Kagame Advises Against One-Size-Fits-All Model
The New Times (Kigali)

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Felly Kimenyi

President Paul Kagame has urged World Bank managers to always encourage ownership of policies to the countries where they operate in order for their assistance to be effective.

He said this yesterday at Kigali Serena Hotel while opening a week-long training that brought together World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) country directors and managers from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

"We in Rwanda appreciate the fact that since 2004, the World Bank Group has been at the forefront of shifting towards programmatic support with an intention of strengthening country policy ownership this shift was based on the realisation that policy prescriptions and blue prints from the outside have never worked," said the President.

"History has proven this right that policies from outside have never worked what is needed is what I may call "more effective customisation" as opposed to "one-size-fits-all" model - in support of national policy priorities defined by the client," he said.

Kagame also told participants that the other fundamental feature that should be focused on is responsiveness where he urged government officials working with the participants to always maintain bonds of trust and build a relationship of mutual concern between countries.

"Undoubtedly this enterprise works best if there develops a basic relationship of mutual concern, respect and trust between parties," underscored the Head of State.

He also urged international financing agencies to always observe the right to access development finances to developing countries.

"How are we to build first-rate infrastructure to promote trade and investment or to undertake other critical economic growth and development triggers? Is this not a "low debt, low growth and low development" trap?" he questioned.

In his speech, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Jean Philippe Prosper said that the IFC ventures in Africa have significantly increased from US$120 million in 2003 to US$1.4 billion this year.

"And we shall soon get to US$2 billion we need to add more value especially on infrastructural development and access to finance," he pledged.

He said that their commitments in Rwanda in the past two years amount to US$25 million, "and we are committed to do more especially in Rwanda which has encouraged us especially by easing the process of doing business."

He cited the recent Doing Business Report, which ranked Rwanda among the best in creating a better environment for businessmen.

"The commitment by the President to encourage a private sector economy and the way he is leading this country encouraged us to hold this training in Kigali, the first time for it to be held outside DC (Washington)," Prosper said.

"Today, Rwanda demonstrates both the promise and the challenge that development institutions face in supporting a country committed to reform and improve lives of its people," he noted.

According to an IFC press release, the commitments of the IFC in Rwanda mainly went to new investments, while the World Bank's portfolio in the country consists of 12 projects with a net commitment of US$374 million.

Relevant Links

The theme of the training is "Mastering Leadership Management Programme."

Jean-Louis Kayitenkore
Procurement Consultant
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East Africa
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