EU grants €200 million budget support to Rwanda agriculture (22/06/2016)
Largest ever single EU financial grant to Rwanda - Rwanda's Minister of Finance Claver Gatete today signed a 200 million Euro (RWF 173 billion) budget support agreement with the European Union to invest in farm production, nutrition and jobs in Rwanda's all-important agricultural sector. Agriculture Minister Gerardine Mukeshimana looked on as EU Ambassador Michael Ryan and Minister Gatete exchanged documents sealing the largest ever single EU financial grant to Rwanda.
The funds will be used to support the transformation under way in Rwandan agriculture. With 80% of the population earning a living from farming, the EU grant will support government programmes to improve nutrition among rural communities, expand the number of food-secure households , make farmers more efficient in cropping patterns and land use, and extend the irrigation network to cover more households. The EU grant will help spread agro-forestry in hilly and terraced areas, target job opportunities among export-oriented agricultural producers and processors, and provide suitable loans to farmers and cooperatives. Support to improving public financial management capacities in agriculture is to be provided by the EU grant.
Minister Gatete said after signing the agreement with the EU: "This €200 million grant is part of the EU's €460 million package of support to Rwanda we agreed in 2015. I signed a €177 million budget support for energy with Ambassador Michael Ryan in May this year. Today we sign an additional amount for agriculture, the 2nd of two areas of support we consider as high priority for Rwanda."
Ambassador Michael Ryan welcomed the historic signature: "One third of Rwanda's GDP comes from agriculture. This is a vital sector for 80% of Rwandans earning a living from farming, but also for businesses and innovative entrepreneurs who add to exports and production, and thus boost jobs and farm incomes, and foster a thriving agricultural industry. This is the biggest grant ever provided to Rwanda by the EU. It will support what the government has set out as its vision to stimulate farming and agro-business, and to improve the lives of Rwandans."