Rwanda's PSCBS takes capacity building initiatives to a higher level

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Publication Date: 
16 October 2011
Jennifer Mujuni
Thematic thrusts: 

Rwanda has made remarkable progress in delivering on its development aspirations enshrined in the Vision 2020 and the Economic Development Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS). However, capacity challenges are still being felt in all sectors of the economy. As a strategic response, the Government of Rwanda established the Public Sector Capacity Building Secretariat (PSCBS) in 2009 to enhance capacity of public institutions to ensure efficiency, effectiveness, accountability, and transparency in service delivery.

The approach to capacity building in Rwanda is blended with optimisation and benchmarking of best practices internationally and selecting the ones that best suit the Rwandan context. This is one cardinal reason why Rwanda’s unique capacity building approach has become successful. Capacity building is a challenging and complex issue and therefore has continuous challenges. PSCBS acknowledges these challenges and therefore adapts its capacity building initiatives to be in line with national priorities.

Annually the Government of Rwanda through a high-level leadership retreat defines its national priorities and these have become the guiding bedrock upon which PSCBS implements its activities. 

PSCBS has undertaken several capacity building initiatives under the Government Capacity Building Fund (CBF) as well as support from development partners who include among others the World Bank, UNDP; African Capacity Building Foundation; African Development Bank; and Belgian Government through BTC. The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has also worked closely with PSCBS to facilitate training of public servants. 

The following are key highlights of its achievements to-date:


The latest initiative to be championed by PSCBS in close collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN) is known as the Strategic Capacity Building Initiative (SCBI) whose philosophy and framework is premised on aligning capacity building with national priority areas; combining delivery and capacity building; and institutionalizing a linkage with the centre of government. In the pilot phase agriculture, mining, investment and rural electrification have been identified as the priority areas to be supported. Under this framework, international experts are being hired alongside three local counterparts who shall understudy them. It is envisaged that this approach shall fast track the creation of a critical mass of local experts in the critical priority areas.


Across the public sector, PSCBS considers Human resource personnel as key drivers of change as stipulated in Vision 2020 and EDPRS; and as such civil servants have been receiving key training in critical skills these skills are a catalyst for a wider reform across the public governance structures. 

Training of Trainers

Trainers in the local training institutions have been facilitated to pursue Masters and PhD programmes to enhance their capacity to deliver the required in-country training. Institutions currently benefiting from this support include; the National University of Rwanda (NUR) Rwanda Institute of Administration and Management (RIAM) and Umutara Polytechnic. 

Institutional Support to Local Training Institutions

The National University of Rwanda (NUR) and Rwanda Institute of Administration and Management (RIAM) have been supported with expansion of training space; revision of training modules; and acquisition of training facilities.

Training of Public Servants

With resources from the Capacity Building Fund (CBF), PSCBS has been able to facilitate training of public servants in-country and abroad in short-term courses. In the past one year, over 2,000 public servants have been supported under the Fund.

The World Bank and BTC projects managed by PSCBS have also been able to support RIAM through MIFOTRA to train civil servants in using English Language as an administrative language. The training provider is the British Council.


The World Bank funded Project managed by PSCBS has been supporting Civil service reforms which are coordinated by the Ministry of Public Service and Labour (MIFOTRA). Key initiatives under these reforms include: elaboration of pay and retention policy; operationalizing the Integrated Public Payroll System; Citizen Guides for public institutions; updating the strategic framework for public service reform 2012-2017.


There following institutions have been supported to enhance their capacities because of their strategic role in the national development agenda: (i) The National Parliament to strengthen their capacity in government oversight; policy analysis and legislation; and (ii) Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR) which is an independent think tank.


On 26th August 2010, the Public Sector Capacity Building Secretariat (PSCBS) signed agreements with four institutions to build Local Government Capacities in two years.  A total amount of 1.386.976 Euros (=1,037,458,048 Rwf) was committed through these respective agreements, for which the financing came from the Belgian Government through the Belgian Development Agency (BTC).  

The agencies executing the local government capacity development interventions are the National Land Centre (NLC), which is now the Rwanda National Resources Authority; the Rwanda Cooperatives Agency (RCA), the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) and the Rwandese Association of Local Government Authorities (RALGA). The interventions will respectively focus on developing the capacities of Local Governments in land management, service delivery towards cooperatives, collection and monitoring of key statistical data. Other specific areas will also be dealt with through benchmarking visits from district representatives to other districts identified as good performers in these areas.

In July 2011, a Coaching initiative of 200,000 Euros was also approved under this project to be coordinated by the Ministry of Local Government through National Decentralisation Implementation Secretariat (NDIS). Ten districts are going to be supported in this regard.


PSCBS recognizes that the Capacity Building architecture is always unfolding and has therefore widened the scope of collaboration internally and internationally. These have enriched PSCBS’s capacity building knowledge on emerging trends, issues and lessons learned. In this context, PSCBS has under the auspices of the Government of Rwanda hosted key high level international capacity building conferences in Kigali and a key notable one was the 20th ACBF Anniversary which was graced by H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda; the LenCD Partners meeting in Feb. 2011 and a technical workshop in July that drew resource persons from UNDP Capacity Building Unit from their headquarters. PSCBS has also been represented in international fora on capacity building issues in Cairo, Egypt; Manila, Philippines and Paris, France and others.

Acknowledgements: Inputs from Peter Malinga the coordinator of technical services at the PSCBS and Kagera Thomas a consultant at the PSCBS enriched this article!