Over the past two decades, Rwanda has faced an uphill battle on the road to development post-genocide. Despite troubling circumstances and more than its share of challenges, the country is quickly becoming a global development and poverty reduction success story. Below are five facts about poverty in Rwanda.
Rwanda Poverty Facts
- According to the World Bank’s most recent estimates, 44.9 percent of Rwanda’s population currently lives below the poverty line. Down from 56.7 percent in 2005, more than one million people have been lifted out of poverty in just five years thanks to the government’s commitment to eradicating poverty in Rwanda and becoming a middle-income country.
- In the past decade, mortality rates for children under five years old have been more than halved. Down from 182 deaths per 1,000 children in 2000 to 55 per 1,000 in 2012.
- As a key marker of successful poverty reduction efforts, life expectancy in Rwanda has improved dramatically. As of 1993, the average life expectancy was just 27 years. By 2014 that number had more than doubled to 64 years. Better living conditions and improved health care are largely to thank for these impressive improvements.
- After experiencing a dip in annual GDP growth rates after the Great Recession, the Rwandan economy has quickly rebounded. The country is projected to enjoy growth rates of more than six percent for the next several years. As this growth begins to be picked up by even the lowest income sectors of the country, poverty in Rwanda is expected to be dramatically reduced in the coming years.
- The Rwandan government has made achieving middle-income status a top priority by introducing Vision 2020, an initiative that aims to move the country away from its primarily agricultural-based economy to a more progressive, diversified economy with the ability to drastically reduce poverty in Rwanda. With 75 percent of the 650,000 new workers added to the work force between 2005 and 2010, the country is well on its way to achieving its goal.
As shown through these facts about poverty in Rwanda, the country still has a long way to go on the road to development, yet over the past decade, its progress has been unprecedentedly successful. With continued support and development assistance poverty in Rwanda may one day be a distant memory.
– Sara Christensen