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Since 1994, Rwanda has made progress in restoring peace and security, fostering national reconciliation, establishing the foundations for democracy and reforming institutions. In addition, Rwanda’s macroeconomic performance has been thriving in recent years despite major constraints. However, the economy has diversified only very little since 1990. The structure of Rwanda’s gross domestic product (GDP) is dominated by agriculture, which accounts for 35% of the GDP. This makes annual growth rates particularly vulnerable to meteorological conditions and commodity prices. High transport costs due to Rwanda's landlocked position keep the export base very narrow and make the country highly dependent on aid to overcome its balance of payments deficit and to finance much-needed investment. Progress towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been recorded in all sectors.
The Country Strategy Paper for Rwanda (2008-2013) presents the strategic framework for EC co-operation with Rwanda under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). The main themes of cooperation are access to basic services, promoting pro-poor growth and rural economic development as well as fostering national reconciliation and justice. General budget support will be made available to consolidate and advance the gains made in the provision of basic services, particularly in education, health and water. Sector budget support and project support will be reserved for the two main areas of co-operation: rural development and infrastructure for regional interconnectivity. Support in the rural development domain aims at improving food security, increasing agricultural productivity and developing an environment conducive for rural economic development, in the context of sustainable development and decentralisation. For infrastructure the overall objective of EC cooperation is to support economic growth by strengthening the infrastructure essential for the economic development of the country. In addition, support will be made available for programmes to strengthen good governance and the rule of law as well as to support economic and financial management, trade and regional integration and development of the private sector.
The EC's total allocation foreseen for Rwanda under 10th EDF funding (2008-2013) amounts to €382 million to address these priorities.
The Country Strategy Paper for Rwanda (2002-2007) focused on rural development and infrastructure as priority sectors under 9th EDF funding.
In the rural development domain, the EC funded Ubudehe programme is alleviating rural poverty through community participatory approaches based on traditional Rwandan cultural practices. The programme is part of a larger effort to decentralise the hierarchical Rwandan governance system. Its main objective is to revive and foster collective action at community level. By empowering the marginalised as well as strengthening the communities’ ability to make decisions locally, the programme helps to improve governance, to restore trust in local structures and to build accountable local institutions. The programme received the UN Public Service Award in the category "improving transparency, accountability and responsiveness in the public service".
In the infrastructure sector, the main focus of cooperation has been the rehabilitation of the main road network. Now the focus has shifted to a sustainable maintenance strategy and institutional capacity building support.
For further details on projects and programmes in Rwanda funded from the European Development Fund and the general budget of the EU, please visit the project's section of the website of the Delegation of the European Union to Rwanda.
Other sources of information
More information on EU relations with Rwanda is available on the pages of the Delegation of the European Union to Rwanda, which is also responsible for co-operation activities in the country.