Monday, February 13, 2012

Rwanda: A Success Story

Hugh Evans, Co-Founder and CEO of the Global Poverty Project, posted a great piece in The Huffington Post citing an example of how development assistance has worked.

In an article entitled I Thought 'Aid Doesn't Work?', Evans cites the example of Rwanada, which has worked hard to implement measures that directly address poverty, including some targets established under the Millennium Development Goals.

Here is an excerpt from the article.
This week, the Government of Rwanda released a report that outlined startling success in reducing poverty over the past five years. According to the Household Living Conditions Survey -- which is the international benchmark for assessing the prevalence of poverty -- the number of households under the poverty line has dropped by 200,000 since 2006. That's about a million people in a country of 11 million -- or, if you prefer statistics, a 12 percent drop in the population classified as 'poor' (from 57 percent to 45 percent) between 2006 and 2011. This represents one of the best outcomes in poverty in recent times. But beneath these impressive numbers, there are even more positive signs across the board in Rwanda.

In a separate piece published in the Wall Street Journal on Feb. 10, John Rwangombwa, Rwanda's finance minister, writes about his country's success.
"... there is nothing supernatural about what [Rwanda has] achieved to date.. [it is] the result of unrelenting focus by our country's leaders and citizens on getting the fundamentals right: government accountability and transparency, policies that attract trade and investment, a healthy and educated population."
Make no mistake, Rwanda has done much of this on its own, but the country is quick to acknowledge that the accomplishments would not have been attained without assistance from the European Union, Great Britain, the World Bank and the African Development Bank. 

This is a great example of how development assistance can help countries emerge from poverty.  And this is why the United States should continue its commitments in this area.  Chances are you might be writing about this at the Offering of Letters at your church this year. One of Bread for the World's efforts this year is to urge Congress to maintain funding for poverty-focused development assistance.