Rwanda and the French Development Agency (AFD) have signed a grant agreement aimed at reinforcing the teaching and learning of the French language, a move which follows improved relationship between Rwanda and France.
The €5Million grant (approximately Rwf5.7 billion) from AFD signed this February 18, 2022, will finance the coordination and monitoring of the national plan for the teaching and learning of French.
The agreement was signed in Kigali by Uzziel Ndagijimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Finance, Ambassador Antoine Anfré, the French Envoy to Rwanda and Arthur Germond, the AFD Country Director.
In this regard, the AFD Group’s subsidiary Expertise France will provide technical assistance to the ministry of Education which will carry out and monitor the implementation of the plan.
Specifically the project will create an enabling environment for the teaching and learning of French as a foreign language and promote the learning of French in general education, through innovative teaching methods.
It will also strengthen the proficiency of more than 1000 language teachers in French to set up a solid base of trainers who possess the tools to train educators in French as a Foreign Language and French for Specific Objectives (FSO).
The project is expected to contribute to improved employability through French by laying the groundwork for the teaching of French in higher education and TVET with a focus on the labor market integration of professionals.
“Financing the National Plan for teaching and learning French in Rwanda will not only improve French proficiency in basic, higher, and TVET education, but it will also increase employability chances and contribute towards human capital development in general,” said Ndagijimana.
Ambassador Antoine Anfré explained that educational and linguistic cooperation have been a priority axis to renew and consolidate cooperation with Rwandan authorities and since 2019, the French Embassy has been the only actor involved in favor of the development of French in the fields of education and in the training of French teachers.
Germond said AFD is very pleased to contribute to the implementation of the decision by the Council of Ministers in October 2018 to have French more widely used across all sectors (education, training and business) and their technical cooperation agency, will support the Ministry of Education and all learning institutions in the implementation of the National Plan for the teaching and learning of French.
The grant and its project activities are also in line with the multilingual strategy of the Rwandan Government which has French, English and Kinyarwanda as the official languages.
As a member of the International Francophonie Organisation (OIF), the grant for Rwanda will constitute a Francophonie roadmap for the educational system, which aims at improving teaching and learning of French in schools nationwide.
During his State visit to Rwanda, in May 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron hinted strongly on the need to promote the French culture and language especially among the youth in Rwanda and France.
“I have been asked why Rwanda? And my answer to this is that I am convinced of the need to revive the French culture and education,” Macron said then.
More AFD Funding
AFD and The Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) also signed two financial agreements totaling €20.5 million (estimated Rwf24.3billion) aimed at supporting the bank in the rapid delivery of its development objectives.
The long term credit facility will be dedicated to accompanying the growth of BRD’s lending activity with clear agreed development targets and allow BRD to access funding for a period of 13 years.
The facility will further enable BRD to provide Rwandan Small and Medium Business Enterprises (SMEs) affordable loans with an extended maturity of up to 15 years for Government priority sectors.
AFD will also provide a technical assistance grant worth €0.5 million (Rwf592 million) to enhance BRD’s capacity to fulfill its mandate.
The technical assistance will include: strategic positioning of BRD as a development bank and enable it to improve financial inclusion and promote sustainable growth, reinforce risk management and financial steering capacities and support its positioning as a green bank through the definition of a climate strategy and the development of its environmental practices.
BRD CEO, Kampeta Sayinzoga said this unique facility is a result of a strong bilateral relationship between France and Rwanda.
“This renewed mutual trust has enabled both institutions to take this bold step to strengthen access to finance for SMEs as a core objective of Rwanda’s Strategy for transformation (NST1). This facility will position BRD as a provider of green financing.”