Brought together participants from different backgrounds who were or are involved in the decentralization process in Rwanda: including Members of Parliament, MINALOC, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), e.g. Transparency International, Rwanda Women’s Network but also Academia and journalists.
In his presentation, the Director General in charge of Territorial Administration and Good Governance, MINALOC, Bob Gakire, explained about the Rwandan decentralization policy in general and how this policy evolved in the Rwandan administration through different stages, from 1997 to today. He gave different examples of the various restructurations of provinces, districts, sectors and cells which already happened in Rwanda to improve civic engagement, democratic elections, community participation, performance in service delivery and accountability.
He added that, the collaboration of the local government, civil society organizations and community members, when working together to use all available economic opportunities from the local level, they contribute to the local economic development.
Furthermore, he explained the role of Joint Action Development Forum (JADF) as an open space for the voice and engagement of Civil Society organizations (CSOs).
It was emphasized also that; decentralization has to be seen as a cross sector policy: the performance of decentralization is the center and the channel of realization of some other policies (e.g. health insurance –Mutuelle de Santé or land consolidation). It was acknowledged that there is still a need of a M&E framework to evaluate and support democratization policy implementation.
The discussant, Dr Peter J. Mugume, Lecturer, Researcher and Coordinator at the Center for Conflict Management of the University of Rwanda, continued by commenting on the presentation.
He highlighted decentralization as a multifaced policy to achieve economic development, service delivery, implementation of other policies from the central government to local government. In addition, the differences between vertical decentralization and horizontal decentralization (from the central government to local government and from the local community to the central government) were explained by asking who is directly involved and how is it possible to participate?
During the followed discussions with the audience, some recommendations were given: