Coronavirus: Kagame plans support for the vulnerable

Sunday March 29 2020

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has announced a social protection plan that will support the vulnerable across the country during the lockdown period.

"Relevant institutions are working on a social protection plan, to support the most vulnerable in our community. We need to speed this up. The government will continue to do everything possible, to support Rwandans through this challenging time," Mr Kagame said in a televised address to the nation on Friday.

It was his first address since the first case of coronavirus was reported in the country two weeks ago.​ 

"We know that this is not an easy period for most Rwandans, whose livelihoods have been interrupted across the country. But we ask you to be patient. Although we are making good progress, we cannot afford to relax yet," said Mr Kagame.

The measures have been taken to cushion the private sector throughout the lockdown period.

The President also said that progress has been made in curbing coronavirus spread by enforcing countrywide lockdown and suspending air travel warning that infections "will rise".


“The number will rise as tracing continues, in order to detect, test and treat those who have been in contact with confirmed cases," Mr Kagame said.

"We made the difficult decision to stop commercial passenger flights, and restrict movement over land borders. This has helped to ensure that no new cases are imported into Rwanda. We suspended internal transport to prevent the virus from spreading around the country," added the head of State. 

The President urged Rwandans to take precautions and follow procedures laid down by authorities to prevent the spread of the virus.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Local Government announced that it will begin door to door provision of foodstuffs and groceries to vulnerable homes at village and sector level.

However, the amount and source of foods and groceries was not mentioned, as well as the total budget support for the project.

It also remains unknown for how long the social protection project will run.

On Friday, the US government announced an assistance facility of $1 million to Rwanda to help in the fight of coronavirus.

Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma, also previously donated to Rwanda 20,000 coronavirus test kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields. 

Rwanda has so far reported 60 coronavirus infections, majority if who flew in from Dubai, UAE.

The figure is the highest in the East African region, followed by Kenya with 38 cases, Uganda 30 and Tanzania 13.

Burundi and South Sudan have not confirmed a single case.