World thought leaders in High Performance

Scientific articles

Applicability of the High Performance Organisations framework in Central Africa – The case of Rwanda’s MINALOC

by André de Waal and Miriam Frijns

In the past seventeen years Rwanda has been in the process of recovering from the 1994 genocide. The country is currently rebuilding itself, with considerable success. One of the main components of the post-genocide reconstruction of Rwanda is the government’s development plan called Vision2020. This programme aims at overcoming poverty and division by initiating a wide range of improvement programmes for good governance and economic development. In practice, however, the roll-out of Vision2020 seems to be missing a coordinating framework to provide direction to and align the improvement initiatives of the various, often independently operating, governmental agencies. Such a framework could not only provide direction but also help to set priorities and offer an evaluation mechanism to monitor progress on improvement initiatives. This article describes exploratory research into the question whether the High Performance Organisations Framework could function as this coordinating framework. It was assumed that the empirically validated HPO Framework could be used in the Rwandan context as it had earlier been successfully applied in neighbouring country Tanzania. After a first application of the HPO framework at the Rwandan Ministry of Local Governance and Social Affairs (MINALOC), it was concluded that this framework could indeed be used to assess the status of a Rwandan governmental agency and that in addition it also shed light on possible improvement points for MINALOC. By strengthening its internal organisation, the HPO framework will help Rwanda’s MINALOC to focus on what is really important to improve and thereby it can advance the improvement process and the realisation of Vision 2020.


Rwanda is working hard to recover from the genocide which took place in 1994. During this horrible period the structure and fabric of the APPLICABILITY OF THE HIGH PERFORMANCE ORGANISATIONS FRAMEWORK IN CENTRAL AFRICA- THE CASE OF RWANDA’S MINALOC 2country was virtually destroyed and the country has had to rebuild itself ever since, which it has done with considerable success (Ansoms, 2005; Isenberg, 2010). An important figure in the recovery process has been president Paul Kagame and his policies of reconciliation, unity and economic development (Waugh, 2004; Silva-Leander, 2008; Chu, 2009). He initiated Vision 2020, a vision for the future of Rwanda which was originally drafted based on the result of a national consultative process that took place in the village of Urugwiro in 1998-1999 (Ministry Of Finance And Economic Planning, 2000). The main objective of Vision 2020 is to transform Rwanda’s economy into a middle-income country with a per capita income of approximately 900 USD per year, from 230 USD in 2000 and currently USD 560 in 2010 (Rwanda Governance Advisory Council, 2010). Vision 2020 aspires for Rwanda to become a modern, strong and united nation, proud of its fundamental values, politically stable and without discrimination amongst its citizens. The vision was translated in a program consisting of six pillars: (1) Reconstruction of the nation and its social capital anchored on good governance, underpinned by a capable state; (2) Transformation of agriculture into a productive, high-value, market-oriented sector, with forward linkages to other sectors; (3) Development of an efficient private sector spearheaded by competitiveness and entrepreneurship; (4) Comprehensive human resources development, encompassing education, health and ICT skills, aimed at public sector, private sector and civil society; (5) Infrastructural development, entailing improved transport links, energy and water supplies and ICT networks; and (6) Promotion of regional economic integration and cooperation. As part of Vision 2020 the governmental agencies of Rwanda had to get a quality impulse in order to be able to support the pillars adequately (Ensign and Bertrand, 2010). It was clearly stated by the Rwanda Governance Advisory Council (2010) that good management in excellent governmental agencies is one of the main preconditions for Vision 2020 to be executed successfully (Gatune and Najam, 2011). As a result, many improvement programmes were started among which the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, which ties together the need for development in a sustainable fashion with the alleviation of poverty in the 5 country (Government of Rwanda, 2002); and the development of the Rwanda Governance Scorecard, which evaluates the state of governance in Rwanda with a multitude of performance indicators (Rwanda Governance Advisory Council, 2011). What has been lacking until now…



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