As a public-benefit federal enterprise with worldwide operations in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is providing capacity development interventions on individual, organizational and societal level. Pointing out that Rwanda is a priority partner country for Germany, Bodo Immink, Country Director of GIZ in Rwanda, discusses the company’s main focus and areas of cooperation.
European Times: How would you describe the cooperation between Rwanda and Germany?
Bodo Immink: Rwanda and Germany have a long record of cooperation, and our activities are based on the bilateral agreements between the two countries. Bilateral negotiations are held every three years, upon which GIZ is commissioned by the German government to implement the proposed programs.
European Times: Which are the priority areas for cooperation?
Bodo Immink: There are two priority areas in which GIZ commissioned by the German Government is involved: providing support for the sustainable economic growth of the country, with one main focus on vocational training; and providing support for Rwanda’s decentralization and good governance.
In terms of bilateral cooperation, the portfolio also includes programs aimed at supporting Rwanda’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the National Bank in the area of macro-economic stability, as well as interventions aimed at supporting civil society organizations. In addition to the bilateral portfolio, we implement two global programs connected with Rwanda: an energy program (commissioned by the German Government and co-financed by the EU and other countries) and a Civil Peace Service program whose goal is to provide support for non-violent means for conflict resolution.
European Times: How does GIZ operate in Rwanda?
Bodo Immink: Let us take the priority area of support to sustainable economic growth as an example: We provide support through three major components: vocational training, support for the private sector through cooperation with the Private Sector Federation and its chambers as well as promotion of public-private dialogue; and support for enhancing employment opportunities.
In the area of vocational training, we support the introduction of the “dual system”, combining vocational training in the classroom and in private companies. So far, about 1950 teachers have participated in training programmes in the sectors of carpentry, electrics, masonry and sanitary engineering as well as in educational modules. Through these measures, by now about 130,000 students received a market-oriented vocational training.
In addition to different Ministries of the Rwandan Government, we work with the civil society to make sure the programs’ goals are sustainably achieved. Currently we have 50 German and international experts and 75 Rwandan staff.
European Times: Where do you see GIZ in Rwanda in next five years?
Bodo Immink: The Government is committed to develop the country and improve the lives of the people, as well as to reduce its dependency on foreign aid. We are proud to be here and we will continue our efforts especially through our capacity development programs and help build a base for the people in Rwanda to take the development of their country into their own hands.