For the current financial year, government has allocated less money than the previous years for the Ministry of Culture and Sports (MINISPOC) – a ministry charged with overseeing the country’s quest for continental and global sports medals.
A review of the 2019-2020 budget which started to be implemented on July 1, shows that apart from stadiums and supporting mass sports activities such as the bi-monthly car-free Sunday exercises, the central government does not plan for anything else concerning sports.
Currently, there are 26 national sports federations in Rwanda, according to a database maintained by the Ministry.
With the exception of some of the national sport federations such as the Paralympics Association, Football, Athletics, Cycling, basketball and Volleyball, other federations are still in their infancy and need support.
In the current budget read on June 13, finance and economic planning minister Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, allocated Rwf 10.9 billion to the sports and culture ministry. This amounts dropped from Rwf 15billion in the 2018-2019 budget, which represents a 27.4 percent drop.
It’s with this budget that the sports and culture ministry led by Esperance Nyirasafari is supposed to ensure sports development, manage national museums, cultural and language promotions as well as the national archives.
The biggest portion of the ministry’s budget will go to an item in the budget described as “Sports Development” reaching nearly Rwf 4.7billion for this financial year. It means that more than 40% of the ministry allocation is for this particular item broken up in only two items: stadiums and promotion of mass sports and entertainment.
Last year, sports development got Rwf 5.3billion, clearly suggesting that there has been a significant drop in what government puts in sports this year.
However, no money is set aside for talent development by the sports ministry, a feature also reflected in the previous two budgets which The Chronicles reviewed.
In the ongoing budget, government will spend Rwf 1.5billion on “AMAHORO Multipurpose Indoor Arena”. Government has also put Rwf 1.2billion each towards the ongoing construction of region stadiums in Bugesera, Ngoma and Nyagatare districts – all in eastern province.
With the various sports federations, it comes out as strange that government does not have budgetary allocation specifically to support them. And the same goes for developing sports talent in schools and universities.
In March, the country was in disbelief when the national football team Amavubi failed to qualify for the 2019 African Cup of Nations Championships now ongoing in Egypt. All Rwanda’s neighbours Uganda, DR Congo, Tanzania, Burundi and Kenya qualified.
Media commentary on the failed attempt unanimously blamed the situation on lack of preparations by the Amavubi team. This team’s abysmal performance has remained the same for many years, as the national team has not brought home any trophy. Pundits said one way the country can prepare is development of sports academies and talents from the school system.
It is not only football. The poor performance goes across nearly all fields, except maybe cycling which is lately emerging as one of the most popular sports in the country. Even there, when it comes to international races, Rwandan cyclists struggle to complete races.
Other sports are managed under federations, and it is unclear how they get their funding.
All the 30 districts are in competition to establish and manage their own football team; Huye has Mukura, Gicumbi has Gicumbi FC, while Musanze has Sunrise FC, and so on.
Some football teams are managed and funded by government agencies such as Police FC and the military side APR FC. But then top league champions Rayon Sports gets its funding from its diehard fans and sponsorships.
Even so, as reported by The Chronicles on May 3, districts are also cutting back on how much money they allocate to local football teams – a situation affecting the clubs, many of which do not have any other source of funding.
In Kigali, there is AS Kigali and Kiyovu Sports football teams, all in the top tier level. They have been supported by different parts of the city. To prepare for the imminent restructuring of the City of Kigali, the two teams are merging.
Some districts such as Gisagara has invested heavily in a volleyball team which often come out as the national team. Power provider Rwanda Energy Group (REG) also has a very strong basketball team.
Explaining why the budget allocation for sports is down, Finance Minister Dr. Ndagijimana told parliament in his budget speech that sports and culture ministry got more money last year because of building the Kigali Conference Arena. The 10,000-seater facility is due to open anytime soon.
The Minister said: “Last year we invested more in sport infrastructure. Over Rwf 2 billion was spent on building the Kigali Conference Arena construction activities are at 85%.”
In 2017-2018, government earmarked Rwf 12.5billion.
How much did MINSPOC get in last three years?
Total budget (RWF)
Amount allocated in MINISPOC
Percentage compared to whole budget
How much was allocated for “Sports Development” in past three years?
The budget allocation in sport and culture policy development
Amount allocated in Sport& Culture
Amount allocated in sport development
How MINISPOC budget is apportioned
Rwanda National Museum
Chancellery for Heros, National Orders and Decoration of Honors
Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture
Rwanda archive and library services