IMPACT in Rwanda

Our work in Rwanda focuses on providing technical guidance to develop new approaches to natural resource management.

In the more than 20 years since the end of the genocide, Rwandan has experienced consistent economic growth and improved living standards. Significant economic and structural reforms have resulted in declining poverty and child mortality rates, and the realization of near-universal primary school enrolment.

Still, the majority of Rwanda’s population is living in poverty, lacking education and health services, and in some cases, basic living standards.

Environmental issues including massive deforestation and soil erosion, and crimes such as poaching further challenge future prosperity. In a country heavily dependent upon agriculture—a sector which provides employment for 80% of Rwandans—livelihoods are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Rwanda has a large mineral sector and also has been implicated in cross-border illicit trade of minerals originating from Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwanda is taking steps to transform its natural resource management systems. Rwanda is a member of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and in 2010, the country’s President signed the Lusaka Declaration with 11 other Heads of State approving the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (RINR). In 2013, Rwanda became the first Member State to issue certificates through the Regional Certification Mechanism, a compulsory regional standard that certifies tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold sourced is conflict-free.


Rwanda’s key natural resources include 3Ts, sapphires, gold, coffee, and agriculture.

We Reveal

Our research in the Great Lakes region investigates the drivers of the illicit trade of conflict-prone minerals and highlights recommendations for ICGLR Member States, including Rwanda. We examine issues such as formalization of the artisanal mining sector, fiscal reform, harmonization of legislation, and strengthening of internal controls to end smuggling.

We also provide analysis of certification, traceability, and due diligence as it applies to conflict-prone minerals in the Great Lakes region. In 2011, we published Taming the Resource Curse: Implementing the ICGLR Certification Mechanism for Conflict-prone Minerals that outlined a certification mechanism for 3TG based on best practices. The mechanism was approved by all the Heads of State of the ICGLR, including Rwanda’s President, in December 2010.

We’ve also undertaken extensive research in Rwanda examining women’s livelihoods and barriers to women’s empowerment in the artisanal mining sector in the country—and the region.

We Innovate

As part of our work to transform mineral supply chains, we’ve led efforts to support traceability and due diligence, while promoting benefits for Rwanda’s miners and their communities.

Since 2005, we’ve worked with the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to address the illegal exploitation of conflict-prone minerals—a regional initiative that Rwanda is a member of. As a technical partner to the ICGLR, we are supporting the implementation of the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources.

We provide technical guidance to Rwanda’s Ministry of Mines on implementing the six tools which include the Regional Certification Mechanism, the Regional Database on Mineral Flows, and formalizing the artisanal mining sector. We’ve advised on the national legislation that brought the Regional Certification Mechanism into law in Rwanda, and supported its implementation.

We provide capacity building and sensitization to policymakers from Rwanda, as well as members of its industry, and civil society on their role to ensure that traceability and due diligence are carried out in accordance with national legislation and in alignment with regional and international standards. As part of our efforts we trained mine site inspectors, as well as other officials on customs and export procedures.

Through our collaboration with the Great Lakes Region Civil Society Coalition against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (COSOC-GL), we provide training to our civil society partners in Rwanda for ongoing independent monitoring of traceability and due diligence implementation. As well, we support and spotlight their capacity for producing technical and independent assessments of supply chain integrity.

Additionally, we’re providing sensitization across the country at the local, regional, and national levels on the findings of our research and recommendations to improve women’s opportunities in the sector.

We Engage

We advance dialogue with our partners in Rwanda, including policymakers and the private sector to implement traceability and due diligence as well to ensure benefits reach miners and their communities.

Through our partnership with COSOC-GL, civil society from Rwanda and the Great Lakes region brings the voices and concerns of artisanal miners to industry and governments. Together, we engage governments to strengthen their internal controls, and encourage the private sector to put in place due diligence for their mineral supply chains.

Recent Highlights

Civil Society Toolkit on Supply Chain Risks

In collaboration with the Great Lakes Region Civil Society Coalition against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (COSOC-GL), IMPACT has developed a toolkit for civil society to monitor and report on risks in the supply chain.

ICGLR Regional Certification Mechanism Implementation

IMPACT supports the implementation of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Regional Certification Mechanism and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance. We provide technical support and training so that ICGLR Member States can effectively meet international and regional standards and ensure their minerals are conflict-free.

ICGLR Regional Database on Mineral Flows

IMPACT is supporting the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to operationalize the Regional Database on Mineral Flows as part of its efforts to end the illicit trade of conflict-prone minerals.

Women in Artisanal & Small-Scale Mining in Central and East Africa

Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) in Central and East Africa is IMPACT’s ground-breaking research project studying the role of women in the artisanal mining sector and opportunities for their empowerment.

Gender and Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Central and East Africa: Barriers and Benefits

July 2017

A working paper produced on key findings of research into women and artisanal mining in the Great Lakes region, by Partnership Africa Canada, Carleton University, and Development Research and Policy Analysis Center for the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program.

Download the report

Taming the Resource Curse: Implementing the ICGLR Certification Mechanism for Conflict-prone Minerals

March 2011
This report prepared by PAC for the ICGLR and released in March 2011, describes the regional certification mechanism (RCM) for tracking high value and conflict prone minerals in Africa’s Great Lakes region. Based on lessons learned from other certification mechanisms, particularly the Kimberley Process, it promotes key principles that will make for a stronger and more effective regulatory scheme for four minerals—namely gold, coltan, tungsten and tin.
Download the report

US Suspension of Conflict Minerals Rule Threatens Progress towards Conflict-Free Supply Chains

February 10, 2017—Ottawa, Canada A reported move by the new United States administration to issue an Executive Order…

Civil society statement at the 10th Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, Paris, 10-12 May 2016

National and international civil society organisations working to advance transparency and accountability in supply chains welcome this 10th…

All That Glitters is Not Gold: Dubai, Congo, and the Illicit Trade of Conflict Minerals

May 27, 2014 Dear Friend, Partnership Africa Canada is pleased to provide you with a copy of its…

PAC and the ICGLR sign a Memorandum of Understanding

PAC and the ICGLR sign a Memorandum of Understanding defining areas of cooperation with regard to the Initiative…

Partnership Africa Canada Welcomes First ICGLR-Certified Conflict-Free Mineral Certificates from Rwanda

Ottawa, Canada /Kigali, DRC -November 15, 2013 A leading international organization working in the conflict free mineral sector…

Electronics, auto makers should commit now to due diligence standards to end trade in conflict minerals

Goma/Kinshasa/London/Ottawa/Paris/Washington- May 26, 2011 The organizations CENADEP – Kinshasa, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Enough Project, Global Witness, Partnership Africa Canada,…

Canadian organization launches publication on new certification scheme for African conflict minerals

Ottawa– March 23, 2011 A new report that outlines how to develop a regional certification mechanism for tracking…