The newly launched Rwanda Cooperation Governance Centre is set to be a major gateway through which visitors and foreign parties can learn more about Rwanda and offer a platform for renewed cooperation and partnerships for development.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dr. Vincent Biruta, speaking at the launch of the knowledge sharing hub under Rwanda Cooperation, which also houses CIFAL Kigali, said that the centre will play a crucial role in fostering South-South Cooperation.
Minister Biruta said the inauguration of the Rwanda Cooperation Governance Centre on Wednesday is a major milestone towards positioning Rwanda as a model other countries or people can learn from, factoring in the socioeconomic progress the country has registered over the past three decades.
“This moment marks the beginning of a new and exciting era for Rwanda Cooperation, for Rwanda, and indeed, for any involved actors in the South -South and Triangular cooperation on a national, regional, and international level seeking to learn more about Rwanda’s innovative development initiatives,”
“This Governance Centre will serve as a hub of learning, a place where ideas are shared freely, and intellectual curiosity is fostered. Throughout history, centres of knowledge and excellence have been places of great importance,” Dr. Biruta said.
Dr. Biruta said that the centre, like others across the world, will be home to the ideas that change the world and be a starting point of revolutions in science, technology, and philosophy.
“Today, we unveil a new centre that we believe will continue to enrich the lives of generations to come,” he said.
Minister Biruta said the centre is in line with priority area 3 of the National Strategies for Transformation (NST1) which focuses on transformational governance.
The centre will contribute towards Rwanda’s efforts to strengthen diplomatic and cooperation to accelerate Rwanda and Africa’s development.
“To be able to achieve that goal, we put in place mechanisms to raise awareness of Rwanda’s Home-Grown Initiatives locally and internationally to support development,” Minister Biruta said.
He pointed out that with the underpinned strategies on meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Rwanda is committed to providing the highest standards of learning, and with policies harnessing cutting-edge technology, which will foster an environment of collaboration and innovation.
Dr. Biruta commended RCI and UNITAR and the CIFAL Global Network which worked together to establish the centre.
“Through this Governance Centre, and the CIFAL Kigali, we are surely creating a platform allowing us to promote a sustained and inclusive development cooperation, with capable and accountable institutions in the implementation, monitoring and reporting of the international development agenda, the 2030 and 206 agenda,” the Foreign Affairs Minister said.
Amb. Christine Nkulikiyinka, CEO, RCI said that the Rwanda Cooperation Governance Centre will play a key role in advancing the implementation of the SDGs and African Agenda 2063 and open Rwanda’s doors to the world to come and learn.
“It signifies a milestone in our collective pursuit of promoting opportunities for greater exchange of knowledge while ensuring high quality experiences of different beneficiaries from the region and beyond,”
“It stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to foster a culture of lifelong learning, and why not, a catalyst for innovative ideas for even better governance,” Amb. Nkulikinyinka said.
She pointed out that the governance centre symbolizes RCI’s dedication to nurturing a mutual learning by bringing together individuals from all walks of life, regardless of age, background, or expertise, where different voices and perspectives contribute to the rich tapestry of knowledge.
“This centre is thus not solely a place for passive consumption. It is a dynamic ecosystem that encourages active engagement and collaboration. It provides a platform for discussion, dialogue, and debate,”
“As a physical space, this centre holds fully equipped conference rooms to accommodate a large number of foreign visiting delegations and will also serve as a space for national, regional, and international events, trainings and conferences for all involved actors in South-South and Triangular Cooperation,” she said.
Rwanda Cooperation Governance Centre is also home to CIFAL “Centre International de Formation des Autorités et Leaders” Kigali which was created to bring together Rwandans and international stakeholders to be trained in various key thematic areas and enhance their skills and capacities as local leaders.
CIFAL Kigali will also serve as a gateway into Rwanda’s experience and expertise in different fields in connection to Multilateral Diplomacy and Development Cooperation, with Rwanda as a case study.
A lot to learn from Rwanda
UN Resident Coordinator to Rwanda, Ozonnia Ojielo said the newly opened Rwanda Cooperation Governance Centre will open doors for the world to come and learn from some of the home-grown initiatives Rwanda has undertaken over the years to advance socioeconomic development.
“One of the key achievements of the Government of Rwanda has been, as you all know, the pursuit of locally developed solutions to meet the developmental challenges facing the country, and indeed the continent,”
“The solutions, referred to as the Home-Grown Initiatives, are steeped in long standing and time-tested traditions and cultures that should be embraced,” Ojielo said, adding that the UN has taken note of how these solutions have substantially contributed to the country’s progress.
“Indeed, when the Government of Rwanda and UNDP jointly launched the Third National Human Development Report (NHDR) in 2021, it was recognised that Rwanda’s Home-Grown Solutions have contributed substantially to the ability of families to access health care, consume nutritious food, improve educational achievement and literacy, and in some cases decrease poverty,”.
“Five of the Thirteen Home-Grown Solutions were selected for the NHDR: the Girinka Program or one cow per family, the Vision 2020 Umurenge Program (VUP), community-based health insurance (CBHI), Imihigo performance contracts and Umuganda,” Ojielo said.
He added that it was established that for the past 15 years, these Home-Grown Solutions have also helped families cope with many challenges such as poverty, and improved livelihoods, and recently, the hardships of COVID-19.
“CBHI has facilitated access to health care. The Girinka program has provided nutrition during times of food shortages and falling employment,”
“Collective work projects of Umuganda’s contribution to Rwanda’s development 2007-2016 is estimated at more than US$127 million. As of 2016, 3,172 classrooms had been constructed, contributing to increased access to 9-years basic education goal,” the UN Resident Coordinate said
He observed that in 2017/18 alone, more than 3,400 houses were constructed for vulnerable people. 12 health posts were constructed in 2016/17, bringing health care closer to rural people. The number of health posts increased from 471 in 2016 to 703 in 2018 and 1,220 in 2021, a 159% increase.
Ojielo said these gains can serve a lesson to other countries and the newly inaugurated centre will play a crucial role in sharing with the rest of the world what people can do when they come together, guided by visionary leaders.
He hailed the Rwanda Cooperation, which was established in 2018, for the vital role it has played in fostering regional and international cooperation.
“Rwanda has actively engaged with neighbouring countries, African Union, United Nations, and other international organisations to promote peace, security, and collaboration,”
“The country has been a catalyst for regional integration, working towards the establishment of a prosperous and interconnected Africa. Rwanda’s efforts in conflict resolution, peacekeeping, and mediation have earned it respect and admiration on the global stage,”
The UN official said that under President Paul Kagame’s leadership, Rwandans made a conscious choice to heal and rebuild their nation.
“The government’s emphasis on national unity, truth, justice, and reconciliation has been a remarkable example for other countries grappling with similar challenges,”
“The Rwanda Cooperation Initiative has shown that forgiveness, understanding, and collective effort can overcome even history’s darkest chapters,” Ojielo said.
Rwanda Cooperation, which was launched in September 2018, acts as a hub for foreign partners interested in understanding the innovative development initiatives and good practices that have propelled Rwanda’s transformational journey.
It advocates for knowledge-sharing at the global level, and championing mutually beneficial partnerships through which Rwanda can share its own knowledge and experience to support countries’ continued growth and development, as well as learn from the successes of other countries across the world.
Rwanda Cooperation is mandated with streamlining Rwanda’s South-South Cooperation activities, through a number of knowledge-sharing modalities.
Rwanda Cooperation has received over 400 delegations comprising over 3,000 delegates since its inception in September 2018.