Civil Service Reform in Rwanda


Please collate the key literature on civil service reform and capacity development in the public sector in Rwanda in the past ten years, summarising the main debates, successes and current challenges.


It is generally asserted that the Government of Rwanda has embarked on an impressive array of public sector reforms, with little criticism of their commitment or political willingness to support change. Public sector reform is discussed in the following policy contexts: human resource development; good governance and institutional strengthening; decentralisation to district- and sub-district-level bodies; and public financial management.

A review of the literature suggests that there have been a number of successes in the public sector reform process. Key achievements are:

  • rapid downsizing and retrenchment implemented early on
  • comprehensive pay restructuring
  • better qualified and more competent public sector servants through capacity building.

Despite these achievements, the reform process still faces significant challenges in the following areas:

  • Staff capacity is crucially lacking in the following areas: information and communication technologies (ICT), accounting, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E).
  • There is a lack of sensitisation of staff about the reform process and what capacity building entails, which can result in resistance to the process.
  • Retrenchment has left the public sector workforce depleted and lacking in institutional memory.
  • Reform has been difficult to manage in the context of decentralisation and the adoption of a ‘one size fits all’ organisational structure has been problematic.
  • There has been insufficient coordination between Ministries, Departments and agencies, and insufficient clarification of a number of boundaries between different parts of government and their roles and responsibilities in reform.
  • There is lack of clarity about human resources and whether a Human Resource Policy exists.