The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Govt Upbeat On Social Protection Programmes

The government is committed to implementing social protection programmes to help curb poverty and achieve economic development as per the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS2).

These remarks were made by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Local Government, Vincent Munyeshyaka, while closing an international conference on social protection that sought best practices in implementing social protection programmes, to improve livelihoods of people living below the poverty line.

The PS said poverty reduction was a critical aspect in achieving EDPRS2 goals as it is an important indicator of economic progress.

He noted that the country had made significant strides in poverty reduction during the EDPRS1.

"During the five years of EDPRS1 implementation (2007-2012), we registered about 8.5 per cent economic growth, hence lifting a significant number of people (1 million) from poverty," Munyeshyaka said.

He said for the population below the poverty line to emerge out of poverty, there is need to have homegrown solutions geared toward poverty eradication.

Munyeshyaka said the knowledge on social protection and poverty reduction would assist in renewing the 'graduation agenda'.

"We reiterate our commitment to eradicating extreme poverty in the country and protecting people from vulnerability," he said.

Rwanda has been emplementing social protection programmes since the first economic development and poverty reduction strategy with Vision 2020 Umurenge programme being one of the major flagships. Statistics indicate that prior to the implementation of the programme, over half of the families were homeless but thanks to the programme, the ratio has significantly reduced to one in five.

The programme also played a positive role in improving child wellbeing and quality of care due to livelihood improvement.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, senior development specialist of Irish Aid, a development partner in social protection, Earnan Cleirigh, said the programmes implemented should help improve the society's abilities to resist economic shocks as well as have monitoring systems to foresee the shocks.

He added that the programmes require strong political commitment and concerted efforts involving development partners.

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