An Evaluation of the World Bank Group’s Support to Rwanda (2009–17)
This evaluation assesses the development effectiveness of the World Bank Group's country program in Rwanda over the period FY09-17.Download Report
Government commitment and leadership have been at the heart of Rwanda’s success. During the evaluation period, Rwanda sustained the vigorous economic growth and social progress that have driven its transformation from a fragile, conflict-affected country to one that is widely regarded as being among Africa’s most dynamic and high potential. Sustained government commitment and effective management of the reform agenda have been key factors in this transformation, and have enabled the world Bank Group and other development partners to play a positive role in supporting the country’s development.
The Bank Group’s positioning in relation to Rwanda’s Vision 2020 goals has been strong. The Bank Group’s strategic objectives over the evaluation period reflected many of the elements that are critical to the country’s attainment of MIC status. At the same time, they were responsive to government wishes, notably regarding specialization by development partners under the Division of Labor (DOL). The objectives underlying Bank Group support in agriculture, energy, and urban development in addition to social protection, the business environment (including the financial sector, skills development, and PPP), and PFM have all been of central relevance to the country’s middle-income aspirations. The Bank Group has also paid adequate attention to capacity development objectives, an important foundation for the country’s continuing advancement.
Overall, the extent to which the World Bank Group’s program met its relevant objectives over the evaluation period warrants a Satisfactory rating. The rating reflects both the extent to which objectives were attained under individual pillars and sub-pillars (Chapter 3) and the Bank Group’s overall strategic positioning and program delivery (Chapter 2). There was progress towards relevant Bank Group objectives in all of its areas of engagement, notably in energy, transport and ICT, agriculture, social protection, the financial sector, and public resource management (Appendix)—areas of engagement that were either explicitly indicated under the DOL or otherwise spanned the entire evaluation period.
In many of these areas, of course, progress was qualified:
IEG considers the World Bank Group’s performance in designing and implementing its Rwanda program to have been strong.
Even where successes were qualified, they were so mostly in spite of the Bank Group’s support rather than because of it:
Revitalizing and sustaining progress will now require a paradigm shift. Rwanda’s growth model for the past two decades has depended largely on public investment backed by donor support. The government has in effect taken on the role of catalyst of growth, often seeding business development. Although some increases in private investment have been observed in recent years, party- and military-affiliated companies continue to play an important role in the economy (in the views of some, this can have a deterrent effect on private investment). As Rwanda approaches MIC status and the terms of external support progressively “harden,” driving up public debt, the sustainability of this model will come increasingly under strain.
The Bank Group is uniquely positioned to help Rwanda manage the shift to a new, private sector–led growth paradigm. Its engagement with the Future Drivers of Growth study to help shape Vision 2050, a new long-term vision of Rwanda’s development , has given it a role of trusted development partner. The roadmap toward a new growth model will need to embrace an ambitious reform agenda that addresses key issues and constraints to attain MIC status and sustain progress thereafter.
The most important issues include:
The World Bank Group program can make strategic contributions to help Rwanda follow the roadmap and realize the vision.
Read more about the overall performance and IEG ratings for each of the 3 pillars.
Certain general lessons emerge from the Rwanda experience:
In planning and implementing the next phase of Bank Group support, IEG recommends that the Bank Group’s Rwanda country management team consider: