3. Domestic factors and Economic Development
Rwanda has had a few projects and initiatives to boost economic development
Rwanda has increased its primary school enrolment rate to nearly full attendance, at 96.5%. The role that education plays in the young ones' lives will ensure that they continue to develop their views and skill-sets needed to take on whatever job they wish to in the future. According to UNESCO, Rwanda has succeeded in reducing the out of school population in the country by more than 85% in the past five years.
Although the availability of education has rapidly expanded, the quality of the teaching has suffered as a result. With classes being filled with as many children as possible, schools have been forced to recruit less qualified teachers.
"It's true we've done a lot in terms of access to education but we have a lot to do in terms of improving the quality" - Rwanda's education minister Vincent Biruta
What Rwanda is focusing on is teacher training in order to ensure that the quality of Rwandan education matches the availability. In 2009, Rwanda has changed the language of instruction to English, moving away from French in order to strengthen ties with their English speaking neighbour countries. As a result, teachers are now teaching students in a language that they are still learning and becoming familiar with.
Additionally, Rwanda has great youth unemployment despite its booming economy. An estimate 42% of youths are unemployed, which greatly affects poverty levels and the quality of life for the specific population. In order to combat this, Rwanda is moving away from traditional teaching methods, and focusing the learning on the student and their application of what they learn at school. This is in an effort to make the students more employable, and perhaps diversify their skill set to decrease the unemployment rates
"It's not what you know, it's what you do with what you know" - Biruta
As Rwanda is trying to move into a service and knowledge based economy, the diversification of the workers' skill-set is an essential factor in the success of this transition. As the older populations are limited in terms of skills as they operated in an agricultural economy, any hopes of moving away from said structure lies in the youth. Therefore, an addition to making the learning more applicable for the students, Rwanda is trying to foster strong analytical skills and critical thinking. The 'sectors skills council' is called upon for aid in this specific goal.
Additionally, a US non-profit 'One Laptop per Child' delivered 110,000 laptops to Rwandan children between 2007 and 2011. This contributes towards integrating technology in education, and forming a bond between the two that will lead to a greater knowledge of the usage and benefits of technology in educational and subsequent economic development.
Education has contributed towards economic development as more children have access to education, and as a result are better off than they were without it. However, as the quality of the education has suffered, the question of the success is presented.
In terms of the property rights index, Rwanda possesses one of 30 and stands as the 13th most protected country in Africa. High property rights scores can contribute towards economic development in a number of ways, namely in agriculture. As mentioned before, Rwanda has an agricultural economy thus the possession of land and its cultivation is key to the maintenance and prospective growth of the economy.
If property rights are correctly administered and monitored, the possession of land in Rwanda could contribute towards an increase in output of produce. As the land is registered in the name of the proprietor, there is no doubt about the security of the harvests.
Rwanda can improve the strength of their property rights law, but it does not seem to be a great priority at the moment. However, it may become increasingly important to protect intellectual property in Rwanda's effort to move into a service and knowledge based economy
The Use of Appropriate Technology
Appropriate technology is the idea that specific technology is applied and sustained in areas that need it. It focuses on the ability to implement it, use it and maintain it.
Appropriate technologies that have been implemented in Rwanda, and their success status
Appropriate technologies suffer in Rwanda, however, as locally produced goods can prove to be costly. Imported goods from China and India are much cheaper, as they're produced large scale and just have to be adapted slightly to fit Rwanda's use. Locally produced technologies are expensive because Rwanda's productive capacity is greatly limited, and resources are scarce. Thus, appropriate technology, in theory, may aid Rwanda's economic development, but for now it's proving to be a set back. Many other factors have to come into play in order to ensure that appropriate technologies are sustainably produced and accessible.
Access to Credit - Including Micro Credit
Rwanda ranks top in Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of access to credit financing.
Root Capital has enabled Musasa, a coffee producer, to build better relationships with their workers. As seasonality greatly affects coffee production, the farmers often find themselves struggling to make ends meet before the season begins. They have little money left from what was earned from the previous season, and Root Capital has enabled them to loan money in order to take care of their existing problems.
As a result, Musasa and the farmers can consistently provide their coffee beans to global markets, serving as an exporting business in Rwanda. The farmers then have a steady flow of income, ensuring that their quality of life doesn't decrease.
The reason for the large proportion of females in the population is due to the fact that many men were killed or incarcerated during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Rwanda has scholarship initiatives for disadvantaged women and girls in order to promote and encourage high academic performance. The first lady, Jeannette Kagame, is the founder of an organisation called the Imbuto Foundation. This foundation offers scholarships to both boys and girls, but focus on fostering an academic discipline among the girls.
Rwanda, in terms of representation, is doing fairly well. As mentioned previously, 52% of the country's population is female, but 63% of the parliament is as well. Thus, the representation of females in government exceeds the prevalence of females in the general population. Women's rights are outlined in constitution, and they are given the right to inherit land, obtain credit, and share the assets of their marriage. Gender representation in primary school is also equal, with as many girls in primary school as there are boys.
Women are given access to opportunities, but issues such as sexual violence still remains an obstacle in Rwandan society. Many women suffer from at least one act of sexual violence, sometimes at the hand of a partner, from the age of 15. Thus, true equality has not been reached in Rwanda as the rape culture has not been fully addressed or combatted.
Political Stability in Economic Growth and Development
In 2015, Rwanda's political stability index was -0.08, compared to a high of -2.15 in 1998. This was directly after the genocide, so the country was in turmoil both politically and socially.
The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) has maintained the role of occupying party in Rwanda for a long time. Paul Kagame, the president, has been president for two consecutive 7 year terms, and was due to end his presidency with the upcoming elections in 2017. However, in 2015, amendments were made to the constitution that stated that the president can run for a third 7 year term, and Kagame has since confirmed that he will stand for re-election.
Jeannette Kagame, Paul Kagame
Political stability plays a key role in the consistency of development of a country, given that the ruling party passes legislation that allows for economic growth and development to occur. Rwanda has implemented several regulations that contribute towards the nation's development, thus the presence of a single ruling party for the past 17 years has ensured that no major upset could disrupt the occurring development.
Corruption in Economic Growth and Development
Rwanda lies in the middle of the corruption scale, suggesting that low levels of it are prevalent in the economy. However, with the numerous development and growth initiatives, corruption doesn't seem to take away from the success of these projects. There seems to be a tight control on the money and resources allocated towards the projects, using the primary school enrolment as an example. No funds have been withheld in order to make the goal a reality. More teachers have been appointed and schools have been built thus in the sector the corruption doesn't seem to have much of an effect.
However, political stability is another question. The RDF has been in power ever since the genocide, and Paul Kagame has been president for two, nearly three consecutive periods. It could be argued that political stability contributes towards the successful growth of the country, however it is not ideal in a purely democratic nation.