Rwanda is, by all measures, a poor country. The 1994 war obliterated the country's economy, social fabric, human resource base, and institutions. Almost 90 percent of the population lives on less than US$2 per day and half of its population lives on less than US$1 per day. Government statistics indicated that 65.3 percent of the people lived below the poverty line in 1998.
Though the Rwandan government reports that 87 percent of the population lived within 2 hours walking distance of a health care facility in 1996, the quality of the Rwandan people's health is quite poor. Life expectancy is low, and malnutrition is high. Malaria and respiratory diseases—which are rarely the cause of death in more developed countries—are the biggest killers in Rwanda. Not only are the people unhealthy, they are also poorly educated. According to government reports, only 46 percent of Rwandan teachers are qualified, teaching materials are poor, and drop-out rates are high. Only 7 percent of eligible students were enrolled in secondary schools in 1998.
In an effort to curb Rwanda's poverty, the IMF, the African Development Bank (ADB), and the World Bank have taken certain steps to assist Rwanda in its efforts towards economic recovery. Thus, in 1998 the IMF approved
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|Dem. Rep. of Congo||392||313||293||247||127|
|SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.|
|Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Rwanda|
|Survey year: 1983-85|
|Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.|
|SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].|
the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, the ADB approved a structural adjustment credit of US$20 million, and the World Bank agreed to provide US$75 million to Rwanda. These efforts are designed to reduce rural poverty, pave the way for private sector growth, and promote prospects for national reconciliation by opening up economic opportunities to all Rwandans.