Rwanda is a densely populated country, with an estimated population of 11 million inhabitants on total surface area of 26.338 km². Approximately two thirds of the population is living exclusively on agricultural revenues, 45% have an income under the poverty line and a quarter are living in extreme poverty conditions. Less than three quarters of the population have access to clean and safe drinking water and more than 40% do not have access to hygienic and sanitary facilities.
Though child mortality levels have been decreasing in the last few years, maternal mortality ration remains high with 487 deaths per 100,000 births. 69% of births are assisted by skilled providers (one medical doctor per 18,000 inhabitants and one trained nurse for 1690 inhabitants), 16% by untrained people and 10% unassisted.
Approximately 11% of the population disposes over electricity.
On the Human Development Index 2011, a yearly publication of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Rwanda was assigned the 166th position on 189 countries.
Rwanda is since its independence in 1962 a partner country of Belgium
The Belgian Development Cooperation in Rwanda is taking place through bilateral interventions implemented by the Belgian Development Agency BTC, on multilateral level through the institutions of the United Nations and its specialized agencies and through indirect cooperation implemented through nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
Rwanda is the second biggest receiver of the Belgium’s direct Development Cooperation budget
Between 2007 and 2010 the official Belgian development assistance to Rwanda increased from €32.5 million to €50.5 million in 2010. Interventions during this period focused on health, justice, education, agriculture and rural development. A substantial part of this program is currently still being implemented.
In May 2011 a new Indicative Cooperation Programme (ICP) 2011-2014 was signed for a total amount of €160 million.
In most of her partner countries, the Belgian Development Cooperation has opted to limit her intervention to two or three sectors. In the new cooperation agreement with Rwanda these sectors are health, energy and decentralization. These sectors represent a fair equation between Rwandan development priorities and Belgian expertise and know how. The bulk of the €160 million goes to health and energy. Both sectors receive €55 million and decentralization, €28 million.
The new ICP has a particular attention for good governance. By investing in decentralization Belgium is demonstrating that governance and democracy are important aspects of her development policy. This approach should guarantee particular attention to concepts such as participation, transparency and accountability.
In the current ICP 2011-2014 all scholarships have been exclusively integrated in the capacity building programs of the three priority sectors.
The development cooperation framework in Rwanda is well developed
The National Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), on which the current ICP with Belgium is based, is followed up by Rwandese government, development partners and ministries.
Rwanda remains very much dependent on foreign development assistance. Official Development Assistance (ODA) represents more than 45% of the national budget.
Rwanda receives general budget support (GBS), the preferred assistance development modality, from the World Bank, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Germany. Belgium and the Netherlands foresee sector budget support (SBS). In the ICP 2011-2014, €34 million sector budget support has been allocated for health.
Notwithstanding this high assistance dependency, the Rwandese ownership of the development agenda remains rigorous. Decreasing the development dependency and increasing local revenues as well as attracting foreign investment are on top of the agenda of the Rwandese government.