A green revolution for Rwanda? The political economy of poverty and agrarian change
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Antwerpen :UA, 2008
IOB discussion paper , 2008:6
University of Antwerp
The World Development Report 2008 highlights the need for a green revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper reflects upon the visions and ambitions of Rwandan policy makers to make this happen. It first analyses the political economy of Rwanda in a historical perspective. It outlines how political evolutions and events with special reference to 1994 have brought to power a political élite whose identity (both ethnic and spatial) differs profoundly from that of the overall majority. The main part of the paper links the identity of the current political élite to its vision and ambitions to create and foster a green revolution in Rwanda. Based upon interviews conducted by the author in mid-2007, the paper illustrates the strong ambitions of national policy makers to re-engineer the traditional agricultural sector into a modernized vehicle for economic growth, with little place left for traditional smallholder agriculture. The paper points to the flaws and shortcomings in this strategy. In the final part, it draws conclusions from the Rwandan case to feed the wider debate on how political economy dynamics shape the chances for a successful green revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa.