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A five-person US congressional delegation on Tuesday, September 1, 2009, visited two AfDB-financed projects on the outskirts of Kigali. The delegation, led by Representative Greg Meeks, comprised Georgia Republican Representative, Jack Kingston; Ohio Democratic Representative, Marcia Fudge; Texas Democratic Representative, Sheila Jackson Lee; and North Carolina Democratic Representative, Melvin Watt. The US congressional delegation was accompanied by a Bank Group team led by the institution’s Resident Representative in Rwanda, Diko Jacob Mukete.
At the first project site, the delegation met with Mrs. Dorothy Nakabonye, an HIV/AIDS widow with five children, who is a beneficiary of the Bank’s Diary Cattle Development Support Project (PADEBL). The project substantially supports Rwanda’s national “One Cow per Poor Family Programme”. Through discussions with Mrs. Nakabonye, the US delegation was able to appreciate the project’s poverty reduction impact on poor families. She said that the milk from her cow was an important source of nutrition and income for her family, adding that the income from the surplus production had enabled her to send her children to school, subscribe to the national health insurance scheme, upgrade her house and improve her living conditions. In addition, she is using the manure produced by the cow to increase her crop production. The delegation also noted that Mrs. Nakabonye had passed on the first female calf to a poor neigbour who was eligible under the “One Cow per Poor Family Programme”. In addition to the purchase and the distribution of heifers, PADEBL is implementing other support activities such as the construction of milk collection centres, artificial insemination, vaccination campaigns for project beneficiaries.
The congressional delegation also visited the Bank-funded multinational Kicukiro-Kirundo road project linking Rwanda to Burundi which aims at strengthening sub-regional integration and facilitating trade between the two countries and other countries within the region. The delegation noted that the road had opened up the region and reduced travel time and general transportation cost between Rwanda and Burundi. For the people in the project area, the main road and the rehabilitated feeder roads have also improved access to basic services, increased opportunities for commercial activities and facilitated the marketing of agricultural products. The delegation also inspected a bridge over the Nyabarongo River on the Kicukiro-Kirundo road in the Bugesera area.
Speaking at the end of the visit, Congressman Meeks commended the Bank’s sustained efforts at reducing poverty through its various projects. He said he was now in a position to “strongly support the Bank’s case for recapitalization”, having seen its achievements on the ground. Mr. Mukete, for his part, expressed gratitude to the US delegation for visiting Rwanda and making time to visit two of the Bank’s development projects.