Imihigo and action plans are used by the Government of Rwanda to define goals, targets and objectives. While different in their purpose, the two tools are interlinked. The action plan is a set of activities to be achieved within a set time period, usually a period of one year. Imihigo are a subset of the action plan showing priority activities to be used as a performance measure. The action plan may contain any number of activities of a routine nature such as payment of salaries whereas Imihigo define targets that have a significant impact on economic development, poverty reduction, good governance and social welfare.
When Imihigo are developed, Government of Rwanda leaders are advised to ask some key questions before including activities in Imihigo. Activities that answer positively to the questions outlined below are given priority consideration.
- 1. Will the activity impact positively on the welfare of the local population (water access, transport, energy access, schools, etc.)?
- 2. Does it create jobs for the local population?
- 3. Does it create opportunities for income generation for the population/local government?
- 4. Does it have an impact on poverty reduction?
- 5. Is it a priority for the residents in the area?
- 6. Does the activity have synergy with development of other areas (an activity may have potential to impact development in neighbouring areas)?
- 7. Is the activity sustainable or are the results sustainable?
- 8. Is there ownership from the local population for the activity?
- 9. Does it help to achieve the national targets and is it linked to national and international priorities, programs or policies (MDGs, EDPRS, Vision 2020)?
- 10. Can the activity produce quality results/outputs with minimum resources?
- 11. Can it improve the way services are delivered or reduce costs?
- 12. Does the activity promote social cohesion (unity and reconciliation)?
- 13. Does the activity reduce social disturbances (insecurity, drug abuse, prostitution, environmental degradation, conflicts, corruption, etc.)?
- 14. Does it address key cross cutting issues (gender, HIV/AIDS, environment, social inclusion and youth)?
- 15. Has the source of funds for implementation been determined?
- 16. Is it realistic and can it be achieved?
Who prepares Imihigo for Local Governments and Provinces?
Imihigo is the result of a participatory process of identifying and implementing priorities from the grassroots to the national level. In the process of identifying priorities, each level demonstrates its contribution to achievement of development goals. The table below describes who prepares Imihigo from the individual to provincial level.
Preparation and Adoption of Imihigo
Imihigo Preparation Process
Step 1: Identification of national priorities by the central government
- Each ministry identifies national priorities to be implemented at local levels for which they have earmarked resources that they will transfer to local governments. Consultation on the following policies and programs occurs:
o Vision 2020
o Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy
o Government of Rwanda programs and policies
o National Leadership Retreat and National Dialogue resolutions
o Cabinet resolutions
o Three Year Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF)
o Five Year District Development Plan (DDP)
o Millennium Development Goals
o Seven Year Government Program
- Where they do not have earmarked resources, line ministries identify how the resources, whether financial or non-financial, can be mobilised (both national and local).
- The central government consolidates the priorities paying special attention to areas of quick wins and synergy while avoiding duplication.
Step 2: Communication of national priorities to local government
- The list of central government priorities is communicated and discussed with local government leaders at a forum of central and local government leaders.
Step 3: Identification of local priorities
- District leaders consult their District Development Plans (DDPs).
- Consultative meetings with different stakeholders are held at province/Kigali City, districts, sector, cell and village levels to discuss and consolidate the emerging priorities.
Step 4: Preparation and approval
- Districts consult their respective DDPs and national priorities as communicated in the forum/meeting between central and local governments.
- Consolidation of local and national priorities at district level.
- Discussion of draft (for district and province/City of Kigali) with Quality Assurance Technical Team (from the Ministry of Local Government and Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning).
- Presentation of priorities to stakeholders
- Approval of priorities
The Quality Assurance Technical Team was set up to assist the districts and provinces/Kigali City in preparing tangible Imihigo that respond to national targets. The Quality Assurance Technical Team is composed of members of the Imihigo evaluation team, the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO), the Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) and Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN) as well as all sector ministries that are part of decentralisation including:
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Education
- Ministry of Agriculture
- Ministry of Infrastructure
- Ministry of Trade and Industry
The team gives regular feedback to district planners during the process of preparing Imihigo. District leaders across Rwanda are asked to prepare plans that are realistic, take into account the cost of delivering services as well as the available resources. To make sure that proper monitoring and evaluation can be conducted, indicators, targets and outputs must be clearly identified in the planning process.
When developing Imihigo, leaders are asked to take into account cross cutting issues such as gender, HIV/AIDS, environment, social inclusion and youth. Decision makers are encouraged to discuss these issues and involve relevant stakeholders to ensure that their Imihigo incorporate these aspects of development.
Linkage of District plans to National Planning and Budgeting
The key planning instruments used in Rwanda are the Vision 2020 strategy and the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS), which set out the government’s national objectives and strategies for development and poverty reduction. The Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), and the supporting National Budget Framework Paper process,form a three year rolling budget system at the national level. They constitute the interface between Government’s EDPRS and the budget allocations in the same way as the District Budget Framework Paper and MTEF links the District Development Plan to the budget.
Although local governments prepare their own plans and budgets, they also need to reflect priorities and objectives set out in national policies, plans and budgets. Consequently, the local government planning and budget cycle aligns with that at the national level.
It is the central government’s role to ensure that national priorities are reflected in local government budgets through the allocation and transfer of earmarked grants and through the preparation of policy guidelines to local government for service provision. In addition, government ministries have an important role in monitoring and supporting local governments in the implementation of programmes and services. The next section describes that process.
A paper that elaborates these areas can be downloaded here.