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Country focus
Key Visual Rwanda

Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa, with almost 11 million inhabitants on an area of just 27,000 km2. Rwanda is developing rapidly. While extreme poverty has halved over the last decade, the poverty rate is still at 40% of the population. Despite some concern about political and democratic developments, the country is relatively stable and safe.

Climate change, agriculture and finance

The high rainfall means that the availability of water is not yet a significant problem. However, the country’s ambitious plans for irrigation development and industrialisation coupled with the high population growth, land degradation and the negative effects of climate change, are increasingly pushing the balance between supply and demand for water out of kilter. Coordination between the different sectors that are dependent on water is therefore a point of attention. Agriculture and power generation may also offer opportunities for the Dutch water sector, but greater knowledge of the country’s plans to finance the water infrastructure is desirable. Rwanda has a relatively good business climate, and holds the 29th position in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index.


Rwanda is a Water Support Programme focus country. Within the framework of the bilateral cooperation programme, the Netherlands is carrying out a river basin project called Water for Growth that incorporates the integrated water resources management approach. The project’s objectives are to improve water management and restore landscapes. 

The NWP facilitates the Water Support Programme’s Rwanda Country Platform and the Strategic Adviser on Water for Rwanda to collaborate with the water expert from the Netherlands Embassy in Rwanda. The Strategic Adviser helps translate the water section in the multi-year strategic policy plan of the Embassy of the Netherlands into concrete programmes and projects, thereby identifying opportunities for the Dutch water sector. 

Rwanda Water Platform meeting – 8 July 2021 

The meeting updated participants on recent developments in the cooperation between the Netherlands and Rwanda and to discuss ongoing activities, ambitions and opportunities related to the water sector in Rwanda, with Timmo Gaasbeek (Thematic Expert on Water with Netherlands Embassy in Rwanda) providing an update on Rwanda’s water sector and Dutch involvement in the sector. This was followed by a series of presentations by the Dutch water sector, including: Bobby Russel (Senior Advisor with Deltares) on flood modelling in Kigali; Reinier Koster (Hydrologist with Future Water) on their IWRM experiences in Rwanda (e.g. using the Water Evaluation and Planning tool, WEAP); Ele Jan Saaf (Owner and Senior Consultant of Saaf Consult) speaking about the feasibility of water supply in Rwanda’s Volcanic Region until 2050; and Siemen Veenstra (Regional Project Director Africa with Vitens Evides International) on climate resilient water supply in the secondary towns of Rwamagana and Nyagatare. The report shares the key messages and Q&A write up from the meeting.

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Country focus within Africa