The resumption of AFD Group's activity in Rwanda began in 2019 when President Paul Kagame hosted AFD Group's CEO, Rémy Rioux, ending a 25-year absence. This meeting allowed AFD to re-establish dialogue with Rwandan authorities. Two years later, during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Rwanda, France made a commitment of €500 million. And another three years on, it's time for an assessment.
Rwanda aspires to become an upper-middle-income economy by 2035 and join high-income countries by 2050. The opening of an AFD office in Kigali in October 2021 accelerated the process of mutual understanding, and identified a number of priorities and projects to come. With AFD’s contribution, France's contribution came to over €520 million.
Further reading: Projects to Lower Poverty and Inequality in Rwanda
Despite the relatively recent resumption of activities, AFD's actions have already had tangible impacts on the ground.
For example, within the framework of a vocational training project to meet the needs of the labor market, 4,400 students per year benefit from enhanced training in the mechatronics department (mechanics and electronics) of IPRC Tumba Polytechnic and four other institutions.
Moreover, since the summer of 2023, 10,000 households have been connected to the national power grid, and in the coming months, 230,000 households are expected to be connected across the northern and western provinces.
Support for the financial sector has helped:
- Create or preserve 554 jobs in 83 SMEs via the Bank of Kigali
- Green financial flows, both public and private – including the launch of Ireme Invest, an innovative tool to "green" the private sector, supported by Rwandan Development Bank and the Rwandan Green Fund
Beyond that, several initiatives have recently been launched and will be realized on the ground in the near future in the fields of education (especially French language support and education), development of informal settlements in Kigali with the European Union, health, and digital.
Mobilization of the Entire AFD Group
Now, the entire AFD Group is being mobilized. Expertise France for instance is involved in several initiatives funded by AFD. Our technical cooperation agency also deploys expertise, funded by European funds, to strengthen and operationalize the Rwandan National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency through the Twinning project.
Further reading: Rwanda to be a "trailblazer" in Green Finance
Expertise France, alongside the French scheme known as "Initiative", are also mobilized alongside Rwanda's national partners, including civil society, the Ministry of Health, and Rwanda Biomedical Centre, in the fight against HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, as well as the strengthening of the health system.
Proparco, the Group’s branch responsible for the private sector, has signed a first operation alongside the International Finance Corporation (a subdivision of the World Bank Group), for the construction of a climate-respectful mixed-use real estate project, applying sustainable construction methods and creating hundreds of jobs.
Continuing these efforts, the Kigali agency plans to hold consultations on February 22 with Rwandan authorities to present these results and define new areas of cooperation.
"These consultations will be an opportunity to renew our partnership with the Rwandan government, building on the successes of the last 3 years,” says Arthur Germond, AFD Director in Rwanda. “The AFD Group aims to capitalize on supported flagship initiatives (including the mechatronics department at IPRC Tumba, the launch of Ireme Invest, or the upcoming construction of Musanze Hospital) to better support Rwanda in its ambitious development trajectory."
This project is carried out with the support of the European Union.
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