About 200,000 households (one million people) have graduated out of poverty since 2006, a recent joint survey by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN) and the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda (NISR) has revealed.
Over the last five years, access to safe drinking water reached 74 from 64%.
This means that nearly half of the country’s 10.7 million people are now no longer considered poor.
Findings of this survey were unveiled last week during the launch of the second generation of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II), a national program started in 2008 to end poverty and economic deprivation.
“Economic growth has benefited most the poorest households and poverty reduction has been faster in rural areas…. This means that inequality has significantly reduced,” said Finance Minister John Rwangombwa.
The results from the survey indicate that GDP per capita increased from US$ 212 in 2001 to US$ 540 in 2010. The target is US$ 900 by 2020. This is achievable if the country maintained the current momentum, said Yusuf Murangwa, the NISR director general.
Over the last five years, the number of people with access to electricity increased from 4.3 to 10.8% while access to safe drinking water reached 74 from 64%.
Mobile phones ownership increased seven times to 45.2% of the population.
“While it has been a shared dream of all Rwandans, few could foresee the speed with which our country is moving from wide-spread poverty to development and prosperity. We are determined to redouble our efforts so that this progress continues,” said Rwangombwa.
Kigali City posted the lowest poverty levels at 16% having fallen by 4% while Southern Province still has the highest number of poor people at 56.5% even after poverty in the area declined by 10.2%.
The minister said that the country is exceeding Millennium Development Goals in literacy, maternal health and child nutrition.
“There is no doubt that key precursor to success in these areas is the reduction and eventual eradication, of economic deprivation,” he said.
President Paul Kagame called for more efforts to eradicate poverty.
“We have to improve access to markets through increased investments in infrastructure, especially our rural road network. Access to energy is crucial to our transformation efforts and although this has doubled in the past five years, it remains low,” he said.
He called for community partnership and home-grown solutions to develop the country.
“There has been a mindset shift and Rwandans now know they should aspire for more and better, and the solutions are there within them. This proves that any country can, and should, aspire to eradicate poverty and grow to middle-income,” he said.
He also added that some home grown initiatives including Vision 2020 Umurenge Program (VUP), girinka and umuganda among other programs have quickly led to the impressive economic development.
Poverty status by province: