The Millennium Development Goals in Rwanda have been translated into the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategies (EDPRS I & II) that provide the framework for the budget allocation of vital sectors and activities observed to ensure that the MDG targets are met. The priority sectors are also reflected in the national framework – Vision 2020 – that specifies the country’s long-term development goals.
Currently, Rwanda is among the few African countries leading in the achievement of the MDGs. The Central/Eastern Africa nation has made remarkable progress on several MDGs, especially in gender equality women empowerment, universal primary education, child and maternal mortality, HIV prevalence, and environmental sustainability.
Many measures have been taken in efforts to bridge gender gaps through economic empowerment programmes for women, including women entrepreneurship program, women guarantee fund, and having rights to property and inheritance. The constitution has also been changed to guarantee 30 percent leadership positions in parliament for women.
With regard to education, free education has been extended from 9 years to 12 years of basic schooling, thereby including the entire primary and secondary cycle. Collaboration among public, private, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has remained solid, helping to bring about positive advancement in economic growth, governance, inclusive growth, and the knowledge-based economy. Farmers are also benefiting from the CIP – Crop Intensification Program – that has enabled increased agricultural productivity and greater household revenues.
The fourth MDG Progress Report evaluates the MDG progress of Rwanda until 2013 as follows:
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Rwanda has successfully halved the proportion of people suffering from hunger, and has made good progress toward reducing by half the proportion of people living below the national poverty line and those living in extreme poverty. However, it is yet to raise the share of the poorest quintile in national income or consumption.
The decline in proportion of people living in poverty was slow between 2000 and 2005, reducing from 60.4 percent to 56.7 percent, but it increased in the following five years to reach 44.9 percent in 2010. The trend has continued in the right direction, and Rwanda might get close to its 30.2 percent target.
The trend for extreme poverty followed the same pattern with relatively modest decline from 2000 to 2005 (40 percent to 36 percent) and then accelerated decline to 2010 (24.1 percent), making the 2015 target of 20 percent highly possible.
However, the share of the poorest quintile in national consumption has increased from 4.6 percent in 2005 to 5.2 percent in 2010, though this trend is too modest.
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Rwanda has made steady progress on primary school level enrolment, which has increased from 72.6 percent in 2000 to 96.5 percent in 2012, and is very close to reaching 100 percent in 2015. The country has also made great progress in boosting primary school completion rates (grade 6), from 24.1 percent in 2000 to 72.7 percent in 2012.
The rate for enrolment is slightly higher for girls than for boys nationwide, while the disparity between urban (93 percent) and rural (92 percent) areas is virtually imperceptible.
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
The ratio of girls to boys in primary school has historically been high in Rwanda. Actually, the baseline rate was already at target level in 2000, so Rwanda went beyond its target in 2010 at the rate of 1.03, which has stayed the same through 2011 – 2013.
The trend for secondary education is different, with steady increase in the rate of girls from 0.51 in 2000 to 0.93 in 2010. This is significant change from almost two boys for every girl to a nearly equal rate of boys to girls, which is likely to be attained and exceeded by 2015.
Rwanda is the only country in the world with a largely female parliament, having first achieved this feat in the 2008 elections when women took up 56 percent representation in the House of Representatives. The 2013 parliamentary elections handed women an unprecedented 64 percent of seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Women won 26 of the 53 open seats in the latest general election, in addition to the 24 exclusive women seats, placing it well ahead of the MDG indicator of 50 percent representation.
Although Rwanda has achieved most of the targets under MDG 3, it will not be able to meet the women’s share in wage employment in sectors outside of the agricultural industry. While the share for men has increased from 16.5 percent in 2000 to 38.7 percent in 2010, that for women only increased from 7.6 percent to 18.1 percent within the same period.
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Infant mortality rate has reduced from 107 per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 50 deaths per 1,000 live-births in 2010, and 48.6 in 2012. The 2012 data suggests a slowdown though the target of 35 is not out of reach.
Under-five mortality decreased at a faster rate than infant mortality. It declined from 152 deaths per 1,000 live-births in 2000 to 76 in 2010 and then 72.7 percent in 2012, bringing it closer to the 50.1 percent target.
The number of children immunised against measles has increased steadily from 87 percent in 2000 to 95 percent in 2010, bringing it very close to the 100 percent target by 2015. There’s fairly little variation in the vaccination rates across provinces, with the highest rates being in Kigali City (98 percent) and the lowest in Western Province (91 percent).
Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health
Maternal mortality has dropped drastically since 2000 when it was 1071 deaths per 100,000 live births. By 2010, it had declined to 476 deaths per 100,000 live births, making the target of 268 attainable by 2015.
At the same time, there has been steady increase in the proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel, from 31 percent in 2000 to 69 percent in 2010, which makes the 90 percent target by 2015 possible.
There has been notable progress with regard to births attended by skilled health personnel since 2005 in all five provinces in Rwanda. The number of women who take birth in health care facilities is higher for those in urban areas (82 percent) compared to rural areas (67 percent).
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among youth 15 – 24 years has remained constant at 3 percent from 2005 to 2010. However, Rwanda faces the challenge of promoting knowledge of proper HIV prevention methods and reducing misconceptions about the disease, which is evident from the subtle change in HIV knowledge between 2005 and 2010: for men, it reduced from 53.6 to 47.4 percent, while it increased for women from 50.9 to 52.6.
Although the incidence rate of malaria per 100,000 reduced by half between 2000 and 2005, while mortality declined from 52 deaths to 37.7 deaths per 100,000 people, malaria remains the major cause of death in children under 5 years, and the second cause after HIV/AIDS for adults.
The detection and treatment of tuberculosis has improved significantly from 23 percent in 2000 to 60 percent in 2010. Within the same period, TB mortality rate per 100,000 has reduced from 48 to 12.
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Rwanda lost 1.3 percent of its forests per year between the 1960s and 1990s due to human activities. But stringent protectionist measures against deforestation and encroachment have seen forest cover increase by 10 percent between 2000 and 2010, making it possible to reach 25 percent cover by 2015.
The proportion of the population using an improved source of drinking water has increased from 64.1 percent in 2000 to 74.2 percent, though there are sharp discrepancies in access between regions and rural and urban areas.
The proportion of the population using improved sanitation facilities has also improved within the same period, from 51.5 percent to 74.5 percent, though there are similar challenged to availing safe drinking water.
Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development
Rwanda has experienced remarkable economic growth and socio-economic achievements in the last 20 years, and was recognised as the 10th fastest growing economy in the world during the last decade from 2010.
However, Rwanda was extensively dependent on foreign aid, and domestic revenue only managed to surpass 60 percent of total income in the 2013/14 budget. The country’s ability to raise domestic revenue is fairly low, and needs to address this coming into the SDGs.
Summary – Mdg Progress of Rwanda
Rwanda’s progress towards the Millennium Development Goals is largely a story of success. This is because around 20 years ago, Rwanda was just a shell of a nation after the Genocide against the Tutsis in July 1994 where more than one million people were killed in 100 days.
Additionally, millions of Rwandans were displaced from their homes as they fled to neighbouring nations. At this point, Rwanda was desperately poor, lacking both resources and skilled labour, and the people were divided and demoralised.
Rwanda’s post-genocide development strategy was based on the premise that security and stability be sustained at whatever cost. From 1995 to 2005, the annual economic growth rate was more than 10 percent, and only slowed down to 8 percent due to the 2008/9 global financial crisis. The country’s sterling record of spending has earned it the trust and confidence of its Development Partners, who periodically covered up to 50 percent of Rwanda’s development budget.
But like every country, Rwanda has its own opportunities and challenges. Challenges include its landlocked position that interferes with the cost of imports and exports; its location in a region plagued by conflict and violence; its high population density of 10.5 million people in a small geographical territory; high dependence on foreign aid; and turning the country into an IT-savvy nation.
Despite the numerous hurdles, Rwanda has made significant achievements toward the MDGs thanks to a strong political commitment, right policies, and institutions that people can relate to.
As one of the African countries piloting thematic areas of the post-2015 SDGs – Sustainable Development Goals – Rwanda upholds the establishment of good governance, effective institutions, and rule of law as key priorities for future development.