Rwanda has a population of around 12 million people (2017). It borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo and with Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. Through the support of the international community, the country has carried out important economic and structural reforms that have supported its economic growth rates over the last decade. This growth has been accompanied by substantial improvements in living standards, with a two-thirds drop in infant mortality and the imminent achievement of universal primary school attendance. Rwanda aims to become a middle-income country by 2035, and a high-income country by 2050. This goal is to be achieved through a series of seven-year plans, the National Strategies for Transformation (NST1).
The NST1 came after two five-year economic development and poverty reduction strategies - EDPRS (2008-2012) and EDPRS-2 (2013-18), where Rwanda recorded a solid economic and social performance. Growth averaged 7.2% over the decade to 2019. Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita grew by 10.9% in 2021 .
The Italian contribution
At the moment, AICS is financing in Rwanda an initiative on agricultural development proposed by an Italian CSO as part of the AICS call for projects, entitled "Business development in the agri-food supply chains of coffee, fruit and vegetables in Rwanda for economic growth and lasting, inclusive and sustainable employment and to overcome the consequences of the pandemic”. The general objective of this three-year initiative is to contribute to the lasting, inclusive and sustainable economic growth of Rwanda by supporting the implementation of local government development policies for the agri-food supply chains with a view to business development, contributing to employment full and the creation of decent work. The two supply chains are particularly relevant: coffee employs more than 400,000 producers and accounts for 43% of agricultural exports; horticulture employs more than 60,000 producers and is the fourth most important sector among those oriented towards exports. The Rwandan government focuses on coffee for large volumes and therefore increases revenue and the circulation of foreign currency, and focuses on horticulture to improve nutrition, decrease imports, generate new jobs and contribute to export diversification. The implementing body of the project is the OSC Institute for University Cooperation - ICU.