With 4 years left to the end of the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) and the 7-year Government programme, the governing party RPF Inkotanyi has turned focus on how to ensure that the sports sector in the country progresses enough so as to play their role in Rwanda's development.
One of the greatest challenges professional sports have continued to face in Rwanda is a lack of sufficient financial resources.
John Livingston Muhire, Head of Rugby Federation said; "The problem of Financial resources has continued to be a serious hindrance for the Federations so that they can carry out their responsibilities,"
Muhire's comments were echoed by Providence Mukamurenzi, from Rwanda Volleyball Federation.
"First the Federations themselves do not have professional practices, which leads the Private Sector to not be interested in investing in that particular Sports Sector," Mukamurenzi said.
Sports teams and local authorities have also been pointing fingers of blame when it comes to the problem of financial resources.
Prof Anastase Shyaka, Minister of local government said; "Districts are not supporting Sports not because they do not want to, but because of budget restrictions. If anything, those schools are the very nursery of professional sports. Let me give a frightening statistic: around 50% of all schools in Rwanda do not have playgrounds."
Frightening as that may be, what is even more freighting is the fact that Rwanda's professional sports have no tangible figures to show their level of performance.
DR Claudine Uwera, State Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN)
"We need a database when it comes to sports; because right now we have no idea of the people who have talents in Rwanda or are capable of becoming something special in a given discipline. Those are the people we should be investing in and looking to say 5 years ahead and seeing the sort of return Rwanda can expect," Uwera said.
RPF Inkotanyi members involved in the sports sector has been meeting to discuss and address these and other challenges.
"Sports is very important to the RPF
Inkotanyi Party; with a lot of effort in it due to its importance to healthy
living. We want Made in Rwanda Jerseys to be worn, which can help us develop
and make faster progress as a country in order to build up a Rwanda we
desire," Assumpta Uwamariya, RPF Commissioner said.
Developing young talent in sports was among the objectives agreed on as revealed by Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju, Minister of Sports.
"We agreed that every year competitions should be held for children below the age of 13, 15 and 17. This must be done, we must not just talk about it. We agreed that it should begin this year," Minister Munyangaju said.
In November last year, a Government reshuffle saw the Ministry of Sports created, split from that of Culture that was annexed to the Ministry of Youth.
Experts believe this will ultimately make the Sports Sector stronger so that it may start making its contribution to the country's economic development.
Serge Ntore reports...
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