Safety and Security have retained a top position in the eighth edition of the Rwanda governance scorecard released this year, despite challenges of COVID-19 noticed in evaluating some pillars.
The Rwanda Governance Scorecard is a national index published every year to consistently assess the state of governance in Rwanda. It is built on eight pillars namely The Rule of Law, Political Rights and Civil Liberties, Participation and Inclusiveness, Safety and Security, Investing in Human and Social Development, Quality of Service Delivery, Economic and Corporate Governance, as well as Anti-Corruption, Transparency, and Accountability.
The security and safety pillar scooped 95.47% noticing an increase from the previous edition where it remained top with a score of 95.44%.
The report showed that despite COVID-19, the most improved pillar was Quality of Service delivery coming up with 3.55% improvement while Economic and Corporate governance hit rock bottom among the least performing pillars with a 74.65%, a decline by 3.49%.
This performance is attributed to improvement of the indicators of service delivery in social transformation, service delivery monitoring, and service delivery through ICT which recorded a performance of 82.31%, 77.48%, and 89.11% respectively against 76.9%, 72.6%, and 84.04% respectively in the previous edition.
“Through ICT investment, increased online and cashless payments helped in improving service delivery and the role of the private sector was also crucial in improving well being of citizens during COVID-19 lockdown,” said Yusta Kayitesi the RGB CEO.
The three pillars with the lowest-performing variables (below 60%) are; Economic and Corporate Governance, Investing in Human and Social Development, and Rule of Law.
This, according to the report showed that it was for the first time, Economic and Corporate Governance to have the lowest-performing pillar with a score of 74.65% and this is mainly due to the poor performance of Macroeconomic indicators and Foreign Trade and industrialization indicators which scored 71.58% and 66.61% respectively against 81.43% and 73.16% in the previous edition.
Despite this drop in some pillars, which was also attributed to COVID-19, CEO Kayitesi said that there were some positive things that happened especially in citizens’ participation, new lessons learned, and ways of doing things.
For instance, the report showed that participation and inclusiveness is the second most improved pillar with a score of 84.19% representing an increase of 2.23% compared to the previous edition.
“Even with COVID-19 where it was hard to collect information, we saw many classrooms built by communities, citizens come up strongly in governance for example in volunteering in preventing and sharing information on the COVID-19 test, vaccine, and access to justice,” Kayitesi said.
The reason for this increase is improvement in the performance of the participation of non-state actors indicator (including religious sectors) but particularly the variable of media participation which moved from 77.11% in the previous edition to 81.36% in the current edition.
Fode Ndiaye, the United Nations (One UN) Resident Representative, who is about to end his tenure this month said that in all the years of witnessing the launch of the governance scorecard, there has been one underlying factor that deserves recommendation and encouragement.
“This report represents the voices of the citizen and keeping citizens at the center of governance but also beside the challenges, it highlights recommendations of how to improve,” Ndiaye said.
As a way forward looking at some of the key areas that played a central role in governance, the report recommended a multi-year nationwide strategy for streamlining climate change, ensure quality education, spearhead citizen ICT literacy, and enhancing human security, and sustain transparency.
Professor Masereri Gustave Tombola, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kigali (UoK) who also has played a role in corporate governance in Rwanda recommended that the report should also assess the contribution of corporate management in governance and social-economic development.