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On June 30th, Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of the Republic of Rwanda, Rémy Rioux, CEO of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and Jérémie Blin, Chargé d’Affaires of the Republic of France to Rwanda, signed a series of financing agreements, to an overall tune of €49.5 million. These are part of the renewed partnership between France and Rwanda, as desired by Presidents Paul Kagame and Emmanuel Macron. In confirmation of AFD's Chief Executive Officer’s visit to Kigali in June 2019, the first since 1992, these financings aim to support the Rwandan government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic and help structure the country's vocational training system.

The first agreement consists in a €40 million concessional budget loan (about Frw 42.5 billion). It will support the strategy to combat the Covid-19 epidemic and the social recovery plan drawn up by the Rwandan authorities. 

Based on WHO recommendations and country health and social protection strategies, the Government of Rwanda has developed its national plans, in order to: (i) prepare for and respond to the Covid-19 pandemic with the purpose to preserving and improving the health of the people and (ii) to protect the living conditions of the most vulnerable segments of the population. AFD's global support will provide flexibility to allow the government of Rwanda to adapt allocation of resources to the evolution of the disease.

On the Health side, the contribution will support priority measures to prevent transmission of the Covid-19, increase diagnostic capacities (tests, lab capacities), prevent and control infections in health centers (set up of isolation centers, personal protection equipment) and improve the treatment of affected patients (set up of treatment referral points). Overall, these actions will contribute in the long term to strengthening the capacities of the national health system and to improving the socio-economic livelihoods of the communities most affected by Covid-19. The health action plan is implemented by and under the supervision of the Rwanda Biomedical Center.

On the Social Protection side, the AFD facility will help Rwanda mitigate the social effects of Covid-19 on the most affected households by: (i) providing cash transfers to 150.000 vulnerable households, (ii) providing cash for works to 190.000 vulnerable households, (iii) enabling access to the nutrition program to 75.000 households with pregnant women or children under 2 years old, (iv) extending nutrition and financial support programs to more than 212.000 households from the informal sector who are not covered by the social protection system, and (v) supporting the funding of health insurance contributions for more than 1.9 million policyholders to the Rwanda Social Security Board. The Social Protection Plan is implemented by and under the supervision of the Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA).

In addition to the €40 million budget support loan to the Government, AFD is also providing a grant to the tune of €2 million (about Frw 2.1 billion) to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that will support Covid-19 response to the most vulnerable households in cooperation with the Rwanda Red Cross Society and Rwandan Authorities. 

This €42 million total support against Covid-19 is part of the broader #TeamEurope response which is the tangible expression of the European Union Member States solidarity to help partner countries deal with the Covid crisis. In that respect, France launched a €1.2 billion initiative in response to the worldwide public health crisis caused by the global pandemics: “Health in Common”.

A second grant agreement was signed, to the tune of € 5.8 million (about Frw 6 billion), in support of the country’s vocational training system’s development. The project will increase the employability of Rwandan youth by strengthening their technical and linguistic skills through the inclusion of modules to reinforce the teaching of French. It thus responds to the Rwandan authorities' strategy to make the country a hub for regional growth and languages.

The funding will also contribute to the implementation of a territorial plan in the district of Rulindo, which brings together those involved in the education, entrepreneurship and vocational integration of young people. Rwanda Polytechnic, a key player in vocational training, will be in charge of the implementation of the project. 

An extra € 1.7 million will be provided by AFD to French operator Expertise France, to provide technical assistance to Rwanda Polytechnic, which will bring France's total support to € 7.5 million.

These financing agreements, to a tune of €49.5 million, are in line with France's cooperation policy, defined around the following five thematic priorities: the fight against vulnerability, education, climate, gender equality and health. This goes together with two central and cross-cutting concerns: the environment and social cohesion. 

"As part of the unprecedented global solidarity drive to address the Covid-19 health crisis in Africa, AFD is fully committed to a targeted response to the health challenges posed by this pandemic. Given the emergency situation, the Agency is mobilizing all its teams and resources to provide fair, rapid and appropriate responses to the needs expressed by our partners, with the priority objective of strengthening health systems and supporting the actors engaged in this fight that concerns us all. One year to the day after my first visit to Rwanda in June 2019, I am happy to see the progress made in reviving AFD’s activity with the government of Rwanda. These are our first commitments in sovereign financing after about thirty years. They are part of a revival dynamic for our two countries partnership, at the service of the Rwandan population and in particular their youth", says Rémy Rioux, AFD Chief Executive Officer.

"The signing of these financing agreements marks an important step in the revival of relations between France and Rwanda. I am profoundly delighted. The € 40 million budget loan demonstrates France's determination to stand by Rwanda to address the health aspects of the Covid-19 epidemic and to support social measures that benefit the populations most affected by the economic impact of the crisis. This loan is part of the commitment of Team Europe (the European Union and its Member States) to support Rwanda's determined action against Covid-19. The € 5.8 million grant materialises our desire to support Rwanda's ambitious development strategy by backing the vocational training sector in order to promote access to employment for young Rwandan men and women. I hope that AFD's reengagement in Rwanda will continue in the spirit of partnership that presides over Franco-Rwandan relations", says Jérémie Blin, Chargé d'affaires of the French Republic to Rwanda.

Press Contact : Berenice Oreyo-Pierronnet