Working Paper
Understanding elite commitment to social protection

Rwanda’s Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme

This paper examines the political economy of Rwanda’s Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme, concluding that strong government commitment to the programme has been shaped by the specific characteristics of the political settlement that was established around 2000.

For the Rwandan government, the programme has never been just about social transfer, but a key part of the development strategy that aims to promote social stability and the legitimacy of the ruling coalition through rapid socioeconomic development. In particular, the programme originated in an emerging distributional crisis in the mid-2000s in which rapid economic growth alongside low rates of poverty reduction threatened the government narrative of inclusive development. While donor social protection ideas have also been influential, these are purposefully adapted by government with a view to meeting its developmental and political goals.