With more than 90% of the rural population now subscribed to Mutuelle, the mutual healthcare insurance, almost everyone can afford healthcare.
Against the backdrop of the genocide against the Tutsi and the legacy of suffering and division that this created, there is a strong belief among Rwandans that they have to find their own methods of solving their own problems. Rwanda is probably among one of the few countries of the world that selectively borrow from their cultures and history the best development concepts and ideals to integrate them in their national development agendas. Over the last few years, Rwanda has put that belief into practice through the adaptation and reintroduction of ancient practices such as Umuganda, Itorero, ubudehe, imihigo and Gacaca. These home grown solutions meld age-old practices with modern-day life and present workable solutions in areas such as justice, poverty reduction and reconciliation. Rwanda has become a champion of home-grown solutions and has earned international acclaim and accolades. Inspired by Rwanda, other developing countries are now looking to Rwanda to learn the secret of its post-genocide rapid recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation.
Culturally a cow is a traditional symbol of wealth and there is a clear link between owning a cow and breaking free from poverty. Initiated by President Kagame, the programme has a multitude of advantages: providing milk and associated products to improve diet; generating income through milk sales; providing manure for farmlands; and replacing lost pride of a people who have recovered their cultural symbol of wealth. Like most of the poverty interventions in Rwanda, Girinka is a project rooted in full community participation. Relying on the Ubudehe classification of social groupings in the community, the people themselves select the beneficiaries in village meetings among the poorest and most deserving families. Before the cow arrives, the lucky candidates undergo training on all aspects of looking after their cows: from feeding and watering, to diagnosing symptoms of disease and general care. The “one-cow-per- poor family” policy initiated by President Kagame has impacted the lives of nearly 100,000 families. When the programme started in 2006 very few people owned animals, but today nearly 100,000 families have been given a cow and the target is to eventually reach 270,000 families.
Vision 2020 repeatedly emphasizes the knowledge-based economy to which the Government of Rwanda is driving the nation. In 2007, Rwanda took a step toward its long-term goal when it became the first country in the East African Community and the third on the African Continent to join “One Laptop Per Child” programme, an international initiative aimed tointroduce computers to the youth of developing countries in an effort to bridge the global digital divide. From October to November 2007, Rwamagana Primary School in the East Province became the pre-pilot site where results were compiled to officially launch this heavily publicised project. The first school in Africa to actually receive computers from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) programme was Kagugu Primary School in Kigali, where 3,105 laptops were distributed in 2009. Soon after, Nonko Primary and Rwamagana Primary Schools received 855 and 747 laptops, respectively. EPAK and Kicukiro Primary came later.
OLPC simultaneously launched a Learning Centre at the Kigali Institute for Science and Technology to support professional training for the educators who would use the laptops in the classroom. The One Laptop Per Child programme is one of the most effective efforts initiated at the primary school level that helps to create a bridge in the digital divide.
The Electricity Access Scale-up Program is a RECO collaborative initiative with the Ministry of Infrastructure that is in the process of orchestrating and implementing the electrification of rural Rwanda with a strategic target of five years to connect 350,000 customers by 2012. Even while development practitioners and leaders know that typically sustainable change occurs slowly, RECO have set an impressive pace in meeting their goal and have already built 2,500 km and 6,000 km of medium and low voltage lines, respectively.
While expanding the current capacity through constructing new power stations throughout the country in Gicumbi, Rukarara, Ruhango, Rugezi, Mukungwa, and Nyabarongo, the company has rehabilitated many kilometers of existing electric lines in particular in Cyundo, Gihengeri, and Rubindi to mitigate costs of unexpected breaks in suplly while improving effeicieny of delivery.
A new Electricity Access Roll Out Programme (EARP) was launched in 2008 to increase the percentage of the population with access to electricity from six per cent to 16 metres of wood used each year for cooking and heating, contributing to deforestation and environmental damage, the government is intent on making a change to new sources of energy. A product of cow dung, sewage and sludge, biogas is a source of renewable energy originating from methane.
In 2004, the Decentralisation and Environmental Management Project (DEMP) was approved and implemented in 2005 by the Government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Natural Resources, now the Ministry of Environment and Lands. DEMP was established in a bid to rehabilitate, conserve, protect, and sustainably manage natural resources as a tool towards integrating the environment with development. The goal was to promote sustainable livelihoods using decentralisation as a delivery mechanism. The initial phase of the project kicked off in the Western Province in the 7 districts of Rubavu, Nyabihu, Ngororero, Rutsiro, Karongi, Nyamasheke and Rusizi, concluded in December 2007.
By the end of this period, DEMP through providing technical and financial support to REMA enabled it to empower the seven districts through trainings to increase awareness and understanding of the environment and related policies and laws. Visible results were achieved at community level with many river banks feeding into Lake Kivu and more than 65 per cent of the Lake Kivu shores now protected. This was achieved through planting vegetation around river banks and introducing environmentally sustainable farming practices. Farmers are motivated through competitions in which winning farmers are given prizes ranging from a dairy cow to farm equipment.
Rwanda has a uniquely young population, one of the many after effects of the genocide against the Tutsi which claimed huge swathes of the older generation and left many children orphaned. More than 70 per cent of the population are under the age of 35, and around 37 per cent of the population fall within the Ministry’s definition of youth; those aged from 14 to 35. Youths face a particularly difficult situation in modern day Rwanda, with most affected either directly or indirectly by the consequences of genocide against the Tutsi, as well as by poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, a lack of skills and HIV/AIDS. To overcome these challenges, the government put in place a National Youth Policy to define how the youth can play a role in the social and economic development of their country.
SINCE 2003 Rwanda has been on an ambitious track to build its image as a serious sporting nation. The Ministry of Sports and Culture is boosting involvement of sports at all levels from school children and communities to public servants. The efforts of developing sport at the grassroots level have produced real success on the courts, tracks and pitches of Rwanda and it is used as a tool to unite the country at all levels. Professional sports teams have participated in regional and international sporting events such as the African CVup of Nations and the Olympics.
The government, along with international organisations such as the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) are injecting funds into Rwandan sport. The President himself regularly donates money to sporting events, such as the prize money for the Kigali International Marathon; RWF 50 million (approximately $83,000 USD). The Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Club Championship was renamed the Kagame Club Championship in recognition of the President’s support; and in 2010, this successful tournament received $1 million USD in additional funding.