On 20 May 2019, Rwanda was admitted as a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) Development Centre, becoming the first East African country to join the Development Centre. Founded in 1961, the OECD Development Centre is an independent platform that enables developed economies to interact, share knowledge and have policy dialogues with developing economies.

Rwanda’s application was submitted in November 2018 after cabinet approved the bid for membership. Seeking to be a regional business hub, Rwanda has, over the years, improved its ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report and is currently ranked 29th, improving by 11 places from the 2018 rankings. In the 2017/2018 period alone, Rwanda implemented seven new reforms to improve the regulatory framework of doing business in the country.

Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Rwanda’s Minister of Trade and Industry, noted that the membership will help Rwanda to improve its cooperation with other OECD Development Centre member states and gain knowledge about best practices in development policies.

As a member, Rwanda will engage in policy dialogue that will enhance its drafting of policies and reforms relating to youth employment, increased tax revenue collection, industrial policies and improving the role and contribution of the private sector. Looking to attract foreign investments, Rwanda will further improve its governance structures and enhance the enforcement of international best standards and regulations.

Rwanda has a positive experience to share with the Development Centre given its great track record of gender equality and women empowerment as it has the highest percentage of women in parliament in the world. Admitted alongside Togo, the OECD Development Centre currently has 11 African members (Cape Verde, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Morocco, Rwanda Senegal, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia) while no African state has been admitted as a full member of the OECD.