Kigali: In today’s busy world, there are few opportunities for researchers, policy advisors, and top decision-makers in government and industry to meet and share ideas, data, and evidence.
This was the goal of a national policy dialogue organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), the Economic Policy Network of Rwanda (EPRN), and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in conjunction with the EPRN Annual Research Conference, Compact 2025, and the Food Security Portal, with support from the European Union.
The dialogue aimed to strengthen the links between policy decision-makers and the research community in in support of Rwanda’s Fourth Strategic Plan for Agricultural Transformation 2018-24 (PSTA IV), and ultimately, to improve nutrition, food security, and food systems resilience. The dialogue recognizes the remarkable progress that Rwanda has made in the past two decades, highlighted by rapid economic growth and sharp reductions in poverty.
During this period, the country has emerged as a leader among sub-Saharan African countries in promoting innovation, gender equality, and an enabling business environment. The government remains strongly committed to ambitious development goals, efficiency and transparency in implementation, strong collaboration with the private sector, and diplomacy through regional and global partnerships.
As a result, Rwanda’s economy has enjoyed unprecedented growth of 7.8 percent per year between 1997 and 2017, and an overall decrease in the poverty rate from 60.4 percent in 2000 to 38.2 percent in 2016/17. These encouraging trends present a unique opportunity for Rwanda to accelerate its agenda for sustainable development and inclusive growth by placing greater emphasis on agricultural transformation and rural development.
This means harnessing the demographic dividend of the country’s rural youth, mobilizing farmers’ participation in sustainable intensification and the modernization of agriculture, and diversifying the wider agri-food system through nutrition sensitive agriculture, nonfarm rural enterprise development, export promotion, and private investment.
It is in this context that productive capacities are a central theme to transforming Rwanda’s agriculture and its rural economy. Increased productive capacity can accelerate this transformation via several important pathways: through natural capital – the land, soil, water and natural resource base that agriculture depends on; through labor and human capital, or the effort, know-how, and innovative capabilities of farmers and rural entrepreneurs; and through markets for credit, inputs, technology, commodities, and value-added products.
The PSTA IV highlights the importance of building these productive capacities in Rwanda. The policy dialogue was highlighted by panel discussions and extensive Q&A sessions designed to engage not only high-level leaders in both research and policymaking, but also up-and coming members of these communities, including mid-level policy analysts from MINAGRI, lecturers from the University of Rwanda, members of the EPRN network, students, and youth.
These individuals will play a critical role in Rwanda’s development, and their engagement in policy and research at all levels is important to ensuring the success of their future contribution. WHAT: A National Policy Dialogue on Policy Research and Communication: “Building Productive Capacities for Rwanda’s Agricultural Transformation, Rural Development, and Food Security”, a part of the Annual Conference of the Economic Policy Research Network (EPRN). (End)