Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente on Wednesday said that the ongoing 41st AIMF summit in Kigali serves as a new opportunity for exchanges on strategic cooperation between the municipality and civil society organizations to address the challenges of living together and social cohesion.
The Premier was speaking at the official launch of the four-day hybrid summit taking place at the Kigali Convention Centre.
Officials say that the meeting will, among others, explore the role the civil society can play in developing urban planning policies.
In his remarks, the Premier challenged leaders in attendance to among others create topics around a framework for cooperation between cities and ambitious policies in the service of urbanisation, more respectful and for the benefit of the population.
"I would also like to salute the good collaboration that exists between the International Organization of La Francophonie and the AIMF association," he said.
Ngirente highlighted that implementation of different projects has shown a tangible impact on the field and that it plays a strategic role in the development of cities. The fact that AIMF brings together more than 300 cities or associations of local authorities in 54 countries today, he said, is a good sign of progress institutional.
In order to promote partnership models between the municipality and the civil society, Ngirente shared points, which he said should receive attention.
First, he said, it should be noted that since the 2000s, the civil society is recognized in the fora international organizations as an important development actor.
"Today, consultation between civil society and services municipal government is evident in all areas."
He added, "This consultation allows different cities to offer more appropriate solutions to meet citizens' expectations."
For instance, Ngirente shared Rwanda's progress in the promotion of inclusive economic growth.
"In Rwanda, civil society is seen as a partner strategic state. It contributes in the achievement of its development goals. It constitutes an important pillar in good governance of the country."
He explained that the Government of Rwanda provides financial support to the civil society organizations in the context of strengthening institutional capacity to facilitate the implementation of their programs.
Meanwhile, the premier rallied leaders to mobilise more investments in cross-border cooperation, citing that it plays a major role in the economic integration of our cities.
He also pointed out that adequate cross-border infrastructure will be crucial for lower transaction costs and also speed up the circulation of goods and services.
Rwanda is active within the framework of the partnership developed between cross-border cities in the region of big lakes.
"This partnership demonstrates that borders exert now functions of 'link' and become bases of trade integration between states, cities and populations.
Based on this, Ngirente said that city diplomacy is a tool of local governments and civil society organizations.
"It plays an important role in the search for promising solutions, promotion of social cohesion, prevention and conflict resolution, post-conflict reconstruction, with the aim of to create a stable and prosperous environment."
Digitizing services key
For years, Ngirente said that digital tools have been part of people's daily lives.
Their positive impact is undeniable, he said.
"The effective use of digital technology facilitates relationships between municipalities and populations."
In Rwanda, he asserted, the public can access all of their municipal services online through a platform we have called Irembo.
"Today, Rwandans can, for example, access online tax services, obtain a building permit, a title deed, and various certificates issued by the local state bodies."
He added, "The digitization of public services makes it possible to offer a fast and quality service to citizens in the framework to accelerate their socio-economic development."
According to the Premier, digitization has proven to be a necessity in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Thanks to digital solutions innovative, such as remote working and online education, some economic and social activities have been maintained in our respective communities."
To digitize our economies, he said, we must not only install an adequate infrastructure of information and communication, but also to ensure that people have access to digital devices such as computers and smartphones.
Ngirente advised participants at the meeting to redouble efforts of supporting initiatives that place the social cohesion and digital technology at the heart of the transformation of our cities.
He also reiterated the government's will as a key partner.