Three months after freezing general budget support to Rwanda, the British government is set to channel £9m to a program run by the Rwandan government. The aid will be used to make unconditional cash payments totaling £9m to 545,000 of Rwanda‘s most disadvantaged people.
The Department for International Development (DfID) said that support will be provided as financial aid and technical cooperation to the Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme, the government of Rwanda’s flagship social protection programme. Responding to the question whether the funding will contribute to delivering DfID’s operational plan, the statement on its website note that the programme will directly deliver headline results on poverty, vulnerability and hunger in DFID Rwanda current operational plan.
UK support to VUP in the form of financial aid and technical co-operation, would total £29.03m between 2008 and 2013. “Despite recent progress in reducing poverty, Rwanda remains a very poor country where nearly a quarter of the population live in extreme poverty” remarks DFID statement on its website.
The British government will provide financial and technical support to VUP. DFID note that “this flagship programme of Rwanda’s first Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDRPS) aims to extend coverage of social protection amongst the poorest (through scaling up unconditional cash transfers and public works employment) and to increase the efficiency of social protection spend in Rwanda”.
The program is expected to contribute to the achievement of the outcomes of “accelerated reduction of extreme poverty in targeted VUP sectors” . It is aslo expected to reduce % of population living below the extreme poverty line in VUP sectors from 39.4% (2006) to 30.2% (2013) and a reduction in the % of households categorised as extremely poor by the community in Vision 2020 Umurenge programme (VUP) sectors from 34% in 2007 to 28.6% in 2013.
Stephen Devereux, of the Institute of Development Studies, who was commissioned by DfID to assess the programme between 2009 and 2011 was quoted by The Guardian as saying that the VUP is a very strongly government-owned programme, even though it’s largely externally financed. “In many other countries, you find that donors decide what projects are going to be run because they put the money in. But in Rwanda, which is very similar to Ethiopia, the government is very strongly in charge of the programme even though it’s funded by a pool of donors. Donors put the money in, but all the decisions are taken by the government”, said the development expert.