Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada


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International development projects in Rwanda

International development projects in Rwanda

CIDA disbursements in Rwanda: 2011-2012

CIDA disbursements in Rwanda
Amount in $M
Long-term development assistance
Total 33.88
Portrait of a Rwandese woman wearing a red turban. © ACDI-CIDA/Steve Simon


In Rwanda, Africa's most densely populated country, life expectancy is 55 years (Source: World Bank – 2011). Two thirds of the population is under 24, and almost three quarters lives on less than US$1.25/day. A country with limited natural resources, Rwanda ranks 167 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's 2012 human development index. Yet the country is making considerable progress in many areas.

Rwanda has made remarkable strides in recovering from the 1994 genocide, bringing several perpetrators to justice and physically reconstructing the country. Now that the country is stable, the Government of Rwanda has integrated the Millennium Development Goals into its national development framework and is on track to achieve universal primary education and gender equality. More than half of Rwanda's parliamentarians—56 percent—are women.

Peace and stability in the Great Lakes region cannot be achieved without Rwanda playing a constructive role. Rwanda is a principal contributor to the African Union/UN Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID). In order to expand economic opportunities, Rwanda joined the East African Community in 2007 and the Commonwealth in 2010.

The country's economic growth rate since 2000 has been among the highest in Africa, but the benefits of this growth have bypassed the rural areas where poverty is concentrated and most people depend on agriculture for subsistence. Although the country is largely self-sufficient in food production, infrastructure in the agriculture sector is inadequate, resulting in agricultural production being much lower than its potential. One quarter of the population is food insecure. Rapid population growth is contributing to the unsustainable use of resources, and underemployment is increasing.

As part of the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2013, Canada has restructured and streamlined its operations. By March 2014, all Canada funding for country-to-country programs in Rwanda will end and all existing project and contract work will be completed. Rwanda will continue to remain eligible for support through Canada's the Pan-Africa regional program, as well as through the Multilateral and global programs (including international humanitarian assistance when needed) and Partnerships with Canadians programs.

Thematic Focus

Canada's international development assistance program in Rwanda is closely aligned with the country's 2006 aid policy, which promotes program-based approaches, and its Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy 2008-2012 (PDF, 3 MB, 166 pages), which aims to increase economic growth by increasing agricultural growth, slowing population growth, tackling extreme poverty, and ensuring greater efficiency in poverty reduction.

Canada's program in Rwanda helped the country increase food security by improving agricultural productivity. This increase was achieved by supporting the development of rural infrastructure and improving management of land and water resources.

Food security

Canada has worked closely with the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and other partners to help implement the country's national agriculture strategy, which is to shift from subsistence agriculture to market-based activities. Canada's support for efforts focused on rural infrastructure and management of land and water resources helped:

  • connect farmers to markets through better roads
  • counter soil erosion
  • improve irrigation for year-round productivity
  • develop marshland for better crop yields

These efforts have helped increase agricultural production and incomes for poor rural women and men, and strengthen the capacity of local governments to create and manage development plans. Local government and civil society officials have been trained in participatory and financial planning, public tendering, and equality between women and men.

Progress on Aid Effectiveness

Rwanda adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages) and has taken steps to integrate its principles into the country's relationships with donor countries and multilateral agencies.

Achievements 2011-2012

  • Improved the livelihoods of 6,748 Rwandans, of whom 54 percent were women
  • Promoted vegetable production and increased household incomes by supporting the creation of 2,597 kitchen gardens and distribution of some 180,000 fruit tree seedlings.
  • Aided in the construction of two health centres, a modern market building, and 1,000 houses for vulnerable families, as well as promoting basket weaving and other economic activities for women associations.

Achievements 2010-2011

  • Helped communities transform their hillsides through the creation of radical terraces and drainage canals.
  • In one project area, farmers received fertilizer support and agricultural extension services. Participating farmers' share of commercialized products rose from the baseline of 35 percent to 65 percent, exceeding targets.
  • In two districts, trained local authorities in financial management, procurement, and gender, resulting in improved implementation of their plans and programs.
  • In two districts, trained civil society representatives in human rights, and improved their ability to negotiate with the local authorities. Farmers now have a better understanding of the land tenure reforms and the impact on their lives.

Achievements 2009-2010

Food security

  • Helped develop 275 hectares of marshland and 658 hectares of terraces for productive use and reforest 8,380 hectares, benefiting more than 5,000 farm households and contributing to job creation, a diversified local economy and increased agricultural production
  • Helped improve or construct 325 km of rural roads with anti-erosion ditches
  • Established and strengthened about 200 small and medium-sized private sector enterprises and rural organizations of farmers, fishermen and women
  • Trained 15,000 people in road rehabilitation, terracing, agro-forestry, agriculture and fishing
  • Created more than 4.8 million days of paid work for local people, more than half of whom are women

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