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Industrial Policy for the Next Decade

On September 17 -18, the International Growth Center (IGC), World Bank, and the Government of Rwanda jointly organized a conference on industrial policy. This event generated discussions regarding how Rwanda can best use industrial policy to help realize its medium-term strategies, such as the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), and Vision 2050. The conference was opened by Hon. Vincent Munyeshyaka, the Minister of Trade and Commerce, who noted that “industrialization in Africa has trailed behind the rest of the world, however industrial policy is crucial to help Rwanda realize its medium-term and long term economic development ambitions.”

On September 17 -18, the International Growth Center (IGC), World Bank, and the Government of Rwanda jointly organized a conference on industrial policy. This event generated discussions regarding how Rwanda can best use industrial policy to help realize its medium-term strategies, such as the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), and Vision 2050. The conference was opened by Hon. Vincent Munyeshyaka, the Miniser of Trade and Commerce, who noted that “industrialization in Africa has trailed behind the rest of the world, however industrial policy is crucial to help Rwanda realize its medium-term and long term economic development ambitions.”

According to MINICOM, “The conference is a culmination of technical work that has already began around shaping an updated industrial policy. In June, MINICOM worked with the International Growth Center (IGC) to put together a discussion paper on industrial policy after a thorough desk review and comprehensive interviews with key government agencies. The outcome of this exercise together with previous research on the topic were discussed at a High Level Round table on industrial policy on September 10th , 2018 where concerned government institutions  engaged  in preliminary discussions around the IGC’s discussion paper as well as previous research work by MINICOM and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Outcomes of the high- level meeting shaped the final agenda of the conference.”

The first part of the conference focused on the broad principles of industrial policy, while the remainder of the event concentrated on the best use of different instruments for Rwanda. On Day Two of the conference, NIRDA’s Director General, Kampeta Sayinzoga spoke on a panel entitled “Enhancing Productivity Across Value Chains: Technology and Backward Linkages,” highlighting NIRDA’s approach to Industrial Research and Development. Sayinzoga noted: “NIRDA’s approach to industrial research and development is to increase competitiveness and create an interactive platform for young innovators in different value chains.”

The conference brought together a wide variety of stakeholders and experts and included presentations of research of industrial policy in Rwanda. In addition, various countries, including Vietnam, Mauritius, and Singapore) were present to share their experience regarding industrial policy. The conclusion of the conference was that “Rwanda needs to pursue a clear and bold strategy on industrialization if it is to achieve its ambitious midterm target of attaining upper middle-income status by 2035, according to business experts.”

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