Rwanda

The UK and United Nations join forces to support good governance in Rwanda

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Rwandans will soon be able to hear Parliamentary sessions on the radio for the first time, thanks to a new 'strengthening governance' programme launched today.

The $10 million programme, a joint venture between the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will support increased communication between the Government of Rwanda and citizens.

The four-year programme will provide assistance to the:

  • Parliament, by establishing a new parliamentary radio station so that Rwandans can hear sessions broadcast live for the first time. The programme will also train, provide equipment for, and pay the salaries of members of the Parliament's support unit, which provides research for standing committees.
  • Human Rights Commission, to help build capacity to investigate alleged human rights violations and educate citizens about their rights.
  • Office of the Ombudsman, by supporting public information campaigns to inform citizens about their rights, and how they can tackle corruption.
  • National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, including help to extend the Commission's current 'ingando' civic education of Rwanda's history, which helps young people to understand the causes of the Genocide.
  • National Electoral Commission, to assist with the computerisation of the electoral process in preparation for free and fair elections in 2008.
  • High Council of the Press, to help protect freedom of the media.

    The new programme was launched today by Hilary Benn, the UK's Secretary of State for International Development and Alain Noudehou of UNDP in Kigali. DFID will contribute $8.8 million and UNDP will contribute $1.87 million to the programme.

    Mr Benn said:

    "Rwanda has made unbelievable progress since the devastation of 1994, the economy has grown strongly, and education and healthcare are getting better all the time. I believe this has been made possible because of politics.

    "Good governance is essential to development. Without it, there is no peace and security. Without peace and security, people won't invest. If there is no investment, economic growth will suffer, which means the money to pay for health, education, access to clean water and infrastructure will not be there.

    "This project will help to strengthen the all-important bond between Government and citizen, so that Rwandans can hold their Government to account for the choices it makes. It is this kind of political progress that will help Rwanda to grow and change for the better."

    The Deputy Representative for UNDP in Rwanda, Alain Noudehou said:

    "At UNDP we believe that good governance is key in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and in Rwanda it is critical to reaching the country's Vision 2020.

    "From that viewpoint, we see the concept of governance as the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country's affairs at all levels. It comprises mechanisms, processes and institutions, through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences.

    "And as stated recently by the UNDP Administrator, the basic purpose of development is to enlarge people's choices. Democratic governance expands people's choices and aims at people controlling their own destinies."