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Rwanda’s Capacity Development Journey

14 Jul, 2014


ACBF has been a strategic ally for the Government of Rwanda, and has facilitated the emergence of the country capacity building framework. Since early 2000, the Foundation has invested almost USD 11 million in the development and implementation of comprehensive and coordinated projects and programmes in the country. This investment has had a positive impact on the delivery and monitoring of Rwanda’s national development strategy. 

ACBF was one of the first international organizations to assist Rwanda soon after the 1994 genocide. At the time, the Rwandan Ministry of Economic Planning and Finance faced major problems in capacity building and staff retention. The country had inherited a workforce with a low skills base, and existing training institutions had limited impact due to the inadequacy of qualified teachers, especially in higher education, and a curriculum ill-suited to the needs of the economy. Another major constraint was the lack of human resource development planning capability. 

In 2000, ACBF funded a study to assess Rwanda’s economic and financial management capacity needs. This study proposed the establishment of the Human Resource Development Agency. As part of a collaborative donor assistance framework, ACBF took the lead in assisting the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN) in preparing a pilot human resource development strategy. The thrust of the support was to create a critical mass of skilled workforce in economic and financial management in the ministry as well as strengthening the institutional capacity for training, policy analysis, and human resource development.

Public Financial Management Capacity
ACBF’s Executive Board approved USD 3 million to support Rwanda’s Public Financial Management Capacity Building Programme. Key beneficiaries of this programme were MINECOFIN, the National University of Rwanda (NUR), the School of Finance and Banking, and the Rwanda Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (RIPAR). Human Resource Development Agency (HRDA) was envisioned and established with ACBF’s support to the Rwanda focal agency for capacity building activities and programme implementation. The institution later became the Human Resource and Institutional Capacity Development Agency (HIDA), and was transformed into the Public Sector Capacity Building Secretariat (PSCBS), which was fully embedded within the Ministry of Public Service and Labour. The ACBF grant supported the training of some 270 public sector officials, allowing them to remain networked and effective in their work. 

Capacity Building Framework
Given the enormous challenges facing the country, and recognition that capacity building interventions had to be long term and multi-sectoral, Rwanda requested continued support from ACBF and other donors, including the World Bank, to develop an overall framework for capacity building. This framework sets out the vision, strategy and plan to link the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper with other institutional reforms. Thus, Rwanda’s Multi-Sectoral Capacity Building Programme (MSCBP) was developed in May 2007. ACBF contributed USD 4 million to support the project through the creation of a high-performing and efficient public sector capable of managing the country’s transition towards a service-oriented economy.  

Key beneficiaries of this funding were the Rwanda Institute of Public Administration and Management, National University of Rwanda, School of Finance and Banking, Rwanda Institute of Policy Analysis and Research, the Rwanda National Parliament, and the Conseil de Concertation des Organisations d’Appui des Initiatives de Base, an umbrella organization for Rwanda’s civil society. This achievement was in line with the Rwandan government’s development plan to strengthen institutional and human capacities for effective delivery and monitoring, under its Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy. 

ACBF also supported non-state institutions through the approval of a USD 1.7 million grant to the Rwanda Private Sector Capacity Building Project. The project, launched in late 2008, strengthened Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation’s capacity to continue playing a key role in advocacy, awareness and provision of capacity building opportunities to different business groups, including women.

In 2012, ACBF approved a USD 2.15 million grant to build capacity of the Institution of Policy Research and Analysis (IPAR-Rwanda), an independent think tank established in May 2008. IPAR is the only independent institution involved in policy analysis and research and capacity building in Rwanda. With ACBF’s support, IPAR has built capacity in many ways. As the only independent think tank, demand for the services of the institution has grown in scope and so has its client base. Rwanda has been cited among African countries that have properly utilized grants from the ACBF with impressive results. The ACBF is proud to have played an instrumental role in Rwanda’s transformative success story. 

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Thomas Kwesi Quartey

ACBF has been granted the status of a specialized agency because of the potential to transform Africa through capacity development.

H.E. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, AU Commission
Erastus Mwencha

The recognition of ACBF as the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development launches the beginning of a new era for capacity building by ACBF, which will require an appropriate level of political commitment and financial support from all stakeholders.

H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Chair, ACBF Executive Board
Lamin Momodou

The remarkable achievements ACBF has registered over the past 26 years is not by accident in our opinion. They have come through hard work, dedication, commitment, purposeful leadership, support from the member countries as well as productive partnership building.

Mr. Lamin Momodou MANNEH, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa
Goodall Gondwe

Africa needs ACBF as much, probably more now, than at the time it was created in 1991.

Hon. Goodall Gondwe, former Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance – Malawi
Ken Ofori Atta

Ghana’s partnership with ACBF is a tremendous blessing for us and therefore the opportunity for Ghana to host the 26th ACBF Board of Governors Meeting is something that we treasure.

Hon Ken Ofori Atta, Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance - Ghana