Farming Rwanda’s hilly landscape. Photo: Philbert Nsengiyumva / ARCOS.

Rwanda has set out clear intentions to ensure sustainable development through two key avenues: sustainable land-use and natural resources management to enhance food security and preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services and achieving energy security and low carbon energy supply, while avoiding deforestation.

Understanding conflicts and synergies between the different government policies in Rwanda is key for achieving sustainable development and Vision 2020. From our mapping of policy interactions in Rwanda, several policy objectives seem to be both positively and negatively impacting each other. For example, it was clear that achieving energy transition goals might constrain certain agricultural transformation objectives – particularly if water for hydropower was prioritised over water for irrigation – but others might be reinforced through increased energy access. Similarly, achievement of agricultural transformation objectives could constrain hydropower generation if irrigation water is allocated to upstream fields, but higher agricultural production might lead to more agricultural residues that could be used for biogas or pellet production.

To better understand the potential impacts of these positive and negative interactions, we quantitatively modelled the impacts in different future situations (or scenarios).