Prof Shyaka Turns Spotlight on Rwanda’s Journey to Self-reliance

Prof Shyaka addressing Umushyikirano at Kigali Conventional Centre on Thursday in Kigali, Rwanda

The second day of the National Dialogue, symptoms commonly known as Umushyikirano, mind opens today Friday at Kigali Conventional Centre with a focus on setting a deadline after which the country will no longer be reliant on foreign aid.

Rwanda President Paul Kagame mooted the idea on Thursday, more about saying the dignity of his people must be safeguarded by putting an end to waiting for handouts from foreigners.

Following his appointment as the head of the African Union committee drawing a masterplan to steer the continental body’s journey to self-reliance, Kagame is keen on doing the same in his country.

“Among the decisions of this dialogue, we should resolve to set a deadline which should come sooner rather than later, where Rwanda will no longer be waiting for what others hand out to us,” said Kagame.

Kagame’s confidence is rooted in his ability to ensure accountability of every public resource spent in Rwanda; promoting tourist attraction centres, good governance and investment in public infrastructure.

Kagame listening to speeches at the function

Kagame listening to speeches at the function

Addressing Umushyikirano yesterday, the Rwanda Governance Board Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Anastase Shyaka said the unity of Rwandans is paramount in empowering the country to achieve its dreams.

He said Rwanda’s innovative governance culture has become a source of unconventional solutions across the world. He further said putting citizens at the centre of governance and development agenda; and spearheading consensual democracy instead of confrontational politics were at the heart of realizing a stronger country.

Shyaka submitted that Rwanda has a high citizen confidence in security organs especially the National Police and Defence Forces which as well builds investor confidence.

He went ahead to submit that 91.5 percent of citizens perceive Umushyikirano as “highly impactful in improving their well being and national development.”

Research shows that 95.4 percent of citizens think the National Dialogue fast tracks economic development; 94 percent believe it resolves their issues and 91.6 percent know it promotes democratic principles while 86 percent are confident the discussions promote the culture of transparency and accountability.

In regard to gender equality and women empowerment, more than 50 percent of primary school kids are girls; 40 percent of students in secondary schools are girls and more than 30 percent of University students are ladies.

Over 30 percent of women are involved in business while more than 50 percent of property titles are in women’s hands.

Rwanda has more women in Parliament than any other country on earth, occupying 64 percent of the seats in the legislative assembly. In the judiciary, more than 50 percent are women.

Shyaka left many nursing rib pain when he revealed that, “while other countries use drones for war, we use them for delivery of medical supplies.”

He cited RwandAir’s success story, purchase of huge commercial jets and construction of Bugesera airport as evidence of a rapidly growing aviation sector.

Shyaka said the investments in road infrastructure had boosted transport and earned Rwanda a special position in the world.

Maternal mortality rate has been reduced by 70 percent in the last 14 years, according to the Professor of Political Science.

Courtesy of the Girinka Project that has seen each family handed a cow, annual milk consumption per capita has tripled while annual milk production increased by about 200 percent.

Between 2008 – 2014, according to Shyaka, student enrollment in school has almost multiplied due to heavy investment in the education sector.

Citizens have injected Rwf 83.7bn (62 percent) while government sunk in Rwf 69.5bn (36.62 percent) and Rwf 1.8bn (1.38 percent) has been raised from donors.

It’s because of these statistics that government officials believe Rwanda can wean itself off foreign aid.

Kagame said getting rid of foreign aid will compel Rwanda to do more to realize self-sustenance.

“This keeps pushing us to be the best. Our dignity is not about worth but self-respect and believing we can do it. Our motto is unity, work and patriotism,” he added.

“It’s better to face things the hard way and get to the heart of any problem.”

Participants attending the conference

Participants attending the conference

If Rwanda succeeds in this area, it will have set a huge record which many African countries have failed to achieve.

Over Rwf 141,394bn in form of loans have been provided to teachers’ Saccos in the last 8 years to boost their livelihoods.

Research shows that 81 percent of Rwandan citizens are satisfied by the Health Insurance Scheme.

However, the Girinka project appears to have many challenges as 32 percent of the citizens remain dissatisfied.

There is consensus even among researchers from foreign countries that Rwanda’s is on a steady path to self reliance.

“The way Rwanda is managed and the things it is able to do at its level of per capita income, per capita revenue and per capita spending and agrarian structure is unique (Ubudasa) and unprecedented,” admitted media entrepreneur Andrew Mwenda while speaking at Umushyikirano yesterday.

Rwanda is among the most efficiently managed country in the world, sharing the same table with Qatar, Singapore, Finland, Hong Kong, UAE, New Zealand and Malaysia.


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