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RDB, PSF in new drive to foster devt at district level

> 24 March 2015

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Private Sector Federation (PSF) have launched a new campaign to engage local government and business leaders as one of the ways aimed at creating a friendly business environment across the country.

Rose Kanyange, the head of the public-private dialogue unit at PSF, said the idea is to promote regular engagement between district leaders, PSF, RDB and business community to find a lasting solution to the challenges that are hindering business development in districts.

She added that they want to take advantage of decentralisation system to address challenges that are affecting business growth at district level.

The drive is also aimed at increasing efficiency and competitiveness in districts, especially the earmarked satellite cities, to spur growth, she added.

Kanyange said the move will also help attract more investors into the identified satellite cities in different parts of the country.

The government, under the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy, identified six towns to be developed into secondary cities. They are Musanze in Northern Province, Nyagatare in Eastern Province, Huye and Muhanga in Southern province, as well as Rubavu and Rusizi in Western Province.

The move seeks to reduce rural-urban migration, fast-track the rate of urbanisation across the country and create more employment opportunities, especially for the youth, as well as help propel the country into a middle-income economy.

Kanyange said PSF is already working with district vice-mayors for economic planning to ensure that investors at district level are given the necessarily assistance.

Daniel Nkubito, the Rwanda Development Board co-ordinator for public-private dialogue, said public-private engagement is a key advocacy tool in any economy.

“As the private sector grows, the business community increasingly demands more access to services like funding, and supportive regulatory regime. Therefore, it’s necessary that businesses in districts embrace this campaign as a channel through which they can address the challenges they face.”

Nkubito said RDB has been given the mandate and resources to promote private sector development activities. “However, we believe that by working closely with the private sector and local governments, we will be able to have an inclusive public-private dialogue structure that will drive growth in secondary cities and across the country, generally,” he said.

Fidele Ndayisaba, the City of Kigali mayor, said public-private engagement should also seek to find ways of encouraging the informal sector players to join the formal sector. He argued that operating formal entities has more benefits, like access to finance and government support, which are not at the disposal of informal sector businesses.

Most of the small and medium enterprises operate in an informal manner, a situation that limits their growth or contribution to national development.