The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda Through AfDB Figures

In A new statistical report by the African Development Bank (AfDB), Rwanda's recent work stands out prominently.

Presented yesterday by the director of AfDB's statistics department, Charles Lufumpa, the publication titled "Tracking Africa's Progress in Figures" looks at past key trends that defined the continent and those that shape its future.

In general terms, the report shows that African economies have scored exceptional rates of growth driven by strong domestic demand, improved management of economic affairs, a growing middle class, and increased political stability.

"With Africa's population expanding rapidly, from around 1 billion today to an estimated 2.5 billion by 2060, we will have a young and increasingly urbanised workforce, which presents an opportunity to reap a demographic dividend," Lufumpa said in his presentation.

"Seizing that opportunity will depend on access to education and skills, the quality and scale of public investment in infrastructure, and the associated private investment in business and jobs," he added.

However, the report warns that the impressive performance of certain countries is overshadowed by other countries' poor results.

"Madagascar, for example, has significantly reduced its adult mortality rate. Liberia, Rwanda, Algeria, and Burkina Faso also performed remarkably well. However, Swaziland and Lesotho registered a twofold increase in their mortality rates between 1990 and 2011," the report states.

The report further shows that 97 per cent of pregnant woman in Rwanda receive antenatal services, which is way above Africa's average of 74 per cent.

The report says that over 18 million African women still do not give birth in a health facility.

On average, the time required for business start-up reduced on the continent by nearly half in the past seven years, Rwanda stood out for making major reforms in property registration programmes, improving cross border trade and strengthening investor protection. Other countries that scored highly in this category include Burkina Faso, Burundi, Egypt and Mali.

Rwanda also falls in the category of countries with relatively high rates of poverty reduction, along with Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi, Mali and Uganda.

Those that suffered acute increase in poverty levels over the past few years include Chad, Ivory Coast, Egypt, and Zimbabwe.

On gender development, Rwanda has an unprecedented 64 per cent of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies held by women, the report says. Seychelles, Senegal, and South Africa also stand out in this category with more than 40 per cent female representation in Parliament.

Countries where women have less than 10 per cent of parliamentary representation are Egypt, Comoros, Swaziland, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Benin and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Yusuf Rurangwa, the Director General of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, welcomed the report, saying that harmonised statistics throughout Africa will make development goals more realistic.

"Countries must exploit advanced research modules in order to cut cost of data storage. Private businesses must also improve the way they use national data to better understand opportunities and risks in investments," Murangwa said.

Rwanda's main challenge according to the report lies in its significant reliance on aid.

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