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Updated by Astrid de Laminne de Bex on 05.07.2013

Significant breakthroughs have been made in recent years concerning the extension of social security in Rwanda. Notably, the Government's decision to introduce compulsory health insurance for the entire population, accompanied by a policy of strong support to the development of mutual health organizations throughout the country. Building on existing examples of community-based initiatives, there has been a huge growth in the number of mutual health organizations (mutuelles de santé), which have been set up in each of the 30 health districts and are also present at the level of the health centre in the form of a smaller unit called section de mutuelle; there are now more than 400 of these units. Membership rates of  Community Based Health Insurance (CBHI) stood at 73% in 2006 and increased since then to reach 91% of coverage in 2010. In 2010, the CBHI policy has been updated in order to be more adapted to the current challenges. The new policy will improve population’s access to quality health services in a fair and equitable manner.

The existing statutory social security system in Rwanda includes the Social Security Fund (pensions and occupational risks); and, for the health part, the RAMA (Rwandaise d'Assurance Maladie) and the MMI (Military Medical Insurance). The Rwandan Government shows a strong interest in strengthening the structure and capacity of public institutions in providing social security.

More recently, on December 2008, the Rwandan Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning released a project on "Rationalizing delivery of social security benefits services to be delivered under one institution". The project of the Government is to merge two main social security institutions, the Social Security Fund of Rwanda and "la Rwandaise d'Assurance Maladie" (RAMA) in a single Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB).

In 2009, the “Social Security Policy” has been prepared by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. The new Rwanda’s vision for social security is to reach the ideal situation of “Social security coverage for all” and having all the population covered with maximum benefits possible (retirement, professional risk benefits, sickness benefits, maternity, health care, etc.).  In order to achieve this, key actions have been identified such as the reinforcement of compulsory affiliation and/or development of incentives for voluntary membership in order to increase the coverage, awareness campaign for active participation of the population through community based-organizations.

In 2011, the Ministry of Local Government has prepared a National Strategy on Social Protection. This strategy presents the social protection vision for the next 10 years. The long term vision for Rwanda is to establish by 2020 a “social protection system that complements and contributes to economic growth”. The mission is to ensure “that all poor and vulnerable people are guaranteed a minimum income and access to core essential services, that those who can work are provided with the means of escaping poverty, and that increasing numbers of people are able to access risk-sharing mechanisms that protect them from crises and shocks.”  Therefore, two main elements have been identified to establish the social protection system: a social protection floor for the most vulnerable groups and an increased participation of the informal sector in the contributory social security system.

Social security schemes and programs by branch