Population: 12,988,423

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 41.53% (male 2,719,248/female 2,674,688)
  • 15-24 years: 18.87% (male 1,226,141/female 1,225,009)
  • 25-54 years: 32.93% (male 2,142,936/female 2,134,064)
  • 55-64 years: 4.09% (male 249,447/female 282,225)
  • 65 years and over: 2.58% (male 138,834/female 195,831) (2016 est.)

Median age:

  • Total: 19 years
  • Male: 18.7 years
  • Female: 19.2 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate:  2.53% (2016 est.)

Major urban areas - population: KIGALI (capital) 1.257 million (2015est.)

Source: CIA Fact book

GDP annual growth rate: 6.9% (2015 est.)

GDP Contributor by main sector:

GDP Contributor by main sector:

  • Agriculture: 32.6%
  • Industry: 14.1%
  • Services: 53.3% (2015 est.)

Economy contributor:

About 90% of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture and some mineral and agro-processing. Tourism, minerals, coffee and tea are Rwanda's main sources of foreign exchange.

Sources: World bank, CIA Fact book

 Location: Central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north of Burundi


  • Total: 26,338 sq km
  • Land: 24,668 sq km
  • Water: 1,670 sq km

Coast line: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Land use:

  • Agricultural land: 1842.5 (1000 Ha)
  • Arable land: arable land 47%
  • Forest: 18%
  • Other:  7.5% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land: 96 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources: 9.5 cu km (2011)

Source: CIA Fact book

GDP : $8.096 billion (2015 est.)

Planning Framework

Although Rwanda has developed well-designed local government system, the planning and implementation process still remains centralised in nature. The main steps in the planning process include:

  1. Central government priorities are identified, communicated and discussed with local government leaders at the organized central and local government forums,
  2. Each line ministry identifies national priorities with earmarked resources that will be transferred to the local government and communicates its plan to the districts,
  3. Districts consult their District Development Plans (DDPs) and consultative meetings are held at the different local levels to discuss and consolidate district priorities,
  4. The DDPs are prepared with the input from the village level, which is the lowest administrative unit,
  5. The final phase is the consolidation of national and local priorities and discussions of draft Imihigo with the technical teams for quality assurance,
  6. The final draft is presented to the district council for consideration and approval.


Planning and budget cycle in Rwanda (After: ODI 2012)



Imihigo system

The “Imihigo” system is an important tool for improving public accountability and ensuring performance of local government in Rwanda. The Imihigo practice was adopted as a planning, implementation and monitoring tool to accelerate the progress towards economic development and poverty reduction. The approach was also initiated to improve the execution of government programmes and to ensure public agencies are run more effectively. The performance indicators also provide a clear framework for establishing accountability at local government levels. In 2006, the districts were guided into the preparation of performance contracts and the first were publicly signed between the president and district mayors in 2006.

The Imihigo has now become a regular practice used by local government authorities at all levels (village, cell, zone, districts) for setting local priorities and annual performance targets with clear measurable performance indicators in economic development, social welfare and good governance.

When preparing an Imihigo, each district department determines its own annual targets with measurable indicators, while taking into consideration national priorities provided in the major national strategic and policy documents, such Vision 2020 and the EDPRS-2. The MDGs and DDPs and Sector Development Plans and are considered in Imihigo preparation.

Also, considered in the preparations for Imihigo are seven year government programmes; national dialogue council recommendations; national leadership retreat recommendations and recommendations from various reviews (zone, district level)

At the district level, monitoring and evaluation of an Imihigo is the responsibility of community development committees, district executive committees and the provincial governor. Whereas the community development committees and district committees performs day to day monitoring of district performance contracts, the provincial governor performs an oversight role to ensure that performance contract reach the set targets. At the end of each semester, a high level national evaluation team with representatives from the office of the president of the republic, office of the prime minister, MINALOC, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN) and others ministries and representatives from the Rwandese Association of Local Government Authorities (RALGA), using a similar evaluation methodology with common established standards and criteria of judgment, divide themselves into different teams that go to different districts.

The evaluators cross check whether the targets for corresponding activities or programmes were realized as reported. District officials are given time to comment and elaborate on some of the issues whenever it is found necessary. This is common especially when targets set were partially or not at all implemented. The evaluation team scores each performance targets (Imuhigo) on a range from 0-10 depending on the level of the completed activities.

Worth noting is that the preparation of an Imihigo is not completely aligned with the budgetary process, which leads to some of the Imihigos not being achieved for the planned fiscal year.

Overview of Imihigo planning steps (after MINALOC 2012)

The Case of Rwanda

The Government of Rwanda has undertaken several sectoral initiatives towards green economy policy implementation, hence its selection as a pilot for the project. The government through the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC), Ministry of Infrastructure (MINIRENA), Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA) and other public institutions started the implementation of the Green Growth and Climate Resilient Strategy (GGCRS) at district level. This provided a good baseline for the project to mainstream the GGCRS into the District Development Plans of three pilot districts selected by the national implementing entity; Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA).

The Project Area: Bugesera, Gicumbi, Musanze Districts

Three pilot Districts were selected for the project to gain mixed green economy planning lessons from:

  1. A typical rural set up (Gicumbi)

  2. Proximity to the busy urban set up of Kigali and elongation of urban infrastructure and establishment of new industrial zone (Bugesera)

  3. Process of urbanization of a District into a secondary city (Musanze)

Bugesera District

Bugesera is one of the 30 districts of the country and one of the 7 districts of the Eastern province. The district is composed of 15 Sectors, 72 Cells and 581 Villages with a total Population of 363,339 people (General population census 2012). The district is positioned as a niche for development due to its proximity to the capital City and shall have the largest industrial zone/ park only followed by Kigali. However, the district is still characterized by high poverty rate and the situation is exacerbated by unfavourable climatic conditions characterized by long dry season. This leads to lower agriculture productivity, whereas the sector is seen as the backbone of the district economy. Agriculture is regarded as the main industry in Bugesera District with 78% of the population aged 16 and above, and it contributes the largest share of household’s income (46%) followed by wage income (28%) (NISR, 2013).  Also, water scarcity is alarming and the poor who cannot afford the improved water service are mostly affected.

Gicumbi District

Gicumbi District is located in the Northern Province of Rwanda. The geographical coordinates are 1 ° 10 'and 10 ° 47' East latitude and 29 ° and 54 ° 30 35 ' in South Longitude. Regarding population structure, females are estimated at 52.1% of the total population of the district. The district averages 109 females per 100 males, which is slightly below the national average of 111 females per 100 males. More than 90% of the total area of Gicumbi District slope range varies between 25 and 55%. The District has countless hills and mountains that are separated by a several narrow swamps that are in most of the cases endowed with peat. The peat is lost once the swamps are cultivated and hence realizes in the atmosphere the stored gases dominated by CO2. Peat is maintained by permanent waters and very low temperature that protect the peat against mineralization. The major flood plains are namely Mwange, Mulindi, Mutulirwa, Walufu, Muyanza and Gaseke. Hydrography of the District is also characterized by the wetlands of Rugezi and Lake Muhazi. All the waters collected from Gicumbi hills and swamps are directly drained towards Nile basin. Briefly, Gicumbi District has enough underground and surface that should be valorized and used efficiently for the development of the local communities in a sustainable way.

Musanze District

Musanze is divided into 15 administrative sectors 68 cells and 432 villages. It is one of the most highly populated District of Rwanda.  With a gross surface area of 530.4 km2, in 2002, Musanze district had a total population of 307,078; in 2002, and in 2012, the total population was 368,563 for a gross density of 695 habitants per km2. It has an average of population growth rate of 1.8%, where Males stand at 174,760 and Females at 193,803 (NISR, Census 2012).  Musanze town livelihood depends on the environment and natural resources such as water, land, air, plants and animals. These resources are increasingly under pressure from unsustainable use resulting from environmental degradation.  The District has 2 distinct zones and consequently related types of soils; one being volcanic area with moderate slopes and volcanic ash soils with lava predominant stones, the average altitude is 1860 m. Musanze is among the most mountainous part of Rwanda and contains the largest part of the Volcanoes National Park.

Workshops were held in consultation with key stakeholders to determine the priority sectors that would contribute to the Districts sustainable development after transitioning from business as usual to Green Economy. The sectors identified were:

  1. Gicumbi District – Agriculture, Forestry, Water and Energy

  2. Bugesera District- Agriculture, Industry, Tourism, Water and Energy

  3. Musanze District- Agriculture, Water&Sanitation, Urbanization&rural settlements, Energy, Tourism

Integrating the Green Economy approach into sub-national planning

The implementation of a green economy planning approach in Rwanda by the project was conducted through workshops and trainings held at national and subnational levels in Rwanda.

Inception workshop


This workshop was aimed at developing a common understanding of the project and its modality of implementation by all partners and lay down the basis for its effective implementation at the country level.


  • An understanding of the project objectives by the national partners

  • Identification of the University of Rwanda as the National Technical Institution

  • Clarification of the project coordination modality in the country (a national coordinator would be hired by GIZ, REMA would be the national implementing partner, the University of Rwanda would be the National Technical Institution to provide technical back-up support to the pilot districts)

  • Clarification of the project implementation modality especially on the expected support from UNEP and GIZ

National Training of Trainers


  • Introduction to Green Economy planning concept;

  • Introduction to the step-by-step guide to Green Economy Planning.

  • Training national sector experts on the navigation of the green economy toolkit;

  • Review of the national green economy strategies and policies;

  • Review of the national and district planning process to identify entry point of the green economy project.


  • 30 participants including  senior District planners, infrastructure officers and sectoral representatives from the three pilot districts - Bugesera, Gicumbi and Muysanze – as well as representatives from a range of national ministries, including the Rwandan Environmental Management Authority (REMA),  Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA), Ministry of Local Authorities (MINALOC), Ministry of Natural resources (MINIRENA), Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN), and FONERWA were trained on the use of the the green economy toolkit

  • The district planning process was reviewed with the aim of identifying the entry point the Green Economy project;

  • Identification of priority sectors per district;

  • Familiarization of the step-by-step Green Economy planning process to experts.

District Training workshops


  • Training of district experts as trainers for a possible replication to other districts;

  • Identification of Green Economy development options per sector based on the step-by-step toolkit and baseline reports;

  • Feasibility assessment of Green Economy options, cross-sectoral impacts and synergies.


  • Experts trained in usage of the step by step guide for green economy planning;

  • District specific priorities identified based on national and district-related policies, strategies and action plans;

  • Identification of Green Economy options including measurable actions per sector for potential integration into the District Development Plans

Summary and Recommendations

  • Unlike other pilot countries which focused on the Annual Development Plans (ADPs), implementation of Green Economy in Rwanda targeted the 5-year District Development Plans (DDPs). This provides an opportunity to implement green economy development projects and programmes, especially in the priority sectors identified per district for a period of 5 years.

  • The government has also mandated all district planners to revise their DDPs to mainstream green economy options. This show cases a strong government commitment to implement a green economy agenda countrywide.

  • Another important lesson that can be observed from the Rwanda case is the willingness and strong government leadership which is key especially during budget allocation to green economy projects and/or programmes.