News story

Minister Wharton hails UK’s strong partnership with Rwanda

International Development Minister James Wharton returns from his first visit to Rwanda, where he saw the life-changing impact of UK aid.

DFID Minister James Wharton in Rwanda with the Governor of Northern Province meeting beneficiaries of UK aid. Picture: William Gelling
DFID Minister James Wharton in Rwanda with governor of Northern Province meeting beneficiaries of UK aid. Picture: William Gelling

During his first visit to Rwanda, the minister saw how the UK is helping some of the poorest and most vulnerable people there to develop more sustainable livelihoods and lift themselves out of poverty. DFID’s social protection programme has already helped boost opportunities for 390,000 people.

He also visited the Rwanda Revenue Authority and its Electronic Cargo Tracking System that the UK supports through the Trade Mark East Africa programme, which is developing innovative digital technologies to reduce the cost of trade and increase domestic tax revenues. This builds on DFID’s leading role in establishing and providing British expertise to the Rwanda Revenue Authority, helping increase tax income from £60 million in its first year to £1.09 billion this year.

The UK’s support is boosting economic growth and development, and building robust institutions to help Rwanda stand on its own two feet.

James Wharton said:

Rwanda has made remarkable progress over the last 20 years. I am proud that the UK has been able to support Rwanda on this journey – contributing to its achievement of lifting over 1.5 million people out of poverty. It is great to see the strong partnership that we’ve built.

As an outward-looking, globally-engaged nation, the UK is committed to maintaining the broad range of support that it provides to Rwanda: helping to tackle poverty, boost economic development, drive investment and create jobs – which will increase global prosperity. This will help Rwanda stand on its own two feet.

Investing in peace, development and security is essential for stability in the Great Lakes and is in both Rwanda’s and the UK’s long-term interests.

Minister Wharton met the government of Rwanda’s Minister of Finance, Claver Gatete, and Minister of Education, Dr Papias Musafiri, to discuss areas of mutual interest for the UK and Rwanda, including tackling poverty, increasing access to quality education, boosting trade and investment and opening up civil society space. He also paid his respects at the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

The UK is leading the way in encouraging the transformation of Rwanda’s economy, creating better paid jobs for all – including for youth, women and the poorest – and supporting a vibrant private sector that will contribute to increased growth and exports. We are also helping support education and social protection programmes to create more opportunities and enable the poorest to lift themselves out of poverty.

In Rwanda over the last 5 years, UK support has helped:

  • improve land and property rights for 3.7 million people;
  • enable 354,000 children to access primary education;
  • provide 355,000 people with access to financial services; and
  • boost opportunities for 390,000 of the poorest Rwandans.
Published 29 September 2016