February 7, 2019

Has Vision 2020 Achieved Its Promise? A Review

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How much should average income of a Rwandan be – to allow them a decent lifestyle, is one of the issues government at the highest levels pondered.

The late-night discussion went on for months about 18 years ago.

Then they settled on $900 in 2000 as the per capita income which was revised upwards to $1240 in 2012.

But then how do you get there? A lot is easier said than done; a factor that gave rise to “Vision 2020”

Vision 2020 was born and officially launched in 2000 as the government’s long term twenty-year development strategy and is set to expire next year.

Already, final details of a new development strategy dubbed “Vision 2050” are being fine-tuned, to be launched immediately.

As the implementation lifecycle of this vision approaches, it’s appropriate to analyse the extent to which it achieved its objectives.

This analysis will enable not only documenting the journey the country has traveled in the last twenty years but will also aid policymakers and ordinary Rwandans to understand some of the obstacles that were encountered; a factor that could help in implementing vision 2050.

At the launch of Vision 2020 President Kagame noted in the forward that as the guiding blueprint for the country’s development, the Vision contains “our aspirations and determination…to contract a united, democratic and inclusive Rwandan identity…”

In simple terms, the Vision contains what the country’s leaders aspired to achieve for the country and is a promise to Rwandans not only about what the government planned to do and attain by 2020 but also “a shared” vision “for all Rwandans” as President Kagame noted at its inaugural, in which “individuals…communities, business and public institutions – contributes towards realizing”

The vision is built on six pillars and three cross-cutting issues arrived at through discussions that took place between 1997-1998 at Village Urugwiro in which Rwandans from varied backgrounds participated.

The six pillars are to ensure: good governance and building a capable state; human resource development; having a private sector-led development; infrastructure development; producing high value and market oriented agriculture and regional and international integration.

The cross-cutting issues including ensuring gender equality; natural resources development, environment and climate change as well as science, technology and ICT.

The vision’s primary objectives are “to make Rwanda a lower middle income country with a per capita income of $900” dependent on a knowledge based and private led economy. The related objectives are to bring down poverty levels to below 20% with balance of trade where the country can pay its budgetary bills from internally generated revenue.

Some 12 years after, the per capita income was revised to $1240 – perhaps after realizing the previous $900 was a walk in the forest.

At the time, the Vision’s authors identified the country’s major problems to include, among others, poor terms of trade and macroeconomic disequilibria, “low savings and investment rates and high unemployment and underdevelopment” ─meaning dependence on substance agriculture and a few export crops like coffee and tea with some minerals amidst a landlocked environment; low human capital and infrastructure as well as mass poverty.

As noted, next year, the Vision’s implementation period will come to an end and The Chronicles promises to serialize, pillar-by-pillar the extent to which the Vision’s objectives have been met.

We will take you through the 20 year journey every Thursday of every week until we enter the year 2020 when a new vision will be unveiled.

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