Breaking the Cycle: Reproductive Health and Poverty Decline in Rwanda

Published September 2009

Pieter Hooimeijer; Herman Musahara

Despite a high level of economic growth, population growth in Rwanda is still outpacing the rate of poverty reduction. To create the required surplus of capital and labour needed for investments in human capital to arrive at economic development, the cycle of decreasing agricultural productivity, high population growth and increasing poverty will have to be broken. Reproductive health could be key mechanism to break this cycle by addressing the high level of infant and child mortality. The central hypothesis is that reproductive health policies can bring down these levels in the short run and will create the surplus at the household level to invest in the health and education of the children. The feedback effects on the cost-recovery of public services will contribute to the required surplus at the national level, enabling the county to collect the ‘demographic bonus.'
Collaborating researchers:
Annelet Broekhuis, Utrecht University, the Netherlands; Tugrul Temel, Tilburg University, the Netherlands
External experts involved:
Kimani Murungaru, University of Nairobi, Kenya; Leo van Wissen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Projects and project researchers within the program:
  • Reducing excess fertility by relieving constraints; PhD project: Dieudonné Muhoza Ndaruhuye
  • Infant mortality, birth intervals and ideal family size; PhD project: Ignace Habimana Kabano
  • Family size, income surplus and quality of life; PhD project: Joseph Nkurunziza
  • Economy-wide effects of investment in Reproductive Health and Family Planning; post-doc project: researcher to be determined
  • The demographic consequences of conflict and mass-migration; PhD-project: Pierre Claver Rutayisire
Contact Information:
Pieter Hooimeijer, Utrecht University, the Netherlands,; Herman Musahara, National University of Rwanda,