IFAD Asset Request Portlet



The Context

Rwanda is a small, landlocked country with limited natural resources and a modest mining industry. The population has grown at a rate of 2.6 per cent over the last 10 years, reaching a total of 10.8 million people in 2012. Rwanda has a population density of 416 persons per square kilometre, the highest in Africa. 

The country is still largely rural (85 per cent) and dependent on agriculture. Rwanda has achieved extraordinary results in the two decades since its 1994 genocide. Thanks to strong economic growth over the last 10 years, poverty has declined from 57 per cent (2005) to 45 per cent (2011) but remains high in rural areas. 

About one in four rural households live in extreme poverty. Poverty is a rural phenomenon in Rwanda, with 49 per cent of rural residents living in poverty compared with 22 per cent in urban areas (2010).

Poverty is highest (76.6 per cent) among households who obtain more than half their income from working on other people’s farms. Chronic malnutrition (stunting) afflicts 43 per cent of children under five.

The country’s long-term development goals are embedded in its Vision 2020, which is focused on good governance, development of human resources, a private-sector led economy, infrastructure development, market-led agriculture and regional economic integration. Vision 2020 seeks to transform Rwanda from a low-income, agriculture-based economy into a service-oriented economy by 2020.

Despite the country’s success in establishing a sound investment climate, foreign direct investment remains low. The main constraints to accelerating growth, investments and exports are lack of economic infrastructure, a limited skills base and increasing vulnerability to climate risks. 

The agriculture sector is hard hit by climatic conditions, especially drought, intense and erratic rainfall, increasing incidence of high winds and seasonal temperature shifts. If not addressed, climate variability will impose significant economic costs – estimated at between US$50 million and US$300 million annually by 2030 – given the country’s dependence on rainfed agriculture.

The Strategy

In Rwanda, IFAD is working to reduce poverty by empowering poor rural men and women to participate in transforming the agriculture sector and in rural development, and by reducing their vulnerability to climate change. 

Our country strategic opportunities programme in Rwanda (2013-2018) is aligned with the government's Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy II and the Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture III. 

The IFAD country strategic opportunities programme has four main objectives, focused on:

  • sustainably increasing agricultural productivity through management of natural resources and investment in physical and social capital, including scaled-up agricultural intensification;
  • developing climate-resilient export value chains, post-harvesting processes and agribusiness to increase market outlets;
  • adding value to agricultural produce and generating employment in rural areas; and
  • improving the nutritional status of poor rural people and vulnerable groups.

Results-based country strategic opportunities programme (COSOP) Arabic | English | French | Spanish

Country Facts

Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa, with 416 inhabitants per square kilometre.

The poverty rate is highest in rural areas, where 71.2 per cent of the country’s population lives (2015). The percentage of people living in poverty in rural areas is 49 per cent compared with 22 per cent in urban areas.
Since 1981, IFAD has supported 16 programmes in the country for a total of US$283.8 million, benefiting 634,300 poor rural households.

Country documents

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Country Experts

Projects and Programmes

Projects Browser

Rwanda Dairy Development Project (RDDP) - Phase 2

cost: $100.37 million-allcapital-abbreviation

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Project for Rural Income through Exports

cost: $65.85 million-allcapital-abbreviation

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Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project

cost: $64.48 million-allcapital-abbreviation

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Smallholder Cash and Export Crops Development Project

cost: $25.09 million-allcapital-abbreviation

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Rwanda Returnees Rehabilitation Programme

cost: $3.15 million-allcapital-abbreviation

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Rural Small and Micro-enterprise Promotion Project

cost: $5.96 million-allcapital-abbreviation

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Byumba Agricultural Development Project - Phase II

cost: $19.50 million-allcapital-abbreviation

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Gikongoro Agricultural Development Project

cost: $24.28 million-allcapital-abbreviation

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Birunga Maize Project

cost: $4.34 million-allcapital-abbreviation

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Byumba Rural Development Project

cost: $24.46 million-allcapital-abbreviation

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Related news

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IFAD Vice President to meet Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente and ministers in Rwanda

Maio 2022 - NEWS
The Vice President of IFAD, Dominik Ziller, will meet with Edouard Ngirente, Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda, as well as other high-level government officials during a visit starting 9 May.

Africa’s Key Development Partners Formalize Their Commitment to Work Jointly to Help Address Food and Nutrition Security in Times of Climate Change

Agosto 2019 - NEWS
In partnership with the African Union, leaders of four multilateral agencies – The African Development Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Bank-- called a high-level meeting with development partners on August 5-6 in Kigali, Rwanda at the first Africa Food Security Leadership Dialogue (AFSLD).

Rwanda and IFAD partner to reduce poverty in drought-prone areas

Junho 2019 - NEWS
About 7,167 poor and food insecure rural households in Rwanda will benefit from a new US$24.7 million project that aims to improve food and nutrition security, climate resilience and raise incomes by increasing production.

Related stories and blogs

Conteúdo Relacionado

Here comes the sun: solar-powered irrigation brings crops back to life in Rwanda

Dezembro 2022 - STORY
In rural Rwanda, solar-powered irrigation gives women farmers a sustainable alternative to time-consuming and expensive manual and diesel-powered systems.

Recipes for Change: Bananas with beans and split green peas

Outubro 2016 - STORY
Rwanda's small farmers rely on rain fall to grow their main food crops, including sorghum, bananas, beans, sweet potato and cassava. Although the central African country has a favourable climate for agriculture, climate model scenarios show increases in average temperature of up to 3.35°C by 2100, and a change in the timing of the two cropping seasons that characterize Rwanda's traditional farming system.

Bringing land plots together to increase agricultural productivity

Maio 2011 - STORY
Intensifiying agricultural production is one of the key objectives of the Rwandan government to reduce poverty and guarantee food security. The Crop Intensification Programme (CIP) was introduced in 2007 at the national level to increase agricultural productivity and reduce import of staple agricultural products such as rice.

Related publications

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Digital solutions for rural development: STARLIT case studies

Agosto 2023
The Strengthening Agricultural Resilience through Learning and Innovation (STARLIT) project in Rwanda and Kenya used two digital tools to accomplish its goals of training smallholder farmers in good agricultural practices and of strengthening the capacity of saving and credit cooperative organizations (SACCO).

Country Technical Note on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues in the Republic of Rwanda

Agosto 2023
The Batwa in Rwanda were traditionally forest dwellers and hunters-gatherers living in the western part of the country. Today, the estimated 30,000 Batwa people are dispersed all over the country, often living in conditions of great hardship and poverty on the margins of mainstream society.

Building Smallholder Farmers Resilience in Kayonza District: A Case Study of Starlit Project

Março 2023
The STARLIT (Strengthening Agricultural Resilience through Learning and Innovation) project is an IFAD-China SSTC Facility funded initiative which aims to strengthen the resilience of farmers in the maize value chain in Kenya and Rwanda.

Research Series 86: Incorporating the Impact of Climate and Weather Variables into Impact Assessments

Novembro 2022
This paper applies a methodological framework for incorporating current period weather and long-term climate conditions into impact assessments.

What can smallholder farmers grow in a warmer world? Climate change and future crop suitability in East and Southern Africa

Outubro 2021
With funding from ASAP2, eight Climate Risk Analysis reports were produced by the University of Cape Town, covering Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Related videos

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Rwanda: Reducing food loss in a changing climate

Abril 2019 - VIDEO
Farmers in Rwanda can lose around 30 per cent of their harvests before they even reach the market, due to a lack of adequate means to dry, store and transport the crops.

The Real Groundbreakers: Claudine from Rwanda

Março 2019 - VIDEO
Through the power of a women’s farming co-operative in Rwanda, Claudine is using new techniques and seeds for better cassava harvests.

Adoption of system of rice intensification (SRI)

Junho 2016 - VIDEO
This is an introduction to a series of 4 training videos and details how IFAD has promoted the spread of SRI from Madagascar to Rwanda and then Burundi. Malagasy farmers went to Rwanda to share their knowledge and Burundian farmers then visited the same Rwandan farmers to take the knowledge back home. This farmer to farmer teaching and learning has proven to be very effective.