Rwanda’s development target – as stated in Vision 2020 - is to attain middle income status by 2020.
The process of reaching Vision 2020 is guided by 5-year development plans, called EDPRS (Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategies).
In 2013, the Government of Rwanda engaged in the process of developing EDPRS 2, the second 5-year strategy, with ambitious growth and development targets, for example, targeting accelerated poverty reduction from 45% to less than 30% of the population.
One of the pillars of EDPRS 2, and a key question for the government to answer, was how to start the process of economic transformation in Rwanda, including, among others: rapid urbanization, transforming Rwanda’s export sector to include a greater mix of manufactured products, expanding the private sector, and completing strategic infrastructure projects., etc.
A strategic question for the Government of Rwanda at the time was: (i) how to select priorities amongst many different ideas and initiatives set forward by different ministries and government agencies; (ii) how to ensure priorities were achievable, considering budget constraints and limited information
Laterite’s role in this effort was: (i) to help the Government of Rwanda prioritize policy objectives linked to economic transformation; (ii) to support creative thinking by leading brainstorming sessions with Ministers, and Permanent Secretaries; (iii) to ensure ideas were captured and organized into a structured, prioritized and coherent strategy; and (iv) to gather evidence to help policy makers make decisions.
We viewed our role in this effort as one of facilitation and critical questioning, helping policy makers articulate, prioritize and structure key policies for Rwanda’s new Economic Transformation Strategy, without interfering in the decision-making process.
This involved a highly consultative process, of gathering data, understanding the priorities of different Ministries and government agencies, presenting these priorities back to government officials and laying out the potential benefits/opportunities and costs/risks, as well as facilitating the process of prioritizing and structuring new policies into one coherent strategy
The outcome of this effort was a structured and organized Economic Transformation Strategy for Rwanda, delivered ahead of schedule, that reflected the priorities of the Government of Rwanda as a whole.
Rwanda’s Economic Transformation Strategy was also creative, focusing on targets in secondary city urban development and green growth, issues for which there has been active follow-through since the strategy was adopted in 2013.
Rwanda’s EDPRS 2 process is often cited an example for other countries by the World Bank and other multilateral organizations.