The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Rwangombwa Named Finance Minister of the Year-2012

John Rwangombwa was yesterday named Finance Minister of the Year for Sub-Saharan Africa by Emerging Markets HSBC.

The annual Central Bank Governor and Finance Minister of the Year Awards recognise leading policymakers in each region.

The winners are chosen by Emerging Markets' editorial team, taking into account the views of leading regional experts.

Rwangombwa was announced winner of the prestigious award during the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund held in Japan.

The minister could not be reached on phone yesterday, but he expressed his gratitude on Twitter.

"Honored to be awarded Sub-Saharan Finance Minister of 2012 by Emerging Markets Magazine and HSBC ... Proud to be a member of a winning team under the great leadership of our Manager, President Paul Kagame. Great recognition for efforts of Rwandans," he tweeted.

Rwangombwa is quoted by Emerging Markets magazine explaining Rwanda's economic progress, ranging from poverty eradication to infrastructure development.

"Between 2006 and 2011, poverty in Rwanda dropped by 12 percent, from 57 percent to 45 percent. And extreme poverty dropped from 35.8 percent to 24.1 percent in 2011,"said Rwangombwa.

"This reduction, coupled with the high average growth rate of 8.2 percent over the same period, demonstrates that growth in Rwanda has been pro-poor and development assistance has been effectively used to change lives, especially in rural areas".

Rwanda projects poverty to drop further by 15 percent in the next five years as growth in key sectors of the economy is expected to accelerate.

During the award ceremony, Taimur Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of Emerging Markets, said: "Rwanda has achieved strong economic growth combined with a significant reduction in poverty rates, despite an increasingly challenging external environment".

Local Government Minister, James Musoni, who once worked as Rwangombwa's superior at the Finance Ministry, attributed the latter's success to an enabling environment coupled with his hardworking spirit.

"The environment which is enabled by good and effective leadership of President Paul Kagame and the Rwandan People has created a well performing financial system in our country. Also, Minister Rwangombwa is brilliant, very hardworking and a team player," observed Musoni.

Between2005 and 2009, Rwangombwa was a Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury in the same Ministry by the time Musoni was the Finance Minister.

Prior to that, Rwangombwa who holds Master's Degree from Maastricht School of Management, Netherlands, occupied several top technical posts within the government. He served as Deputy Director of Customs in Rwanda Revenue Authority.

In the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, he was, for one year, the Accountant-General, in various departments; five years as Director, National Treasury where he also helped set up the Accountant-General's Office and oversaw implementation of several reforms related to public financial management.

Rwangombwa has chaired institution governing boards including that of the School of Finance and Banking, PTA Bank and Development Partners Consultative Group.

Emerging Markets is widely recognised for being a unique source of news, analysis and commentary on economic policy, international economics and global financial markets, with a particular focus on the emerging world.

It is part of Euromoney Institutional Investor plc, one of the largest and most respected providers of financial information worldwide.

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