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Kigali, 11 March 2009-The Bank Group and Rwanda on March 7, 2009, in Kigali, signed protocol agreements for two grants amounting to US$ 17.2 million to support the second phase of a Science and Technology for Skills Development and Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Projects in the country.
The agreements were signed by Rwanda’s Finance Minister, James Musoni, and the Bank Group’s Field Office Resident Representative, Jacob Diko Mukete.
Speaking during the event, Mr. Musoni expressed appreciation for the excellent relations between his country and the Bank Group. He thanked the Bank Group for approving the two grants, noting that the “Support to Science and Technology for Skills Development” project would contribute to the improvement of science, technology and industrial skills in Rwanda, and would boost economic growth and poverty reduction efforts.
The AfDB resident representative, for his part, commended the Rwandan government for its sustained efforts in implementing the right policy and institutional reforms to foster an enabling environment that is conducive for promoting economic growth and reducing poverty. He noted that the project was essential for creating the critical mass of environmental design, planning and management specialists - technicians, land surveyors, quantity surveyors, architects, and urban designers and planners - to enable Rwanda achieve its development objectives within the framework of sustainable land use and environmental protection.
The project, to be implemented at a total cost of 6.7 million Units of Account, equivalent to US$ 9.8 million, will support government efforts to build capacity for skills development in science and technology by facilitating the opening of the School of Environmental Planning and Design (SEPAD) at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and promoting female students’ access to science and technology at the tertiary level.
With regard to the “Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project (CEDP) Phase II’, Mr. Musoni said that Bank support would help in enhancing enterprise competitiveness in Rwanda. The project, which focuses on two beneficiary institutions - the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Banque Nationale du Rwanda (BNR), will further address weaknesses in Rwanda’s private sector development efforts. It will also complement current initiatives to address the high cost of doing business, which has negatively affected Rwanda’s competitive position as a preferred destination for foreign investments in the region. The project is expected to provide sustained support for the recently established RDB to fulfil its mandate of spearheading the country’s investment and export promotion drive. The project, estimated at UA 5.0 million, equivalent to US$ 7.4 million, will be implemented over a three-year period - 2009-2011.
The two grants were approved by the African Development Fund (ADF) Board of Directors on November 11, 2008, and December 29, 2008, respectively.